In our anger, and rightly so, against the PDP government that ran the country aground, we almost voted wholesale for the APC irrespective of who bore the flag, now we are paying dearly for it. Only a handful of constituencies took time to study the candidates that stood before them demanding their votes to chose PDP candidates even when it seemed the party had lost favour with and squandered the good will it had enjoyed from Nigerians. These constituencies must be the most advanced of voters in Nigeria today.

This goes for some constituencies traditionally considered strongholds of the Peoples’ Democratic Party too, who despite seen strong, viable and credible candidates in the APC chose to still vote for the PDP candidates with verifiable records of irresponsibility, thoughtlessness, and devil-may-care attitude. They are licking their wounds now regretting for having voted a party and not the individual.

If we get nothing else from the government of the All Progressives Congress, we would have learnt at least one big lesson, parties don’t make individuals; individuals make the party, therefore “vote the individual and not the party”.

If we had learnt this lesson, a great number of the dishonourable, shameless, discreditable, despicable, and ignominious individuals we have today in the corridors of power would have been nowhere near it. Of great concern are members of the various legislative houses, from the Senate, cascading through the House of Representatives, to the state Houses of Assembly and ending at the Local Government Councillors (where they exist). It is my opinion, and I may be wrong, that you can have irresponsible men in the executive arm of government, but as long as you have responsible members in the legislature, the government will work well for the good of the people. The legislature is the bridle in the mouth of the executive that nudges it when it wanders off track and drives it back to the right track. But when the bridle is no longer functional, or no longer functions as it should be, then the entire government wanders off track without any hope of ever been brought back to the right track.

More worrisome is the fact that our clime is devoid of citizens’ participation in government to the point of compelling and demanding a certain course of action and direction from the government, especially the legislators. With the legislators enjoying a subtle immunity, it becomes near impossible to compel them to take action in favour of the people. In their legislative business, the first and last considerations are themselves, and not the people they claim to represent! What is the subtle immunity? The process of recalling an erring legislator is too labourious, time consuming, expensive and long for the ordinary citizen to ever dream of initiating and prosecuting it to the end. The Civil Society that should/can spearhead/do this is too lethargic, sluggish, apathetic, and inconspicuous to be of any assistance in putting the legislature on its toes. Since independence to date, how many legislators (from Federal to the Local Councils) have been effectively recalled?

Since recalling a legislator, a legislator that has proved to be of no value to the nation in general and his constituency/constituents in particular, is too cumbersome for the recipients of their inappropriate actions in the legislative houses to undertake, the only power left with us is that of the vote. If we had voted the right kinds of people into the legislature, especially the senate, we would not be seeing the stupidity being displayed by some of the so call distinguished men.

My sincere hope is that we are able to survive the crop of legislooters we have in the legislathief houses until 2019.  By then, we would have learnt our lesson; parties don’t make the individual, the individuals make the party therefore, vote the individual and not the party. If our democracy must survive and thrive, we must use our tongue to count our teeth.

Amene Terhemen

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