by Bisola Animashaun
For effectual democracy, the role of the Legislature and that of the Judiciary are symbiotic that the two arms must remain at parallel lines.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday issued a plaudit affirmation of the position of the National Assembly on the controversial new tariff regime introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Commission (NERC), a development greeted by nationwide condemnation from the citizenry as it clearly intensifies hardship at a moment when no palliatives exist.
On February 16, 2016, the Senate had, considering an outcry by the labour congress and civil society organizations, ordered the immediate reversal of the arbitrary increase. The ruling of the upper chamber was equally backed by the House of Representatives which opposed the increment through similar motion directing NERC to halt its plans since December 2015.
At different occasions, the two chambers had interfaced with the Ministry of Power, NERC, DISCOS, GENCOS and other stakeholders in view to resolve all issues affecting the power sector. Despite, all efforts proved abortive when the mass exploitation (payment for undelivered service) neither stopped nor the federal government waded in to remedy the situation.
Under the Buhari government, yesterday marked another date when the masses had the grace to feel the existence of democracy and the rule of law in the country, going by the court judgement that upheld the stand of the people when it annulled the 45% tariff hike.
In the hailed judgement, Justice Mohammed Idris couldn’t but describe NERC’s elongated arbitrary decision as “procedurally ultra vires, irrational, irregular and illegal.” The verdict obviously brought fulfilment to the struggles of the labour as it adequately reloaded its audacity to tell NERC and DISCOs to bow for the ruling and concede defeat to the downtrodden masses.
For the records, let it be noted that efforts by the government to transform lives of the citizenry and make things work better are quite appreciated. However, it should be emphasized that all actions must be guided by the tenets of democracy.
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