ColumnsNigeriaOpinionPoliticsCourt Judgment against Hon. Azubogu is a Stain on his Competence

The legislature is the engine room of every democracy. Therefore, legislators are gatekeepers of democracy and, must show the highest level of respect for the laws of the country. At the basic, every legislator must be law-abiding and must protect the sanctity of the law. Legislators must show the highest level of personal example, particularly in any matter relating to the laws of the land, especially provisions of the constitution.

Any lawmaker who for whatever reason, is found to have violated the law, ought to forfeit his seat. This should serve as a credible deterrent.

In Nigeria, the greatest challenge to development is the challenge of leadership. People in authority recklessly break the law and freely get away with it; resulting in stupendous impunity to the extent that the depths of impunity in Nigeria are staggering. Therefore, there should not be any form of justification for a lawmaker to break the law. It is like a police officer committing an offense or a Road Safety officer violating traffic rules, unfortunately, this is also the case with Hon. Azubogu.

Nigeria presents shocking dialectics in which those we pride in as some of our bests, are no different from the rest of others. Among other reasons, Hon. Azubogu is a federal lawmaker whom many of us pride, as one of the most outstanding. We are proud of him. But how could he not comply with a simple provision of the constitution? Whatever the answers might be, may be connected to why it is difficult for serious-minded governments and organizations to deal with our products. There is always the fear of quality control and standard.

Can a man who is a lawmaker and who wants to continue to be a lawmaker not understand the constitution?

The fact, when we put politics and every other inconsequential sentiment aside, is that Hon. Azubogu grossly disrespected all of us. This is why. Delivering the judgment, Justice Iyang Ekwo said as follows; “This is clearly a constitutional infraction. I have been asking myself consistently; can a man who is a lawmaker and who wants to continue to be a lawmaker not understand the constitution? Or is he feigning ignorance of the law and thinking that he can take advantage of such ignorance?”. So it is a question of whether a lawmaker, one of Azubogu’s standing, can boldly want to bypass the constitution or whether he doesn’t know what the constitution says about defection to another political party. Either way, it is still a big issue and an embarrassment.

In essence, it took a court of law to remind Hon. Azubogu that he should not be contesting for senate in APGA when he failed to comply with the provisions of the constitution, in changing parties. Justice Ekwo’s comments are a decent insult to the people of Nnewi North, Nnewi South, and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, as well as members of APGA. The insult extends to all his supporters and promoters. Worst still, it is also a stain on Azubogu’s credentials as an impeccable lawmaker. It is shocking and disgraceful.

Growth is important, but the process is more important. A lawmaker cannot go through the rigorous processes of making law, and not comply with clear constitutional provisions in his interface with the law.

Ebuka Onyekwelu (Staff Writer)
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