Nigerians want effective legislations as lawmakers resume from recess

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FILE PHOTO – Members of the House of
Representatives at plenary

Members of the National Assembly on Monday
resumed after a long recess.
Some Nigerians are
asking them to wake up to their responsibilities by
enacting impactful laws
Lawmakers must put the interest of Nigerians first
Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and
Accountability Project, Adetokunbo Mumuni
Now that the lawmakers are back from their recess,
they must face issues and matters that will impact
positively on the masses of Nigeria. They should
think less of themselves and more of the Nigerian
people who voted for them. They must be ready to
assist the executive, whenever it needs assistance
in terms of legislations, to ameliorate the current
suffering of Nigerians, while not compromising on
their independence. And one would not but come
to the conclusion that the lawmakers are too far
from the people because of the way they have
carried on all this while. So what should concern
them are matters that affect the people and not
things that have to do with their emoluments and
allowances.

Nigerians should recall legislators not doing well
National President, Arewa Youth Consultative
Forum, Yerima Shettima
This is not the type of democracy that we all
envisaged, it is sad our lawmakers have not
utilised the opportunity to represent the interests of
Nigerians well. As far as I’m concerned, they are
just managers of sovereignty of various Nigerians
from various constituencies. Some of them do not
even know why they are there or what they are
doing there. It is so unfortunate that some of them
have turned the National Assembly to their own
means of survival. So they are there because of
their own interests and not the interests of
Nigerians, which are paramount. We have a lot of
challenges. One, we must begin to see institutions
working and if you ask me if they are really
working, I will say no. However, we must remain
optimistic and be advising our lawmakers on what
to do. Nigerians are expecting so much from them
because of the situation in which we have found
ourselves. The unity of the country is being
threatened and our economy is bad, so they
should be up and doing rather than be thinking
about padding budgets, getting wardrobe
allowances, constituency allowances, and so on.
Rather than consider the plight of the common
people who voted for them to get there, they are
thinking of how they will make money from there.
It is sad, but they can still retrace their steps and
come back to their responsibility which is to
legislate. They stay in Abuja and the members of
their constituencies don’t get to discuss issues
with them, so I wonder whose interests they are
representing. Also, the electorate must be
prepared to recall them if they are not doing well;
they have the constitutional right to recall them. I
am looking forward to seeing Nigerians rise against
lawmakers who are not doing well. By the time
Nigerians begin to do so, some of them will sit up
and know their primary responsibilities.
They must be paid like civil servants
Publicity Secretary, Campaign for Democratic and
Workers’ Rights, Chinedu Bosah
Nigerians don’t know their lawmakers. I know Yayi
(Senator Solomon Adeola) representing my
senatorial district- Lagos West. I only know him
by name. I don’t know the member of the House of
Representatives representing me; that tells you
how disconnected they are from the people. Maybe
I am able to know the senator because I ‘m a bit
into politics, but you can never see them after
election and since election has come and gone, we
will not see till there is another election. We don’t
know them. And I am the National Secretary of the
National Socialist Party, so I should know some of
them if they are on ground defending the interests
of the people. If I don’t know them, know that
majority of Nigerians will not know theirs. The
lawmakers must consciously, given the state of
our economy now, reduce their salaries to that of
an average civil servant so that we can have more
money to plow into job creation. Our lawmakers
are said to be the highest paid legislators in the
world and it is unacceptable. We expect them to
come out with laws that will bring about more
equality in wages of Nigerians and help people
have access to basic needs of life. As we call for
the reduction in their allowances, we also call for
the basic salary of workers to be increased to a
living wage because there is no way a person can
survive on the current wage.
They should work as a serious body
National President, Committee for the Defence of
Human Rights, Mr. Malachy Ugwumadu
First of all, Nigeria is at the moment surviving
under a constitutional arrangement and therefore,
once we talk about constitutional arrangement
dedicated to the growth of democracy, we are
talking about the three arms of government – the
executive, the judiciary and most importantly, the
legislature which is the arm of government that is
expected to promote the interest of the people
because it has the representative capacity covering
the entire country. Because what the legislature
does primarily impacts the people, it is therefore
necessary for members of the National Assembly
to ensure that they sit for the number of days
allowed by the constitution for purposeful
legislative activities.
Secondly, Nigerians expect them to move as
swiftly as possible to enact legislations that will
bring about good governance. The lawmakers also
need to take proper action on the Petroleum
Industry Bill, which has been pending before the
National Assembly for many years. Many other
bills that will advance the quality of the lives of
Nigerians which are pending before the National
Assembly also deserve attention. We expect that
the National Assembly members should do away
with their personal and inter-party crises and work
together as a serious arm of government for robust
legislative activities. The responsibilities of
lawmakers are grouped into three areas:
legislation, which is lawmaking; oversight, which is
the power they have to moderate the activities of
other agencies of the government; and the power
to oversee budget processing. So, for them to
carry out these functions effectively, they need to
shun their bickering and engage in deep and
robust debates on issues that have connection with
the development of the people and the nation’s
democracy.
NASS should lead the debate on economic
recovery
Lawyer and social analyst, Wahab Shittu
The lawmakers should continue to keep faith in the
spirit and letter of their mandate, which is to
deliver effective representation and effective
legislations, as well as deliver effective oversight
functions – those are their core mandates. I look
forward to seeing them focused on these key areas
in order to impact on quality of good governance.
They are also expected to address ethical and
moral issues that seem to have cast some doubts
on their integrity, particularly on the allegation of
budget padding that is now in public domain.
The recession affecting the country is also a key
area that demands the attention of the lawmakers.
As stakeholders, they should lead the debate on
how to address the economic problem. If they are
able to galvanise the power of ideas and the power
of positive actions, they will be able to come up
with policies and laws that will assist in the
recovery of the economy.
There are lots of instruments available for the
National Assembly to be able to engage in a
process that will make impact in the way and
direction governance should be undertaken.
They could call for a robust debate and invite
experts to discuss the economic problem so as to
provide a way out because the National Assembly
is supposed to be a gathering of people of
knowledge, experience and exposure.
The Petroleum Industry Bill should be made top
priority
Founder and CEO, Spaces for Change, Victoria
Ibezim-Ohaeri
Now that the lawmakers are back from their recess,
everybody is interested in seeing them take part in
solving the problem of recession. One suggestion
that has come forward which I agree with is for
them to share in the pains of Nigerians by
negotiating a downward review of their allowances.
I heard a statement made by the Senate President
(Bukola Saraki) that they share in the pains of
Nigerians, but it is not enough to say it, you have
to do something to demonstrate it. Another thing
they need to do is for them to tell us the status of
the Petroleum Industry Bill because our economy
revolves around petroleum resources. Let them tell
us clearly what the status of the bill is. When are
they going to engage stakeholders because we
have a lot of provisions that we need to make
regarding the bill? Basically, let them show that
they are back to the business of lawmaking by
making sure that they reflect the current realities in
Nigeria.
Bills that have economic implications should be
speedily dealt with
General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter
Ozo-Eson
There are bills that are pending in the National
Assembly that the lawmakers need to deal with;
particularly any bills that have implications for the
economy should be speedily dealt with. Right now,
they are discussing the economic situation in the
country. We have heard different points of view.
My expectation is that what represents the will of
Nigerians will prevail. Some of them have been
pushing for the taking over of national assets
which I don’t think is in the interest of Nigerians.
We expect that as representatives of the people,
they will be guided by what is in the average
interest of Nigerians, not what is in the interest of
their own privileged class.
Our leaders need to build capacity
Esther Alidu, social media and communications
expert
There is the tendency for candidates to promise
heaven and earth to get to power and once they
get to power, they forget about those things.
Really, the promises are made to gain people’s
support. When they get into power, they find out
that they lack the capacity to do all the things they
had promised, even if they meant well. So I think
they should be concerned about the kind of people
they surround themselves with and they need to
build capacity in corporate culture and so on. I
think anyone in government should pay attention
to the structure, which must be very strong. It will
help them to achieve whatever it is that they want
because they cannot work alone. They need to
work with people who understand their vision so
that they can keep their promises.
Leadership challenge’ll impede them
Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN)
The expectation from the National Assembly
members is high, but the lawmakers cannot
achieve much because they have a lot of
challenges. They have challenge in terms of
leadership and they also have challenge of budget
padding; all these things will not allow them to
concentrate.
There is also another challenge now, which is
recession. This will definitely affect their oversight
functions. So, I don’t have much expectation from
them because of the factors enumerated above.
But if they are able to overcome their leadership
tussle and budget padding crisis, they can do
some work.

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