The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Hon Razak Atunwa, yesterday rose in stout defence of the National Assembly on its decision to re-order the sequence of the 2019 general elections.
Atunwa said there was nothing unconstitutional about the decision of National Assembly on the issue adding that the action was not targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari or any other personality.
He said the idea was to separate the mandate of the people from that of the executive, states and National Assembly.
Atunwa who represents Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency bore his mind on the contentious issue while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital shortly after the disbursement of empowerment materials to his constituents.
He said he had so far expended over N60m towards empowering his people adding that phase 2 and 3 of the programme will come on stream shortly.
He argued that there was nothing sinister about the amendment to the election timetable as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) still has about one year to conduct the 2019 general elections.
The former Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly noted that the amendment was not new in the electoral process and it is within the powers of the National Assembly.
“There is nothing unconstitutional about amending Electoral Act, the Electoral Act itself was a creation of the National Assembly and it talks about more than seven orders within which to carry out certain activities for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“So, having an order for the general election is not unconstitutional; it is nothing new. It is well within the powers and the purview of the National Assembly, and we have done that. I don’t see why anyone should be crying foul over it. Nothing is unconstitutional about it.
“When you practice democracy, you learn from it. What we have learnt is that we need to separate the mandate of the people, so lumping together mandate of the people, as we have seen, hasn’t generated much accountability as possible.
“So, let the National Assembly have its mandate, let the State Assembly and the Governors have their mandate, let the President have his mandate. So, let’s know what the colour of the House of Representatives will be, that of the Senate and that of the Presidency, the governorship and the State House of Assembly will be.
“What we have effectively done is to separate the mandate so that we will know this is the colour of the Parliament and the colour of the executive. In America for example, we have the President being mayor of the party then the majority either in the Senate or the Representatives, may be another party. It is good for our democracy”, Atunwa said.
Explaining further the rationale behind the programme, Atunwa said it was meant to give back to the people and further provide the dividends of democracy.
“Everything I do is for the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, don’t say Atunwa did this for you, rather say Saraki did it for you.
Dr Saraki is my party, anywhere he goes I follow”, Atunwa added.
Items distributed include buses, motorcycles, sewing and grinding machines, clippers and various cash awards.