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Abbas: only good governance can sustain democracy in Africa

House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas has said parliaments across Africa must ensure good governance to sustain democracy.


Abbas said this when he hosted a delegation from the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of African Parliament.


Represented by House Leader Julius Ihonvbare, the Speaker said the parliament must also ensure social justice in democratic nations throughout the continent.


He said even though the military in Africa has been politicised, the only way to keep them out of politics is by ensuring good governance.


According to him, this would be achieved when the parliament works with the Executive arm to give the people good governance.


Abbas said Nigerian lawmakers were not able to use 90 per cent of their constitutional powers due to pressure from the rigours of electoral process, such as the nomination process, electioneering, and litigations arising from elections.


He said: “By the time you are through with all these, you will only have about one or two years to settle down to your mandate, and then you begin to face another election.”


Abbas noted that parliamentarians hardly have more than one year to convince their constituents that they know why they were elected, before facing another round of elections.


The Speaker urged parliaments to emphasise not just Liberal democracy but democratisation and the promotion of constitutionalism.


He said democratic organisations, such as the Conference of Speakers, were essential to sharing ideas and experiences among African countries.


Abbas hailed former Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila for initiating the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Africa Parliament.


The leader of the delegation and former Deputy Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Joe Ghartey, recalled that one of the ideas put forward by the Conference of Speakers was the issue of debt cancellation for African countries.


Ghartey, who said Ghana and Nigeria have always had a cordial relationship, stressed that while seeking debt cancellation, African countries must look inward and ensure judicious management of their resources.


The delegation leader said there was a need to ensure that Speakers and Presiding Officers on the continent worked closely with the Executive arm of government in the development of the continent.


He said Speakers and Presiding Officers should not work alone on debt cancellation for African countries but must get Presidents and their Foreign Ministers to key into the quest.


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