A progressive society is said to be one which consistently seeks the means of its conservation through the protection of democratic liberties.
Nations are therefore expected to be guided by this philosophy in their chequered political history against anti-democratic forces and the trappings of institutional abasement.
However, pundits and critical stakeholders are of the view that democratic transition in Nigeria in recent times fall short of the tenets of an egalitarian society.
Rt. Hon Dumnamene Dekor, member-elect, Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency is one of the adherents of reforms in the Nigeria’s electoral process to evince the conviction of the citizenry in the democratic process.
Rt Hon Dekor who spoke with The Tide in an interview ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, picked holes in the conduct of the last general elections in the country, stating that the right of the citizenry to exercise their franchise was grossly threatened by anti-democratic forces.
Dekor said the reluctance of the All Progressive Congress (APC)led Federal Government to effect practical reforms in the electoral process was an indication of a deliberate plot to subjugate the rights of Nigerians and breed political system where the whims and caprices of some emerging political tyrants would hold sway.
According to the Ogoni born politician, such insensitivity and remote sense of power portends grave consequences for the country; “Representative democracy is under severe threat in Nigeria, a system were citizens are obstructed from participating in the election of their political leaders will create room for the emergence of leaders who are completely alienated from the people, when leaders emerge through popular mandate they are conscious of the fact that they owe the electorates a sense of responsibility.”
Dekor who observed a lull in national planning and development under the APC led federal government, said the years of late U at Umaru Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan as presidents were characterised by equity and fairness in federal appointments and citing of projects across the country: “The APC government has failed to respond to the imperatives of justice in the running of the country’s affairs, Nigeria is a federal structure and operate on the principles of Federal Character, unfortunately the federal character principle seem to have been suspended. The country is presently drifting towards tribalism and nepotism as almost all federal appointments are lopsided, Nigerians are now vulnerable to unabated repressions and anarchy.”
Commenting on the conduct of the last general elections in Rivers state, the grassroots politician decried what he described as “brazen impunity “against the right of Rivers people to elect their leaders: “The experience in Rivers state during the last general elections was quite disheartening, the exercise was reduced to a full military operation, there was a gross circumvention of civil authorities by military forces, I commend Rivers people for remaining poised and resilient in the face of intimidation and conspiracies, I think the greatest lesson from the last election in Rivers is that there is a limit to tyranny as the will of the people must always prevail, politicians should learn to play the game by the rules and not by tyranny of mere will.”
Rt. Hon Dekor is obviously not a greenhorn in legislative business. He ascended the ladder of legislative duties, when he rose from the position of Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly to become a member of the Federal House of Representatives under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
However his first sojourn in the National Assembly was truncated few months after, a situation he described as a theft of his and insult on the sensibilities of the people of Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency.
Dekor vowed to reclaim his “stolen” mandate and was vindicated when recontested for the same seat, still under the platform of the PDP and in a landslide victory.
According to him, his second sojourn in the Nation Assembly is to consolidate on the gains of Representative Democracy by giving effective representation to the people of Khana/Gokana,and contribute in meaningful debates for the enactment of laws that will promote democracy in Nigeria.
Listing the panacea for sustainable democracy in Nigeria, the Federal Lawmaker elect said: “Only a strong parliament and a strong opposition can salvage Nigeria’s democracy.”
He recalled that the foundation of Nigeria’s democracy was strong at its incubational stage because there were committed leaders, patriots and parliamentarians who gave service and defended the tenets of democracy.
He however noted that the system nosedived because of the instructions of the country’s legislative processes, as the legislature was always the first to be suspended during military incursions in politics: “Nigeria’s democracy is evolving, a country’s journey to nationhood is always tedious but it takes a high level of commitment on the leaders and citizens to achieve success.”
Dekor also barred his mind on Governor Nyesom Wike’s post victory declarations, particularly the olive branch offered to members of the opposition join perforce with his administration for the development Of Rivers State.
He said: “Governor Wike is a man of great leadership skills and capabilities, I applaud him for his magnanimity and politics of accommodation, he is a man of his words and he has already demonstrated sincerityof purpose by accommodating people of various divides in his transition program.”
The seasoned Law Maker called on all politicians in Rivers State to embrace the offer by the RiversState Governor and abhor politics of bitterness to movethe State forward.
He regretted the fact that the enemies of Rivers State takes advantage of the political squabbles in the stateto paint the State in bad light: “Rivers State is a costly political bride and the centre of unfettered attraction in the country, most people envy Rivers State because of its strategic economic advantage, we must stop the politics of lies and calumny which has robbed the state of federal projects.”
Dekor was also saddened by the cult relate war and bloodletting that have engulfed Ogoni in recent times, resulting in the colossal wastages of human lives and properties.
He said the virtues of hard work and discipline for which Ogoni was renowned was fast eroding as a result of the invasion of the area by unbridled cultism: “Ogoni is drifting into anarchy and this is inimical to the overall development of the area. Something must be done to curb this menace. Let me use this opportunity to call on all Ogoni sons and daughters to embrace peace and shun cultism”
He attributed the crisis in Ogoni and other parts of society to neglect of the traditional values and norms of the people in preference of a strange culture that glorifies mediocrity: “It’s regrettable that most youths today do not want to work hard and apply skills to earn a living, but they want to live exorbitant and flamboyant lifestyles, there is also the issueof bad role modeling, as most young people today have admiration for those who use arm illegally to acquire wealth.
Speaking on the implementation of the UNEP report recommendation on the clean-up of Ogoni environment, Dekor described the exercise as “a piece of fraud.”
He berated the federal government for playing politics with Ogoni clean up exercise.
He said, “There is no clean up going on in Ogoni, rather the federal government is concerned about the resumption of oil exploration in ogoni the area. It’s quite disturbing that the federal government is playing politics with the destiny of a people that have paid a great price for the development of the country, some of the clandestine activities of federal government are responsible for the insecurity in Ogoni Land.”
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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