Representative Democracy: Oke-Ogun Lawmakers As ‘Bench Warmers’

In a matter of months, the political market will be opened again, where buying and selling of the fates and fortunes of Nigerians will be promoted.

The time will come with intensed struggle for the marketing, pricing, sales, or at best stolen of the next four years. That is the nature of the variant of democracy foisted on us, as embraced from the west, the practice, perhaps is the rationale behind the state of our development, making it a mere wishful thinking, even in the face of humongous human and material resources.

By default, representative democracy presupposes that selected/ elected few must speak on behalf of the majority, in as much everyone cannot be accommodated in the business of governance.

Logical as this concept is, the dysfunctional aspect of it is huge burden, what becomes the fate of those being represented if their representatives are only making the number and are mere bench warmers?.
This is the case of Oke-Ogun, the larger part of Oyo North Senatorial District.

Before I was drafted to my present place by my employer, where I now operate as a parliamentary reporter, I had a few months stop over at the Oyo State House of Assembly, in that little time, I can say without any fear of contradiction that the ten local government areas of Oyo State have only one representative altogether, in the House, others are just being dishonourably representatives and by extension making the numbers.

Except a member known and being often addressed as Mr. Procedural in the House (Hon. Dele Adeola, representating Iseyin/Itesiwaju state Constituency), other members of Oke-Ogun extraction are far away from the business of the House, or at best do not have the courage, capacity and charisma to be called representatives, unfortunately, Oke-Ogun bleeds for such ineptitude.

It is like a double ‘wahala’ for dead body for us in Oke-Ogun, or how best would one described a situation where the number of representatives that are not adequate abinitio are utterly ineffective?

The ten local government areas produce seven representatives, it thus means that a very bogus local government like Iseyin has to join Itesiwaju to produce a member, same fate is the case in Ogo-Oluwa and Irepo while Saki East will have to produce a member in conjunction with Atisbo local government.

As if the above is not enough, those elected to represent the areas are mere opportunists. After almost two years, they have not dealt with stage fright and lack ability for coherent debate on the floor of the House.

It is either they are not on the floor of the House during plenary, or they are being pre-occupied by mundane things while serious business of the House is ongoing. In some situations, when attempt is made to contribute by one or two, strange grammar will rent the air, this often engage the attention of reporters covering the plenary.

It is no doubt, a disturbing scenario. The last time I checked before the House adjourned, nothing has changed- our representatives have no grip on the core mandate of the House.

In dissecting this disgusting turn of event, which was far away from the previous experience in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7 and even the 8th assemblies, I have come to recognize that many of these lawmakers never thought they could win a councillorship election, they ultimately benefitted from the tsunami of Governor Seyi Makinde that swept across the state, making their emergence, unintended consequences/demerits of the anti-APC vote in the 2019 elections.

Now, if Oke-Ogun is to be developed, our participation in government must be very impressive and active, beyond making up the number, thus, leaders of political parties should understand the peculiar needs of every position of authority in democracy and ensure those that will be put forward for such positions whether by trial or by choice are square peg in square hole.

Legislative business is a “talkshop”, as such candidates who lacks courage and boldness to tell us their names have no business going into that, save we continue to mortgage our future and the development of our region.

It is needless to say that if Oyo State government under Governor Seyi Makinde is to be conducted on the alter of survival of the fittest, Oke-Ogun has no adequate representatives, either in the legislature or among government functionaries to attract the kind of dividends the zone is enjoying, infrastructure wise.

It therefore beholds that as struggling for position of authorities begins to pick up, those who will emerge as representatives must be far better, organised and knowledgeable than mere opportunists parading themselves as lawmakers.

Dayo Ogunsola is a Journalist, he writes from Abuja.

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