Former Governor of Plateau State, representing Jos South Senatorial District, Senator Joshua Dariye takes a look at democracy and the workings of the executive and the legislative arms of govt having been at both arms.
What is your assessment of Nigeria’s democracy:
Between 1999 to 2007, or from 1999 to 2003, it was fairly stable, after the election, it was still fairly stable until the third term issue was introduced. Some people wanted President Olusegun Obasanjo to elongate his stay and several diagnoses were introduced but thank God, people prayed, Christians, Muslims alike and we had a successful transition where President Musa Yar’Adua took over until his demise. Goodluck was there. And at the end of that tenure, Nigerians said collectively that this ticket was inseparable. The death of one person does not invalidate one tenure for the other person, so it does not deprive President Jonathan.
So, I think it has been a very rewarding experience. But the operators, participants as well as the observers, have been over heating the system for personal reasons. Democracy, because it has the right of the people to expression. it has displaced a lot of people but I believe that somehow, the winners will reach out to the losers. We need a constructive engagement so that we can sustain the status of this democracy. We have no other alternative.
Distinguished, you were once a governor before you joined the legislature, how would you assess the role of the legislature in this democratic dispensation.
The three arms of government are complementary. Some of the laws have been far reaching, like the electoral reform, the constitutional amendment, and so many of them. Its just that sometime, there’s unwillingness on the part of the executive or lack of communication or suspicion in the non implementation. You don’t find that in developed democracy. Just like the public bureau of procurement, it was to ensure some transparency but unfortunately, it has become a bane of government. So it’s been challenging but we need to overhaul it.
Having been on both sides of the divide, what are the major challenges; Executive and Legislature?
The Executive is very very demanding, because you deal with a larger crowd. Then I was dealing with about 5 million people. The northern zone, central zone and southern zone, and if somebody’s cock dies they will say its Dariye, they steal chicken, they’ll say its Dariye. You re like a sing song. But again even though, the Senate is the highest law making body in the federation, you have a smaller constituency even though you may still carry your larger constituency as before. Those of us in the senate who have been a governor are different from others who have not been governors. While they are limited to their constituency, even if somebody comes from Jos North to me here, I have no moral right to say go to Senator Dantong or go and see Senator Lar because I was their governor and they are my people. Its like a family.
.What do you say about the government of President Goodluck Jonathan?
I thank God for his life. Leadership is from God. Once a president is elected, you leave political campaign aside; all am saying is that he is trying to do his best. There are a lot of distractions contending with the security challenges. I appeal to Nigerians let us cooperate with God’s gift and achieve our vision. Like he has said, “I may not be the best but God has a reason to put me here”, so let us cooperate with God’s gift to actualise our dreams and visions as a nation. Just like I am here, I may not be the best material but in the four years when you cooperate with me, we will develop but if you say he is not the best, lets frustrate him, let us blow the system; when the best comes there would be no system to run.
May 27, Children’s Day:
I congratulate Nigerian children who are the prime leaders of tomorrow And we want to appeal to parents, especially those who produce left right and centre. The major role of every parent is to ensure that the children are brought up in the fear of God so that they do not become a problem to the society. The Boko Haram syndrome is generated by parents’ loose control.
In as democracy day today, I wish all of us well. I want to say like I did when I was campaigning, “Strong voice strong representation”. One of the contentious issues now is the creation of states, that might even affect the creation of further constituencies.
I want to thank God for the leadership of the Senate in person of Senator David Bonaventure Mark, a dynamic leader who has provided a sincere leadership in the senate and is fair to everybody, If anybody is complaining , then he is not complaining of David Mark. He may not be a saint but he is doing his best. He is carrying everybody along.
Finally to the media, I did say when I was Governor that when the history of this nation will be written there shall be a great tribute to the fourth estate. Let the media continue to ensure constructive journalism and not destructive journalism.
Nneka Amaechi Nnadi, Abuja