By Bayo Ogunmupe
Title: Dictionary of Legislation and Governance
Author: Taiwo Olaniran, The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Trophies and Laurels Limited, Fadeyi, Lagos.
Publisher: Trophies and Laurels Limited, 2012. This Dictionary was printed by Soladem Printers Ltd Morocco Road, Somolu, Lagos.
The Dictionary is authored to stimulate improvements in Nigeria’s parliamentary procedure rule and techniques.
This Dictionary brings into focus the Westminster Parliamentary procedure, the substance of Parliamentary experience of Nigeria’s First Republic and our newly adopted American presidential and Congressional techniques.
In this book, Taiwo Olaniran, the author is fostering simplified parliamentary practice in the manner of a teacher and innovator. Through this volume Mr. Olaniran is promoting high standard of parliamentary competence for good governance and a more open government.
Parliament you may know is the English synonym for our National Assembly. In Britain it contains the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In the United States it is the Congress which comprises the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Like in Britain and the United States our House of Representatives is greater than the Senate by virtue of its number, representative of the majority while the senate represents the ethnic diversity of the nation.
In a democracy, there are four arms of government: the National Assembly-the Legislature, The Executive i.e.: president and his ministers, the governor and his commissioners; Thirdly, the Judiciary that interprets the law of the Legislature and the rules, edicts and orders of the executive.
Finally we have the fourth estate which is the Press in the Nigerian Constitution and in any Constitution for that matter, the Press is charged with the responsibility of monitoring the other arms so that they do not usurp the power and sovereignty of the people. Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution says: “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”. This is the obligation conferred on the press by the Constitution. That means the Press is the watchdog of the people.
Since the Executive arm often tends toward tyranny, it is essential therefore to equip the personnel of parliament with such information as this book purveys so as to stop tyranny. Also, a country isn’t a democracy unless she has a parliament where elected representatives of the people freely express their opinions on the administration of the realm.
This Dictionary of Legislation contains gems of expression in Law-making, government and electioneering campaigns. It thus equips legislators with the wherewithal to manage their office in essential knowledge, skills and up to date information that are germane to their responsibilities.
The importance of this book is highlighted by the Constitution which placed the legislature first in Chapter 5, the Executive in Chapter 6 and the Judicature in Chapter 7. Moreover, in presidential democracies, when an election is in dispute, Parliament settles it. One example was the disputed election of President Rutherford Hayes of the USA who in 1876 gained the presidency by only one vote when the matter was referred to the U.S. Congress.
With more than 5000 terminologies, this dictionary is a rich source of information for legislators, government officials, lawyers, teachers and journalists. This 318 page paperback is a must read for anyone interested in peace and good government in Nigeria.
A particularly intriguing entry is one found on page 162, namely Mc Cain-Feingold Law. Formally titled the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of the United States, t he law is named after its two Senate sponsors John McCain a Republican from Arizona and Russell Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin. The law sought to remove soft money as an influence on candidates running for federal office. The law eliminated loopholes that allowed the use of soft money to aid candidates.
We commend Taiwo Olaniran for creating time to write this book. Perhaps this is due to hid background as an academic, broadcaster and chief executive of Trophies and Laurels Limited, Fadeyi, Lagos. This is Mr. Olaniran’s fourth book, his third- Examination Techniques has been in use in secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. He has also won a prize in a competition organized by BBC. Currently, Olaniran is working on Youth Employability, Entrepreneurship and Role Models Project, enterprises which are having a transformational impact on the Nigerian youth.
My name is Bayode Ogunmupe
Columnist and Book Editor,
The Guardian, Lagos.