Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a leading non-governmental organisation working on democracy and good governance, has called for transparent and credible election of Presiding and Principal Officers in the Senate and House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly.
President Bola Tinubu is expected to issue a proclamation for the 10th National Assembly to be inaugurated in the coming week.
According to PLAC, there is a need for elected legislators to be able to choose their Presiding and Principal Officers in line with the principles of separation of powers and devoid of interference by the executive arm or intimidation, harassment or even the use of state machinery.
A statement signed by its Executive Director Clement Nwankwo, PLAC said it recognises the significance of a democratic and inclusive legislative process in fostering national development, accountability and protection of citizens’ rights.
It is crucial that the elections of the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, their Deputies, and other Principal Officers of the National Assembly is conducted in a manner that upholds the principles of fairness and respect for the choices made by elected representatives. This will avoid the instability that foisted leadership could create for the 10th National Assembly.
Legislators should be able to exercise their constitutional rights and freedom to elect leaders who can effectively represent their interests and the interests of the Nigerian people. The electoral process should be devoid of anything that undermines the independence and integrity of the legislature.
PLAC continues to advocate for improved representation and participation of women in politics. Women constitute at least half of the Nigerian population and their perspectives and experiences are invaluable in shaping policies and legislation. We are calling on the 10th National Assembly to give a fair opportunity for women to emerge in Principal Officer positions, as this will ensure gender representation in the National Assembly.
PLAC is committed to upholding democratic values and promoting a strong and accountable legislature in Nigeria as a new Session of the National Assembly commences work.