One of the hallmarks of democratic dispensation is the vibrancy of the legislative arm of government which is partly hinged on the quality and significance of bills that are moved and subsequently passed into law by legislators who are representive of the people.
In light of this notion, the representative of Epe federal constituency, Lagos, Olawale Raji, has never be been found wanting when it comes to robust and meaningful legislation which are geared towards the development and growth of his constituency, state and Nigeria at large.
The compassionate Lawmaker, who has chalked up deluge of achievements in the course of legislative career, consolidated his success yesterday as a bill he had sponsored in 2019 scaled through second reading in the lower legislative chamber.
The Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2019 sponsored by Olawale Raji (APC, Lagos), has passed Second Reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act, 2010, to Prohibit Electoral Officers from engaging in Partisan Politics within five (5) years of Retirement, Resignation and Official Relief of Duties and Other Related Matters.
Raji averred that the amendment of the Electoral act, would block the loophole in the principal act, adding that the blockage would further consolidate the gains of Nigeria democratic process.
Raji in his lead debate in support of the amendment of the bill argued that Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended provides that every Nigerian is free to belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his/her interest..
“The import of the above provision is to the effect that every Nigerian adult has the inherent/Constitutional right to participate freely during an election and cannot be disenfranchising unduly.
“However, by virtue of Section 45 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it provides that nothing in Section 40 of the Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, with respect to the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.
“The import of the above is to the effect that the provisions of section 40 of the Constitution will not invalidate any law of the National Assembly that is tailored towards the protection of public order and morality. In the light of the above”
He submitted that, with the type of information the electoral officials have access to while in active service, allowing them to delve into partisan politics immediately after retirement could have a devastating consequences on the electoral process and democratic structure.
To this end, the lawmaker proposed that electoral officials should be barred from active and partisan politics for a period of five years starting from the moment they are disengaged from the commission.
He said “I submit that the level of information available to a National Electoral Commissioner and the Resident Electoral Commissioner respectively, during their period of service as electoral staff, of which the general public is not privy to especially the methods and the procedures on how elections are conducted…
“It has become imperative to restrict them from taking part in aspiring for elective positions in government for a period of at least five (5) years of their disengagement from the commission.”
He said the amendment is to ensure that such officers no longer have an inkling as to the recent workings of the Electoral commission, noting that the act is geared towards the protection of the integrity of the electoral body and elections at large.
“It is also a way to build the confidence of the electorate towards the activities and affairs of the commission.
“By isolating these officers from engaging in active politics, this amendment will prevent any possible abuse of office or using a position once occupied to gain undue advantage during an election.”
About sponsor of the bill.
The core function of a legislator is law making for good governance. The instruments used in the discharge of this function are bills and motions. The performance of a legislator is accessed through the number of bills and motions sponsored and contributions to debate on the floor of the house. From June 2015 when the 8th Assembly was inaugurated, Raji has sponsored 14 motions and 2 bills on various issues affecting the lives of members of Epe Federal Constituency, Lagos State and Nigeria in general. Some of the motions and bills are listed below:
As a federal lawmaker Raji has shown an excellent and exemplary legislative qualities. From the sponsoring of compelling and impactful bills to improving the situations and lives of his constituents.
He ensured the inclusion of Epe/Ijebu road, which has suffered years of neglect, in the 2020 budget.
As part of his humanitarian gesture and legislative acumen which are tailored towards boosting the economy of his constituency and improving the lives of his constituents, Raji embarked on various empowerment program for women, youths and artisans.
He constructed solar powered borehole at Ward A2 and rehabilitated the borehole at Ward A4 & A1 with sets of power generators.
On tackling the problem of power in his constituency, Raji supplied electric poles to ward 6.
In order to address the issue of unemployment, He also helped secure Police recruitment for his constituents.
And In a bid to improve the performance of Epe students in external examinations, Raji paid for intensive WAEC tutorials for secondary schools students within Epe federal constituency. This in turn has increased the passing rate of students in the examination.
To enhance medical delivery in his constituency, Raji constructed Health Centre at Ìṣe.
Poverty alleviation programmes
Poverty Alleviation: Under Our Poverty Alleviation Scheme (Wale Raji PAS)
A total of 165 skilled constituents who lacked relevant equipment were benefitted from our Poverty Alleviation Programme.
The following equipment/machines were assisted with:
4 deep freezers
45 grinding machines
9 industrial sewing machines
45 sewing machines
11 standing dryers
He was appointed the welfare committee chairman and presently He is the Chairman, Committee on House Services of the 9th Assembly.