The price of a good Representation!

By Rev. Fr. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

Every prize has a price and every good work has a reward. The reward for a good work is more work, for goodness is its own reward. Good representation of the people in the government or even in the church and in all levels of the society has both a prize and a price. Politics under the democratic dispensation deals with representations.

The people select and elect its representatives in government. Especially in the various legislative chambers of the local, state and federal governments, members have been chosen and elected to represent their people. It is the wish of the people that its representatives carry out their wishes and thus fulfill the essence of their mission in the chambers of government. The representatives are sent.

They are not on their own. They do not have their own mission apart from the welfare of those who sent them. The welfare of the people is the common good of all in the society. It is the mission of the people's representative to enhance abundant common good in the society. This would justify both their choice and election. It would also justify their representation among other things.

And so the first price of good representation is to recognize the limitations of one's freedom. The representatives are not free not to serve. They are to serve the people with their representation. It is not their pockets that they are elected to serve, neither is it their families alone. The duty is towards the people. And the people have a choice. They are not mendicants. The representatives did not employ the people.

It is the people for whom the representatives are working. In fact, the second price for good representation is hard work. A good representative must engage in serious hard work in the chambers of legislation. Good representative deals with addressing the peoples' charter of demands through intensive and extensive collaborations and lobbying among other members of the chambers.

One other important price for good representation is presence. Presence here means the ability of the representative to take part in the proceedings of the house. It means his or her making contributions. as and when due. It is evident that an absentee representative cannot deliver on service. And there are a good number of them. There are representatives who have never taken part in any serious business of the chambers. Nor have they ever proposed any bill.

They are today in America and tomorrow in South Africa speculating on one kind of shoddy business or the other. The constituency projects for instance, that should have been done in the constituency for the common good of the people are transferred to their private use and that of their families. No wonder today the success of representation in Nigeria among some of these charlatans is being measured in the number of business empires one has been able to establish in the course of representation. It is no longer the volume of goods and services one is able to attract to its people.

Yes, the final price the representative must pay if one does not heed to the above prices of goodness, is that of anonymity and social irrelevance. If one refuses to serve the people when one has the opportunity and the mandate, one gradually diminishes into anonymity and social irrelevance in the society. Evidences abound that those who served only their pockets while in public offices come out more wretched. They diminish in public esteem.

They diminish also in the weight of their pockets. It will not take time when their reckless lifestyle will devastate all their ill-gotten and accumulated wealth. Then they will sink into actual social obscurity. Such useless representatives will begin to feel and pay the bitter price of bad representation namely; they will begin to eat from the dust after having eaten with gold dishes and spoons. But the antidote against this form of licentiousness is always good representation of the people!

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