A former Clerk of the Oyo State Assembly, Barrister Paul Bankole, has said that attitude of constituents put unnecessary pressure on lawmakers, thereby distracting them from their core role of making laws.
Speaking when he featured on Pensioners’ FM’s programme, Voice of Liberation, Barrister Bankole noted that the plethora of financial demands from lawmakers by their constituents make them want to amass wealth by any means just to meet the needs of their people.
Barrister Bankole, who maintained that the job of the legislator is strictly to make laws and not to execute projects, urged constituents to cultivate the habit of channeling their challenges to the executives so as to allow legislators concentrate on law-making.
“What do you expect when every time constituents ask for this or that from their representatives? For instance, when a man’s wife is pregnant, he would call on the legislator for financial support. If the child gains admission in school, it is the same story. And if you fail to support as the lawmaker, your people brand you a bad person. It is in a bid to satisfy their constituent that legislators now embark on constituency projects. Otherwise, they have no business with constituency project. That is the role of the executive. Theirs is to monitor the projects and the way the funds are spent.”
Speaking further on the funding of constituency projects, Barrister Bankole said legislators do not have direct access to their constituency funds but admitted that some lawmakers cut corners to facilitate having direct access to constituency project funds.
He, however, said the system has a way of punishing legislators who access constituency projects funds through the back door.
On the allegations of jumbo pay for lawmakers, the former Oyo Clerk denied that lawmakers earn such huge amounts as reported in the papers.
He said what makes their entitlement appear big are the allowances they get which are truly justified as they are tied to their activities as lawmakers.
“It’s not true that they earn such jumbo pay. They have their statutory allowances and basic monthly salaries. And whatever they earn has a justification as it is tied to the nature of their job. You know that lawmakers do a lot of oversight functions and have a lot of things to attend to in their constituencies.”
Barrister Bankole, however, agreed that politics has become a big business in Nigeria which, according to him, is why most young school leavers want to run into politics.
He confirmed that the basic take home salary of Oyo State Assembly legislators during his time was around 400 thousand naira, outside their allowances.