The Roles And Expectations of A Parliamentarian In Modern Day Democracy – Chief Maurice Emeka Akueme
In Nigeria today it appears that parliamentarians are struggling to meet the ever growing expectations of citizens. Data suggests that citizens hold parliamentarians to account principally for the services that they are able to deliver outside parliament, not for their law-making role or their ability to oversee the Executive.
What do voters want? … roads, bridges, schools, etc. Assistance with education and tuition fees and other social obligations.
What does it take to get elected?… money, feasts, family ties, popularity …” What does it take to get re-elected? “… delivery of promised goods and services … tangible projects … some more money and feasts.
We must show voters that we’re normal people. We are not corrupt or criminals. It is a job like any other. You must take the time to speak with them and listen to them, in the market, on the street. That is how you will convince them.
In any democracy, the representation of the people must be the basic source of authority for a body that makes the laws under which society operates. The electorate will therefore expect
that their respective Member of Parliament represent their interests.
How do the parliamentarian exercise oversight function to checkmate the executive arm.
Through the constitution
How can a parliamentarian be recalled.
Answer: via statutory electoral process control by the National Electoral commission of the country that is involved. Section 110 of 1999 constitution contains that. Simply throw voting process of yes or no vote called referendum
How do you question the parliamentarian knowing the challenge of Nigerian factor, e.g arresting or intimidation?
Through writing petition to recall or court processes
What is the right channel to communicate with parliamentarian (raphael Anichebe)
– Through parliamentarian office
– Suggestion box
– Town hall meeting or one-on-one meeting
– Court processes.
Most Parliamentarians will agree that the only tenable view is that they are representatives, not delegates, of the people who elected them.
They will try to exercise judgment on behalf of those they represent rather than subordinating their views to them. This does not mean that they can ignore constituency interests but it does mean acceptance of the position that the vast majority of Parliamentarian are elected as Members of political parties rather than as individuals and that the manifesto commitments of the party provide the platform for action.
When asked what they think citizens see as their most important role, however, the story is very different.
Chief Maurice Emeka Akueme believe that, in the eyes of the citizen, solving citizens’ problems is the Parliamentarian most important role, followed by law-making holding government to account through the constitution and promoting the interests and economy of their constituency.