GOODWILL MESSAGE DELIVERED BY SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM ON THE
OCCASION OF NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF NIGERIAN SPEAKERS AT THE
NATIONAL SUMMIT – LEGISLATING FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE
My dear colleagues, on the 7′ day of June 2002, I was privileged as the then Senate President, to address the Speakers Conference which held in the House of Assembly of Kwara State.
At that time, there was a seeming disagreement between the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly over the following political issues:
1. Local Government creation and administration,
2. Resource control and revenue sharing formula,
3. New political party registration and,
4. Revision of voters register.
I am glad to note that after that conference we were able to reach an understanding which facilitated the peaceful resolution of these issues. Today, your conference focuses on legislating for good governance. I must say that the theme of this conference is not only apt but crucial to the survival of our middle aged democracy. Again, I must say that I am privileged to be part of this epoch-making summit. Legislation simply means making laws. I am sure that this summit will ex-ray all issues pertaining to law and legality. As you do so, may I remind you that the parliament is the engine room of every democratic enterprise.
Accordingly, let me restate that the bane of our democratic progress is the instability in the Legislative Arm of Government. While I have no doubt that the key panacea to the stability of the parliament is a deliberate and systematic nurturing of experienced legislators who would not only over the years have mastered the art of legislation as a career but would have as well gained self confidence through the acquisition of legislative competences as to have developed overriding commitment to his responsibility to the people as their representative.
It is therefore my suggestion that in examining the various aspects of law and legality, this summit should discuss the qualities of a law maker, the purpose of law and the qualities of a good law. In other to prepare the ground for this, I hereby offer to provide the background to the origin of the parliament.
Following the misrule of King Henry Ill, Simon de montford, the Earl of Leicester, courageously mobilized resistance against the king. In January 1265, Simon de montford summoned a meeting of the nobles, the clergy and the representatives of the countries and boroughs to decide the methods of government administration and levying of taxes. Mr. montford was very dynamic in his approach and this made the meeting a success.
That meeting later became known as the Parliament of Simon de-montford and he was subsequently referred to as the “father of parliament” “In 1295, King Edward attempted to curb the nobles and the clergy, by securing the support of the Third Estate, consisting of the common people. To do so, he summoned the first complete English Parliament including representatives from all sections of society. That meeting as well came to be referred to as the “Model Parliament.” On November 5, 1295, King Edward confirmed the articles of the Charter, which stated, among other issues that the King would not be able to levy taxes, without common consent. Thus Parliament’s consent became essential for levying any new tax. There was a gradual progress of this representative institution, which has led the British Parliament to be regarded as the “Mother of Parliaments.”
What I have just presented is the historical development of the Parliament in Great Britain. However, it must be noted that the standard upon which the misrule of King Henry Ill was based was the Magna Charta of 1215. Magna Charta could be regarded as the first English written law. It could as well be described as the first major breakthrough to secure freedom and justice for all men through legal means.
Law is the essence of every democratic political environment. The aim of law is to guarantee human dignity, human liberty and indeed justice for all. In democracy, the law rules and understandably so as J. F. Kennedy stated, no man has the right to rule over his fellow human being except by his consent. The law represents the contract between the people and the government.
Today as you examine in this summit issues regarding legislating for good governance, I shall be quick to again remind you to use this opportunity to return to the front burner issues regarding the rule of law, the qualities of a good law-maker, the purpose of law and the qualities of a good legislation. I must submit that these issues in addition to proper implementation of law are crucial to the impact of laws in governance.
I wish you happy deliberations.
ANYIM PIUS ANYIM