House Rules: What Is The Case Against Dogara?


My attention was drawn to a recent report that 11 members of the House of Representatives have gone to an Abuja Federal High Court on the new rules adopted by the 8th Assembly in its Rule Book.

They reportedly are discontent with the tough provisions of the rules, which among other things, seeks to administer strict punitive actions on lawmakers causing disturbances in the chamber during proceedings.

The names on the list of lawmakers who have gone to court are disappointing, given that one would have expected that they would be more conversant with the procedures of the House as returnee lawmakers, to know that there is no case.

As a reminder, Section 60, a section so important that it stands alone, empowers the House to have power to regulate its own proceedings. This therefore means that no court can take away the constitutional power of the legislature to regulate its own proceedings

Section 60 says, “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.”

Similarly, the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act also gives the House powers to make its own rules and be guided by its own procedures.

Therefore, to the clear minded, the House of Representatives under the able leadership of Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has not gone out of line to come up with a reviewed code of conduct for its members to ensure decorum.

Furthermore, how can they now raise objection to a decision that was unanimously carried by the whole House without any dissention? While the new members can be forgiven for being ignorant of the rules of the House, the older lawmakers are clearly up to mischief because it makes one wonder where were they when the House adopted the new rules in accordance with the Constitution and the Standing Orders (2015).

Another question that bothers my mind about this whole action is whether this set of 11 representatives of constituencies made up of sincere and hardworking Nigerians would have prefered to let the rules remain as they were and embolden some people to be lawless and continue to behave dishonourably and unruly, even with their status as lawmakers of the Federal Republic.

Any organisation, institution or body that does not have rules, regulation and laws to guide its affairs is inviting choas and is also bound to fail. The main reason why we have governments, authorities and even laws in place is to maintain social order.

The heart of the matter, the Mace, is sacred and is the symbol of authority of the Parliament which must be respected by all, no matter how aggrieved they may be. Some questions are begging for answers from these so-called “aggrieved” 11 lawmakers.

Why should they be against any law or rule that is geared towards protecting the mace as an authority that is sacred to the institution of the legislature?

Are they saying that even as lawmakers they don’t want to be guided by simple regulations that is in-house to the 360 members? What example are they showing to over 170 million Nigerians who look up to them as role models and mentors if they are against a simple regulation that is internal to the House?

Will they have the moral rectitude to call the executive, judiciary or other persons and authorities to order if they fail to obey a simple regulation protecting the mace?

It should be noted that these rules are not new in that they were aptly captured in the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act but which were not spelled out clearly both in their spirit and letters.

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