10th NASS: Gbajabiamila tasks Senators-elect, Members-elect on unimpeachable discourse

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged Senators-elect and Members-elect of the 10th National Assembly to engage on discourse that must be unimpeachable.

He made the call declaring the induction of the first batch of the new representatives on Tuesday in Abuja.

While congratulating the members on their election victories, Gbajabiamila said called on them to justify the offices held by the quality of endeavors in that office.

“For those of us in the legislature, this means that the quality of our law-making and advocacy, the excellence of our constituency services, the thoroughness of our oversight activities and the substance of our discourse in the chamber must be unimpeachable.

“I welcome you at this singular moment in our nation’s history when the talents, perspectives and dedication of all political leaders are required to steer us through present challenges towards the success we desire and hopefully deserve.

“As you enter the 10th Assembly, I urge you to remember that nothing of consequence is achieved by individual effort alone in parliament.
You will either rise together or fall alone.

“Additionally, you have a crucial responsibility of building an effective operational relationship with the executive arm. Your responsibility for overseeing executive actions is not an invitation to conflict for its own sake. “

He further said that the 2023 General Elections were the most hardfought and competitive ever since the return to democratic rule in 1999.

“In this election, assumptions about electoral performance based on historical antecedents proved nought.

“Rooted political parties and interests were dislodged in places where such had proved impossible for two decades.

“Persons who had never aspired to political office or whose previous aspirations had failed, succeeded this time.

“Our national politics have been rewritten. We are in a new age of Nigerian democracy. The Nigerian people have awakened to the enormous power of their votes.

“This election ended the days when membership of a particular political party conferred on an officeholder a virtually automatic guarantee of reelection.”

The speaker also said that Nigeria’s democratic experience was still very young compared to others across the world and even in Africa.

“This dire development imposes on all of us political leaders, an urgent obligation to accelerate the democratic dividends for all our nation’s people or risk the total loss of legitimacy that can only lead to bad outcomes.

“For our democracy to meet the legitimate expectations of the Nigerian people, the institutions of government have to become better than they are.”

Declaring the induction open, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said that at the onset, the 9th Senate was mindful of the damaging effect of persistent conflict with the Executive and the resultant impact on legislative activities.

“However, we were equally aware that a good working relationship is desirable and indeed imperative to achieve effective and efficient service delivery to the people.

“Hence, under my leadership, the 9th National Assembly adopted a friendly but professional approach to executive-legislative relations.

“This was focused on a harmonious working relationship based on mutual respect, consultation, cooperation, collaboration and partnership.

“This approach to engaging with the executive has led to a misperception and misunderstanding which has led many to tag the 9th National Assembly as a “rubber stamp” Assembly.

“Yet, our intention in preferring an engagement with the executive based on harmony and collaboration has been to better serve Nigeria by providing a safe atmosphere for national development.”

Lawan said that the 9th Senate had performed exceedingly well in terms of the number and quality of bills introduced, passed and assented.

“As of July 2022, a total of 874 bills were introduced in the Senate, out of which 162 were passed.

“Remarkably, 104 Bills of the 9th Senate have been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This made it significantly higher than those of previous assemblies, which recorded 31 for the 4th Assembly, 98 for the 5th Assembly, 52 for the 6th Assembly, 60 for the 7th Assembly, and 74 for the 8th Assembly. “

Also speaking, Prof . Abubakar Sulaiman, Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) said that the institute has the experience, tools and expertise to support the new members in bill and motion drafting, bill analysis and scrutiny among others.

Sulaiman urged the legislators to engage regularly and constructively with the public, civil society, the media, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other stakeholders for better legislation.

On her part, acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bill Atkinson said that the commission was proud of the long standing partnership with the National Assembly.

She said that the 10th Assembly would be one of the most diverse with 70 per cent as new members.

While calling on the new members to “to hit the ground running”, Atkinson urged them to learn from their predecessors. (NAN)

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