Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday called for unity to ensure the dangerous trend and marked increase in incidents of insecurity and vicious attacks on political actors in parts of the country does not lead to circumstances that threaten the forthcoming elections.
Gbajabiamila who made the call while delivering his welcome address to the lawmakers at the resumption of the 2023 legislative session, tasked lawmakers to continue to do the ‘people’s’ work despite the obligations and distractions of the political campaign season.
“The quality of the political conversations in society, particularly in the lead-up to elections, is a determining factor in the electoral outcomes and the quality of governance that will result therefrom. When political discourse seeks to unite the people behind an agenda of shared prosperity, social development, and respect for the humanity of persons, governance will also reflect these priorities. The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’. With these words, the constitution obligates all of us who swear to serve in government to do everything to protect the lives and property of all citizens and promote their well-being above all else.
“This obligation is central to the governing contract between the government and the citizenry. As leaders in our various communities and constituencies, we must adopt a politics of accommodation and brotherhood. And we must ensure that no insecurity threatening our country’s peace can be attributed to our actions or utterances. This is our constitutional obligation and a moral duty from which we must not deviate,” he said.
Speaking further, Gbajabiamila enjoined the legislators to resume with renewed determination to achieve better oversight of government spending priorities through a collaborative effort with the executive arm of government and civil society.
He acknowledged that the last few appropriation cycles, the dire conditions of the national finance have required significant borrowing to finance government operations, sustain investments in infrastructure and national security and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
The Speaker said in the Executive arm of government, it is established practice to prepare handover notes and called on the House to adopt the practice at the committee level.
He, therefore, charged the House Committee on Rules and Business to lead the effort by formulating guidelines to make that possible.
He added that it is imperative that the House focuses its efforts on completing the tasks it has already initiated and closing out the assignments on which the legacy of the 9th House will be assessed.
Gbajabiamila said, “We remain dedicated to the lofty yet clear ambitions we articulated in our Legislative Agenda when we resumed in the 9th Assembly. This year, it is imperative that we focus our efforts on completing the tasks we have already initiated and closing out the assignments on which our legacy in this 9th House will be assessed. Several bills still in the legislative process need to be actioned as a matter of urgency, as these bills propose significant improvements across different sectors of our national life. Some of these bills are still in committee, while others are awaiting concurrence in the Senate. We will see to it that we conclude work on these bills so that they can be presented to Mr president during the life of this administration.
“One recurring criticism of the legislature in Nigeria has been the lack of continuity and the absence of tools and procedures for establishing an institutional memory. Government is a continuum; the actions of one administration will continue to impact the country long into the future. Just as the 9th Assembly has reformed the appropriations process to ensure timely budget passage, we also intend to leave a legacy of transparency and accountability as a standard for the future. Therefore, as part of preparing our reports, we must make a deliberate effort to give a complete account of our oversight activities in the 9th House of Representatives.
“The Committee on Monitoring and Implementation of the Legislative Agenda will review activities of the 9th House of Representatives and present a report on the implementation of our legislative agenda to the House. This is necessary to ensure that we have a report card to show the Nigerian people at the end of our term.” He said.