The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, as declared that no public servant whether in the executive, legislature or judiciary is exempted from obeying the laws of the country.
Senator Adeyeye made the remarks on Tuesday while contributing to a debate on the powers of the Senate to confirm or reject certain nominations for political appointments by the President.
The Senator representing the State of Osun Central Senatorial District while urging the Red Chamber to assert its independence, said is far wiser in a republic to choose strong institution rather than strong individuals.
He said that it is wrong for any Nigerian to seek to bend the laws of the land to which they may not be in agreement without first challenging those laws at the Apex Court of the land.
Adeyeye said: “This are frightening times. These times are frightening because many Nigerians including many of us in this chamber put our lives on the line to ensure that we have democratic governance in Nigeria and I want to remind all of us that which I think nobody body needs reminding but in particular to remind the republic that the difference between a military regime, however benevolent or autocratic it may be, and a democratic regime is the presence of a legislature – a legislature whose responsibilities are explicitly defined by the Constitution.
“I also want to say that whether you serve this republic in the executive, legislature or judiciary, every public servant is sworn to obey all the laws of the republic. If there is any law which has been passed, by the legislature, signed by the President, gazetted into the laws of the republic, no one is given an exemption to dodge, bend, avoid or dance around that law.
“Many have argued and I believe convincingly, that the power to confirm certain appointments are explicitly written in the Constitution, but does a republic or any country in this world obey only its constitution? Does a republic not obey its laws? Every act that specifies confirmation of any appointment is the law of the land.
“Nobody – not the President, not the Vice President nor the Senate President – nobody has the right to avoid obeying that law. To that extent, whoever has a problem with any law, whoever believes that the law of the land is not constitutional should go to court and seek it to be declared null and void.
“Until that is done, it remains the law of the land and must be respected and anyone who does not respect it is breaking the law of the land and we don’t want to go to the extent of what happens to those who swear to obey the laws of the land but do not obey them.
“For the records, I want to say here that I voted yes for Ibrahim Magu. But this is not about my view. The Senate of Nigeria voted no. I stand with the Nigerian Senate because if a republic must choose between strong leaders and strong institutions, it is wiser by far to choose strong institutions.
“We must not allow any branch of government to be weakened to an extent that the laws of the land can be fragrantly disregarded. To that extent, my dear colleagues, I believe what is happening is not about you and myself. What is happening is about the character of this nation until eternity.
“Can we pass laws and not obey our laws? Can we stand by our laws? Are we going to say that we are the same thing as when a government can pass a decree without even the voice of the people being heard? We the legislature, we are the voice of the Nigerian people. Maybe 100 years from now, the Nigerian people may decide they don’t want the legislature, by then I would have been dead!
“But today, the Constitution says that there is a legislature, we make laws and even in the recent history of Nigeria, there are laws that we have made that the Supreme Court has overturned as unconstitutional. What did we do? We abided by it.
“When nobody has gone to challenge a law, that person has no other option that to obey that law. For that purpose, I want to 100 per cent lend the whole of my being to the strengthening of the first realm of the estate – the first realm of every democratic estate is the legislature.
“In fact, in advanced countries, when the judiciary misinterprets the law, the legislature is quick to make such amendments so that such misinterpretation will not take place again.
“In that regards, let me say again with all of my being, that I pray that we will assert the independence of the legislature, not as a way of power mongering, but as in making sure that this is not the government of individuals, but the government of laws. May God bless the republic of Nigeria!” he stated.