There are a few things in life that should be left for LAWMA (in Olamide’s voice). The Peace Corps Establishment Bill (2017) is one. On Tuesday, February 27, 2018,

In withholding his assent, Buhari said the proposed Peace Corps will “undertake activities currently being performed by extant security and law enforcement agencies.”

In simple language, the president was saying the job of the Peace Corps is already being carried out by other law enforcement agencies. Why duplicate?

Who needs more armed men making life even more difficult for everyone and arresting the people they should be protecting? Who needs a bunch of irate officers in starched security outfits playing god all over the place?

Buhari also cited paucity of funds for rejecting the bill.

The “financial implications of funding the establishment and operations of the proposed Nigerian Peace Corps, given the scarce financial resources, may pose serious challenge to the government,” the president said.

In typical fashion, lawmakers are fighting back. They are planning to override the president’s veto and go ahead with their Peace Corps.

“If the president doesn’t assent for whatever reason to the Peace Corps Bill, we are at liberty to recall it back to parliament and muster the two-thirds in the House and Senate and pass it in spite of Mr. President’s veto,”Speaker Yakubu Dogara thundered.

Overriding vetoes

Actually, Section 58(5) of the 1999 constitution as amended, empowers the national assembly to override the president’s veto on bills.

Section 58 (5) reads thus: “Where the president withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by two-thirds majority of each House, the bill shall become law and the assent of the president shall not be required”.

Order 12(b)(c) of the standing rules of the House of Representatives (2016), also provides that the rejected bill could be reconsidered by the House (through a motion) and if supported by two-thirds of Reps, the bill is proclaimed law without the assent of the president.

Creating jobs

Hon Yusuf Ayinla who represents Mushin II constituency of Lagos doesn’t understand why Buhari isn’t sold on a bill that will help fulfill his promise to provide jobs for young Nigerians.

“That bill will help the president himself for lifting zero employment to a better place”, Ayinla says.

“If the reasons given by Mr. President are not germane”,Hon Nicholas Ossai told Daily Post, “I will personally lead a lobbying process to make sure the House vetoes him.”

Duplication

The problem with the Peace Corps outfit is that it will duplicate the functions of other security outfits in the country, like the president rightly noted.

The Peace Corps will be funded from the federal budget. It’s money we can ill afford at this time.

The Peace Corps was probably floated by lawmakers who want to provide jobs for the boys. It is a self-serving piece of legislation--a political gimmick if you would--which was rightly trashed by Buhari.

Our problem isn’t a lack of law enforcement personnel. Our problem is more to do with reforming corrupt, rudderless and overzealous law enforcement institutions.

If and when the lawmakers decide to override the president’s veto, Buhari should starve the outfit of funds while we all watch it die a natural death.

Former Director General in the presidency, Dr Joe Abah, puts it better than most: “If NASS (National Assembly) goes ahead to pass the Peace Corps Bill despite presidential veto, the Budget Office of the Federation must ensure that they are not included in the federal budget proposals. Again, the constitution gives NASS the powers to insert anything they like in the budget. So….

“If NASS goes ahead to enact the Peace Corp Bill and itself provides for it in the budget, the president should use his powers under section 171 of the Constitution and not appoint anyone into the Corps. With no appointments and no approved recruitment, it can never take off”.

C’est fini.