If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
— The Christians’ Holy Book
Laws are fundamental to the continued existence of any one group. It is in relation to this that the maxim, “where there is no law, there is no crime” was generated. The reason? Simple: When a people come together and agree to live as one, it becomes expedient for them to set laws that would guide their actions and inaction. While these laws may not fully cover all the aspects of their interactions, they cover a large aspect of the interactions, and also serve as a basis for extended rules to govern the group, as it evolves and expands.
Laws are the foundation of a society, and if a society does not have laws or has, at a time, lost the recognition and reverence for its laws, such society would dangle at the precipice of inexistence. When the foundation is destroyed, it becomes almost impossible for the people to remedy the situation. And that is why it is important that the righteous act, the moment they start noticing chips in the foundation – circumstances and situations that render the foundation shaky, although not totally destroyed.
Katanga Republic is one of the University of Ibadan’s largest and most influential halls of residence. Beyond that, it is a community of men that share more than a place to rest their heads in common. There is the Katanga identity and consciousness – which consume you as you sojourn in the larger University of Ibadan community. This Katanga Republic has laws that bind it. On the other hand are expected makers and upholders of the law – the floor representatives. A careful study of the happenings in Katanga Republic has revealed chips in the foundation of our hall. And if the righteous – Katangites – do not want to be rendered powerless, then, they are required to act now, while the situation can still be salvaged. What chips have crawled into the foundation of our republic, and how can we remedy the situation?
Greenhorn Lawmakers; Defiled Chambers – Should Anything Go?
For years, the Indy Hall Hallowed Chambers have accommodated greenhorn lawmakers. While the fraction of these greenhorns was significantly small years ago, there has been a surge, which has climaxed this session, and may get worse in sessions to come – if we do not address the issue. The rise in the number of greenhorn lawmakers in our republic is not disconnected from the general rise of greenhorn leaders in the university community. Nonetheless, to act is required of us, and to act is first to consider what the problems and what their causes are.
The bulk of the republic’s current lawmakers are greenhorns who are quick to vote, slow to analyse, quick to react, and laid-back in drawing on the knowledge of the experienced few. A thread of inexperience passes from the leadership of the hallowed chambers, and it is held on to firmly by the bulk of its members. From outrightly quoting a non-existent aspect of the constitution, to rowdy chambers, to repeated interventions in matters of interpreting the constitution – the chambers and its leadership have not been convincing enough as to their knowledge of our laws and how they should be applied. For a republic whose constitution especially focuses on the Hall Assembly and the Order of the Assembly’s Business, it is shocking how basic assembly modalities are wrongly applied by the bulk of the assembly’s members. It then begs the question: do the representatives read the Constitution at all? Have they ever read it? Did they read it upon assuming office? How familiar are they with the laws of the Hall? What do they think their functions are?
It is paradoxical that the Assembly demands accountability and transparency from its counterparts in the executive council, yet, Katangites are not kept abreast of the happenings in the hallowed chambers. There have been four plenary sessions this semester; how many resolutions have been shared with the general public? Why the laissez-faire attitude? Is this predicated on the peculiarity of this semester, or should we be fearful for imminent doom?
Increased Apathy, Decreasing Awareness Level – The Curse Of Katanga?
There is an increase in the level of disinterestedness of Katangites in politics, especially for the floor representative portfolio. This semester has seen the Hall struggle to have the approved number of legislators. Shall we say Covid-19 again? Beyond this, is the decrease in the awareness level. There will be contestants for the position of floor representatives in the coming election. How many of them have taken it upon themselves to get familiar with the dealings and proceedings of the Assembly? The constitution duly recognises spectators during plenary sessions – why are these to-be lawmakers missing, only to get elected and struggle to acquaint themselves with the House proceedings? Then, we see the interconnectedness of the first problem and the second.
There is also the decreasing level of awareness in the Hall. How familiar are Katangites with the Hall’s laws? Do they know the responsibilities of their elected leaders? Do they know what is required of them as Katangites? How do a people hold the leadership accountable when they are not aware of the leadership’s responsibilities? The Assembly represents the people; however, has the assembly ever made moves to sensitise the people? Were freshmen given the Hall Constitution? There was a Freshers’ Baptism, was there a sensitisation on the Hall’s Constitution and its dictates? Would we rather uphold traditions than laws? Do we even recognise how binding and defining this constitution is? The Constitution of the Hall is hard to come by or access – strictly the possession of past and present “custodians” of the law.
An Obsolete Constitution: Katanga Republic, A Shadow Of What Katanga Used To Be
There are lamentations on the perceived drop in the influence Indy Hall has on the University of Campus. One factor people often fail to look into is how disconnected we are, one brother from the other. There are no clear-cut aims and objectives stipulated in the constitution to arouse one’s consciousness and identity. There is no cohesive inculcation of Katanga ideals in every Katangite. There is dissonance in the land; and this can be traced to the laws which bind the land.
The Indy Hall Constitution has been in use since 2006, and while this might not have mattered, it does matter because the constitution of a republic like ours is like a syllabus. Many of the provisions of our constitution are irrelevant, if placed side-by-side with our current realities. In the same vein, our constitution does not accommodate current experiences and realities of the average Katangite. Our republic is living as a shadow of the republic it used to be.
What shall we say of a constitution that draws four of the electoral commission’s eight members from the legislative council, yet states that members of the said commission are required to be non-partisan? Why should the legislative council supply half of the membership of the electoral commission?
Why is our constitution yet to be amended when it gives little responsibilities to the bulk of the executive positions? What provisions are there for the third arm of government? Is the constitution a constitution or leaflets principally guiding the proceedings of the Assembly? The drafting committee cannot be held accountable for the lacuna and incapability of the constitution – for the constitution could have met the needs of the community at that time.
The Problems Have Been Discussed: What Needs To Be Done
It is not enough to point out the problems; it is also necessary to highlight practical solutions that would help mitigate the situation at hand. The centre still holds, but this centre is wobbly, as the knees of an arthritic old woman. Indy Hall needs some remedies, which should be predicated on:
– A review and amendment of the constitution. While this may not be fully achieved now, discourses around the amendment and what needs to be amended should be started this session.
– Awareness for the polity. Indy Hall needs to return to the period when delivery and previous participation, and antecedents were requirements for the new crop of the hall’s leaders.
– The processes for the creation, recognition and initiation for a judicial council should be started. This is long overdue.
– In line with the amendment of the constitution, the hall and its annual set of leaders should make it a fundamental duty to provide a copy of the hall’s constitution to Katangites. The money for this can be factored into the payable dues.
– The Adegoke Samuel-led Indy Hall Assembly needs to awaken to its tasks and deliver up to expectations. He who must interpret and apply the law, must know the law. Legislators, get familiar with the Indy Hall Constitution.
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