A Nigerian lawyer, Desmond Orisewezie has called on parliamentarians to rework national policy agenda to protect minority interests.
He made this known during the 2019 edition of the National Students’ Legislative Conference held recently at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
Speakers at the event included Chairman House of Reps Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; a Chartered Banker, Yinka Olatunbosun; Chief Legislative Officer of Lagos Assembly, Omoyele Abdul Quadri.
In his address, Mr Orisewezie said that Parliamentarians as representatives of the people must be seen to take brave actions and not merely just being wish makers for the executives.
He lamented how some leaders have followed “constitutionalism in bad faith by selective application of the law and the disobedience of other provisions which probably do not seem favourable to them.”
He advised lawmakers to use Nigeria’s diversity to engender national cohesion.
He said “We possess one Identity and that is Nigeria and thus it should mean to us more than just people living within a geographical terrain. Our diversity as a nation must be utilized to engender national cohesion, it is therefore important that those who rule must take into cognizance the necessity to entrench inclusiveness for all Nigerians to have a pride of place.”
Mr Orisewezie advocated for capital punishments as a deterrent for electoral rigging.
Also, he urged tax authorities to exercise caution over the growing burden of taxation and that government must ensure that tax payers get value by using the tax lodgments for the overall development of the society.
“It is a universal practice for tax authorities to increase tax ratios mostly during a period of soaring economy and national prosperty and not to do the vice versa, especially at a time where Nigeria has bagged a global distinction in the world’s poverty index.”
To the youths, he said “your time is now and the time for gerontocracy is up. I usually admonish fellow youths to stop calling themselves leaders of tomorrow, because we must convince our inner mind that we are the leaders of today and that people seem to prefer maintaining familiar political and economic structures of power therefore nobody will give us power on a platter of gold, we must wrestle for it within the democratic framework.”
“Currently, kleptocracts are replacing technocrats, our economy is still bereft of realistic blueprints and self-centered politicians have held the country politically hostage, privatized its instruments of power and personalized the usage of its resources. Again I must warn about the rising debt profile of Nigeria without a corresponding optimal productive utility of loans.”
He called on “policy makers to activate all sections and sub sections of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution through purposeful legislation as that will help redefine the essence of governance.”
Mr Orisewezie however noted that “where strategic leadership is lacking, no amount of resources would ever be enough. For the realization of true democracy, accountability must be its hallmark.”