“Who e epp?” is a trending term often used by young people to ask how a particular situation serves anyone’s interest – the term is used mostly to ridicule the situation than question it.
One of the cardinal responsibilities of a legislator is to make laws. Aside from oversight and representation, legislative activities rises and falls on lawmaking. A law by simple definition is an enacted policy of government designed to outlive the government of the day. A law comes in handy where there is need to limit the extent to which the executive arm can direct a particular government policy.
In recent times our legislators have become less focused on lawmaking, placing priority on activities that bring immediate and direct succor to the yearning of the people they serve.
While buidling of roads, schools and public utilities remain key in attracting democratic dividends, it remains a political role rather than a statutory function of a lawmaker. The executive arm is charged, empowered and established to provide both the macro and micro infrastructural and basic amenities of the people, while lawmakers by way of lobbying based on political advantage can attract certain projects to their constituency.
Anambra state has been quite less fortunate in producing lawmakers with high representative prowess. The last lawmaker I know who produced near-astounding results in this regard was Senator (Mrs) Uche Ekwunife during her time at the House of Representatives. Ekwunife, take nothing away from her was able to achieve as much as she did because of the political advantages she enjoyed while in the green chambers – she was at that time a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and by her second tenure gained another advantage as she became a ranking member of the house.
In 2011, she chaired the house commitee on environment, at the same time Senator Burkola Saraki was Chairman Senate Committee on Environment. Unconfirmed reports suggests that, Senator Ekwunife due to other engagements of Saraki, who is today the Senate President had the priviledge to head and take charge of proceedings of the combined committee meetings of the house and other activities of the committee – this perhaps gave her the opportunity to attract more for her constituents.
While the attraction and execution of constituency projects are fueled by political advantage. Lawmaking by way of bill sponsoring is more. The process of presenting a bill starts firstly by the conceptualization of an idea by the bill sponsor(s), developing the aim and objectives of the bill as well as its intended benefits, presenting the bill for 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings, sometimes lobbying members as the bill goes through various stages of debate. If the bill passes through a successful 3rd reading, it is then referred to a committee that will do the final legislative work on the bill – this is known as the committee stage. After this, the bill is now passed and sent to the President to be signed into law, the President can of course refuse accent and send the bill back for more legislative input.
Sponsoring a bill is tedious. Most lawmakers wouldn’t want to engage in it. The need to appreciate those who do brings me to addressing the question “Who bill sponsoring epp?” – a question I often face most times I talk about Senator Andy Uba and his giant strides in bill sponsoring. So far, he has about 17 bills being sponsored by him in the 8th Senate – the highest for any serving Senator – his bills are currently going through various stages of debate at the house, while a number of them are awaiting presidential assent to be signed into law.
When a bill is enacted into law, it provides not just immediate succor but serves as a veritable ground to put an end to a particular societal pain. An enacted bill referred to as an Act, compels not just the government of the day, but the government of the future to meet that particular societal need as provided in the Act. Agencies such as EFCC, ICPC and NDLEA were established by bills that became Act, buttressing the need for our legislators to take the business of sponsoring bills seriously.
Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ubani
Writes from Awka