Fashola Defends National Assembly Against ‘Rubber Stamp’ Label

Daud Olatunji

Former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has refuted the characterization of the National Assembly as a ‘rubber stamp,’ asserting that such labeling is inappropriate and diminishes the essential role of the legislative body. 

Fashola made these remarks during his presentation at the annual lecture organized by the Honorary Members’ Forum (HMF) of the Nigeria Air Force Officers’ Mess (NAFOM) in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday.

Addressing a diverse audience, Fashola delved into the dynamics of political parties seeking a majority in the legislature to advance their policy agendas seamlessly. 

He highlighted that the very purpose of aspiring for a majority is to facilitate the realization of campaign promises made by political parties during elections.

“Anytime we see the head of the executive and the head of the legislature, they say is a rubber stamp,” Fashola remarked. 

“The question I always ask is, when contesting for the national assembly or house of assembly, which party goes there to have a minority figure? Do we not go there to have the largest number of people? What is that for if not to drive our agenda?”

Fashola emphasized that while the majority’s purpose is to drive an agenda, it must adhere to the legal framework of the country. 

He pointed to the example of election promises, such as the removal of fuel subsidies, citing that if the president seeks approval for such actions and the assembly approves, it does not equate to being a ‘rubber stamp.’ Instead, it signifies the implementation of the agenda for which the majority was elected.

The former Lagos governor stressed that legislatures are fundamentally tasked with three responsibilities: making laws, providing representation, and offering oversight. 

He underscored the negative impact of a prolonged budgetary impasse between the executive and legislative branches, citing a seven-month delay in approving the executive budget.

“A government that does not have an appropriation for seven months and the one that got appropriation done in a few weeks, which is better?” Fashola questioned, challenging the perception of a ‘rubber stamp’ as an inappropriate label.

Fashola urged a more nuanced understanding of the role of the National Assembly, emphasizing that the majority’s function is integral to the democratic process and the fulfillment of electoral mandates.


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