The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has called for active vigilance by the citizens. Dogara, who was speaking when a delegation of MPs from Puntland State of Somalia paid him a courtesy visit in his office, also explained that this was the role of an independent parliament. He added that for any democracy to thrive, an inquisitive, vibrant parliament must be on ground to check the excesses of the executive and judiciary, especially as the media and civil society organisations may not be independent in many nations. “For you to have a democracy, you have to have a parliament that is independent, a parliament that is inquisitive, a parliament that is a watchdog and a parliament that is always on the heels of the executive and the judiciary. Because the whole aim of democracy is liberty and we all know that power is very sweet.
“In fact, one of jurists in those days had posited that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, especially executive power that is very, very sweet and the price every democracy must pay in order to maintain liberty is vivigilance and there is no level at which this vigilance is maintained more than the parliament itself. “In many nations, the media is not independent, it is an appendage of the government, they tell the media what information they want to pass to the public.
“In some countries, the civil societies are not independent, they are offshoots of government being promoted by different department and so, they can’t do the work of democracy. The work of democracy is done by parliament.
“One of those great things that parliament does is ensuring that elections are reflective of the wishes of the majority of the people. Because if you are talking about representative democracy, then the system has to be free and fair. It must have to hold within an environment that is devoid of intimidation because when people are intimidated, their will can be supplanted. But when elections are held in a very free and fair atmosphere, the will of the people now translates into governmental power. The people holding onto the reins of power and those people who they have decides to be there,” the Speaker said.