There is so much happening at the same time in Nigerian politics than a regular Nigerian can keep up with. Nonetheless, as Nigerians, we must keep up with everything going on in our country, because the entire dynamics of our nation (including its politics) rests on the decisions we make today.
Earlier in the week, while must of us were busy with our respective hustles and committments, President Buhari had refused to assent to several bills that had been passed to him by the lawmakers at Nigeria’s National Assembly (NASS).
I had missed this news too. But just this morning as I walked into a lounge close to where I live in Lagos, I found a recent edition of a local newspaper and decided to flip through its pages before going ahead to do some work on my tablet.
NASS, led by Bukola Saraki, had put forward the said bills to the president after they all passed first and second reading as expected on its floor.
The bills include the Police Procurement Fund Bill (2017), Chartered Institute of Public Management of Nigeria Bill (2017) and Nigerian Council for Social Work Bill (2017).
The Chartered Institute of Public Management of Nigeria Bill
In a nutshell, this bill was intended to ban people who are not members of the named institution from engaging in public management practice in the country.
The Nigerian Council for Social Work Bill
In the same manner, this bill was meant to ban people who are not members of the named institution from participating in social work practice in Nigeria.
President Buhari’s refusal to assent
The president had refused to assent to these bills, however.
Concerning the Chartered Institute of Public Management of Nigeria Bill, the president said that the bill did not clarify the scope of the profession of public management that people who are not members of the institution are to be banned from practising.
And for the Nigerian Council for Social Work Bill, he said the bill also failed to clarify the scope of the profession of social work for which it seeks to prohibit people who are not members of the institution from practising.
I believe it is a good thing that the president has refused to assent to these bills based on the poor provisions that they have presented.
What happens to freedom of association, if these bills are assented to by the president?
Any law that prohibits people who are not members of an institution from freely practising any profession in the country amounts to an outright violation of the rights of the people to freedom of association.
Does it also mean that businesses will be banned from undertaking social work because they are not members of the Nigerian Council for Social Work?
These bills will only end up creating forced association which will limit participation and decision making in the practice of public management and social work.
Although it can be a good idea to have a law that protects people who are practising any of these professions and their respective beneficiaries. But not one that will limit and shortchange them.
If NASS has missed this, they should be reminded.
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