The House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Yakubu Dogara has since resumption from recess begun to implement the Consolidation Agenda envisioned by the Speaker.
In just three pleasing sittings, issues bordering on the well-being of Nigerians were tabled, and resolutions passed on them, while work commenced on some critical matters.
Already, the all important committee on selection has been set up which is a major step taken to position the House for its legislative work in earnest as members would be placed on different standing committees based on their expertise, profession and other considerations.
On 28, July, the House adopted a motion on the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the audit report on activities of the Nigerian National Petroluem Corporation (NNPC) to the parliament in accordance with provisions of the 1999 constitution and other relevant legislations. The Green chamber also passed resolution on a motion calling on 19 State governors to settle their debts with the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to enable students from those States 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 tanker accidents across the country.
Rising incidence of armed robbery in Safana and neighbouring towns in Katsina State was also debated with a call on the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase to act quickly by deploying anti-robbery squad in the area. Also worthy of mention here are motions on the need to probe Nigeria-Japan vehicles recycling project, the need for President Buhari to re-open 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 plenary sessions.Speaker Dogara had at different fora reiterated his determination to lead from the front and return the House to its original owners-Nigerians-who worked very hard, sacrificing their comfort and even their lives and voted into power the All Progressives Congress (APC). 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, infrastructure 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 8th Assembly which will build on the legacies and achievements of the Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal`s led 7th House.
Even before the House 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 has kept receiving foreign envoys on courtesy calls and discussions on deepening relations between Nigeria and their countries were held. To this end, in the coming months, many parliamentary friendship bodies between Nigeria`s National Assembly and other legislatures around the world would be formed to concretise and deepen our interractions and relations.
It is also worth mentioning 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 obsolete but archaic, and out of tune with present realities in Nigeria.
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 lawmaking for the Green chamber and save cost.
Addressing his colleagues after resuming plenary, Dogara, who epitomises humility, 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 to play 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 the Eight Assembly must not be anything, which means that the legislators cannot afford to abuse the confidence reposed in them, or else they risk exposing themselves to the cruel judgment of history. His words: “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,”. Expectedly, the disagreements over House Principal Officers is now a history.
And that is why Speaker 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 kick-starting the real business of the people and our nation,” the Speaker added. Indeed, it is safe to say that the 8th House of Representatives is now fully on course and has since moved on to deliver on its mandate.