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Why should a legislator be building hospitals, schools with money from the government? -Emir Sanusi

opera.com 2024/7/25

In an interview with THE SUN on June 16, 2024, Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, stated that the people in charge of the system have accountability for its shortcomings.

He implied that long-serving members of the Senate and House of Representatives lack understanding of their legislative responsibilities by criticising them for having never passed a measure in 16 years of office. Sanusi emphasised that rather than serving as legislators, many members of the House of Representatives join for personal benefits including contracts, automobiles, and allowances. Additionally, he drew attention to the problematic appropriations process, in which the National Assembly approves budgets while giving preference to individual interests above those of the country.

Sanusi voiced concerns that lawmakers were working on constituency projects, such constructing schools and hospitals, which he felt belonged to ministers and governors. He maintained that instead of pursuing funding for infrastructure projects, lawmakers ought to fulfil their constitutional duties by concentrating on crafting laws that benefit society. A democracy cannot work properly, in Sanusi's opinion, unless these duties are understood and upheld.

In his words: “Legislators are doing constituency projects. Why should a legislator be building hospitals, schools with money from the government? If you do it personally, that’s fine. But under our constitution, where do legislators have this role of being entitled to being given budgets to come and build schools and hospitals as supposed to be done by governors and ministers? Where?.

“So, we have not operated the constitution that we have properly. We don’t understand our roles. If you want to build schools and contracts, go and contest for governor or contest for chairman of local government. If you go to the assembly, you are there to pass a law for the good of society. So, whether it’s parliamentary or presidential, at the end of the day, I think, if we don’t understand what our role is, you know, in a democracy, it’s never going to work.”

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