Following the resumption of the National Assembly from the Christmas and New Year break on Tuesday, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, urged members to focus on their national assignments as they are distracted by political campaigns towards the general election.
The speaker, in his opening remarks, particularly urged members of the House to continue to do the people’s work “despite the obligations and distractions of the political campaign season.”
Gbajabiamila said as the lawmakers approached the end of their term in office, he was hopeful that they would continue to meet and exceed expectations in the New Year.
He said, “Let us begin this new year with a renewed commitment to legislative action that brings us closer to achieving our highest aspirations for our nation.
“Let us 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.
“And we remain dedicated to the lofty, yet clear ambitions we articulated in our legislative agenda when we resumed in the 9th Assembly.”
According to him, the House needs to focus its efforts on completing the tasks it had already initiated and closing out the assignments on which the lawmakers’ legacy in the 9th House would be assessed.
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“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,” he said.
Gbajabiamila noted that 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.
He stressed that the government is a continuum and as such, the actions of one administration will continue to impact the country long into the future.
“As the democratic process leads to continuous personnel turnover, it is vital to have a system that allows future officeholders to understand the decisions made by their predecessors. In the executive arm of government, it is established practice to prepare handover notes,” he added
The Speaker also noted that over the last few appropriation cycles, the dire conditions of national finance had required significant borrowing to finance government operations, sustain investments in infrastructure and national security, as well as improve the living conditions of the Nigerian people.
Gbajabiamila however mentioned that as the country approached the 2023 general elections, there had been “a marked increase in incidents of insecurity and vicious attacks on political actors in parts of the country,” therefore people must unite to “ensure this dangerous trend does not lead to circumstances that threaten the forthcoming elections.”