The House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Yakubu Dogara has since resumption from working recess begun to implement the Consolidation Agenda envisioned by the Speaker. In just three legislative sittings, issues bothering on the well-being of Nigerians were tabled, and resolutions passed on them, while work commenced on some critical legislations.
Already, the all important committee on selection has been set up which is a major step taken to position the House to commence its legislative work in earnest as members would be placed on different standing committees based on their expertise, profession and other considerations.
On Tuesday July 28, the House adopted a motion on the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the audit report on activities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the parliament in accordance with provisions of the 1999 constitution and other relevant legislations, and the Legislative Agenda which is all out to fight corruption and leakages in government revenues.
The Green chamber also passed resolution on a motion calling on 19 State governors to settle their debts with West African Examination Council to enable students from those State collect their results.
A committee of the House was also mandated to meet with executives of the Independent Petroluem Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and tanker drivers over incessant deadly tanker accidents in the country.
Rising incidents of armed robbery in Safana and neighbouring towns in Katsina State was also debated with a call in the Inspector General of Police to act quickly by deploying anti-robbery squad in the area
Worthy of mentioning here is motions on the need to probe Nigeria-Japan vehicles recycling project, the need for president Buhari to re-open in investigations into high profile murder cases, another motion calling on IGP to end incessant kidnappings in Ekiti, Ondo States, motion on the need to provide relief materials for the victims of Lagos pipeline explosion and last but not the least, a motion on the need to establish the North East Development, Rehabilation and Reconstruction Commission was adopted unanimously.
In keeping with its determination to serve the people, the people and only the people, the House also began work on scores of people-oriented Bills which are too numerous to mention here. All these were achieved in just three legislative sittings. Dogara had at different fora reiterated his determination to lead from the front and return the House to its original owners-Nigerians-who toiled under scotching sun and heavy rain, sacrifing their comfort and even their lives and voted to install the All Progressives Congress in power.
It is his belief that members, as custodians of mandates of the people, must at all times talk about those things that matter most to the people such as poverty, unemployment, infrastructural decay, illiteracy, corruption and insecurity. It is the conviction of the Speaker that the time of bickering is over and it is now time to move on with the Consolidation Agenda of the Eighth Assembly which will build on the legacies and achievements of the Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s led Seventh House.
Even before they resumed, the House has been on working recess during which the Speaker and other lawmakers were daily engaged in their legislative activities.
On almost daily basis, the Speaker kept receiving foreign envoys who paid him courtesy call and discussions on deepening relations between Nigeria and their countries were held.
To this end, in the coming months, many parliamentary frienship bodies between Nigeria’s National Assembly and other legislatures would be formed to concretise and deepen our interractions and relations across the globe.
It is also worth mentioning here that Dogara has since assembled a team of legal luminaries and experts across the country to reform and review Laws of the Federation some of which are not only obselete but archiac, colonial and out of tune with the present realities of our time.
The committee under the leadership of Dr. Ladi Hamalai will also present draft bills to either repeal, amend or enact new legislations thereby easing the work of law making for the Green chamber and saving cost.
Addressing his colleagues after resumming plenary, Dogara once apologised to Nigerians for the unfortunate incidence last June and promised that they shall be the vibrant House of the Nigerian people that they are. He said the Eight Assembly has a very crucial role in the political history of Nigeria because they are saddled with the responsibility and special privilege to midwife the first government of complete democratic transition in which an opposition party has assumed the realm of government, the first in our political experience.
Again, being a product of an overwhelming mandate of change from the people of Nigeria, the Speaker reminded his colleagues that they are called to national service at a time when public expectation for good governance is at it’s peak and the peoples patience with government is on the edge. He said that if the public expectation on previous legislatures was one hundred percent, then the expectation on this Eight Assembly must be anything but not less than two hundred percent, which means that they can neither afford to abuse the confidence reposed in them nor can they dare to expose themselves to the cruel judgment of history.
“Our great party, the All Progressives Congress APC along with Mr President and other party leaders exhibited uncommon democratic tradition by abstaining from direct interference in the process and given the manner we conducted the election in this Chambers on 9th June, I am persuaded that they do not regret reposing such confidence in us. In this regard we owe them, ourselves, and indeed all Nigerians a duty to prove that we can conclude this process rancor free and without denting our party’s democratic credentials. This we can do and I am confident that we shall,” he said. Expectedly, the disagreements over House Principal Officers is now a history.
And that is why Barrister Dogara, admonished his colleagues to resist the temptation of neglecting the reason for their being in the National Assembly, which is to serve and not to be served because according to him, the mandate they hold is not about their personal ambitions “it is all about the people, the people, and the people, indeed it is about Nigeria: as representatives of the people therefore, we must be the manifestation of their high expectations of good governance, probity, transparency and accountability; we must be the manifestation of their unmitigated impatience against dormancy in governance and above all we must resonate their pain of poverty, squalor and insecurity.”
“I need hardly restate the fact of the enormity of the task before us. Let us therefore resolve here and now to activate our mandate by kickstarting the real business of the people and our nation,” so, the Speaker said. Indeed, the Eighth House of Representatives is now fully on course and has since moved on towards delivering on its mandate.
Hassan is the Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs to Rt. Hon. Speaker Yakubu Dogara.