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Thursday, December 9, 2021

TAMBUWAL’S HOUSE: Under construction


The Tambuwal House may have acquitted itself in decorum but its productivity remains an issue.

THE 7th Assembly of the House of Representatives came to life on June 5 last year with a lot of promise. Apparently the new House was determined to shake off the ill-repute of the 6th session that was dogged with scandals.

The election of Speaker Aminu Tambuwal as presiding officer and the promises made by the new speaker were indicative of a new era. Tambuwal was elected against the desire of the leadership of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its zoning principle.

Tambuwal had said in his maiden speech that the “Seventh House of Representatives seeks to build a new image for the legislature – a strong, vibrant and effective legislature, able to assert itself as an important partner with other arms of government in the delivery of good governance, due process and rule of law.”

Following his election by the majority of House members, the new speaker quickly went on to enunciate a legislative agenda for the House.

Tambuwal’s 7 point Agenda
Embedded in this agenda is an arrangement to have an e-parliament and speedy passage of bills. However, it is regrettable that as at today only one bill outside of the appropriation bill has been passed by the Tambuwal House.
The General Principles of the agenda include:

1. Initiate a new order that would foster transparency leading to institutional integrity through efficiency of public expenditure management.

2. Restructure management and functions of legislative committees towards adequacy in capacity and improved productivity.

3. Design and implement the e-parliament blueprint that would elevate National Assembly to international best practices and ensure public access to parliamentary information and processes.

House of Reps Speaker, Tambuwal

4. Review legislative branch budget in line with the requirements of openness, effectiveness and accountability.
5. Review the constitution in all relevant areas to facilitate the implementation of the House of Representatives legislative agenda and in line with the aspirations of Nigerians.

6. Engage actively with other arms of government to restore public order and national security, and
7. Institutionalise mechanisms that will facilitate more effective engagement with various stakeholders including constituents and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).”

THE House has 89 substantive Committees performing one role or the other but among the lot only few are outstanding in their legislative duties.

Among the few are Public Accounts Committee, PAC, Committee on Environment, Committee on Communications and Information Technology, Committee on Diaspora and of late Constitution Review Committee.

Others include Aviation, Public Petitions, Foreign Affairs, Inter-parliamentary and Business and Rules committees.
Some of the committees operate in a secretive manner as their activities are usually concealed from journalists and even fellow members.

Some committee Chairmen have blamed their discretions on lack of funds, though many members say such committee chairmen are only lazy.

The Fuel Subsidy Regime Monitoring ad-hoc committee led by Lawan Farouk came vide a House Resolution on January 8 to quickly checkmate the near anarchy situation in the country caused by the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

The revelations from the committee hearing shook the conscience of the nation and helped to project the moral fiber of the legislative chamber in its dealings with the executive arm of government.

Basking in the euphoria from its scandal free investigation of the subsidy scam, an attempt to conduct a similar inquiry into the capital market, however, revealed the underbelly of the House that Speaker Tambuwal had so much tried to protect.

The capital market investigation initially assigned to the House Committee on Capital Markets soon derailed into a scandal laced with accusations and counter accusations of bribery and corruption.

The chairman of the House Committee on Capital Markets, Herman Hembe was accused of collecting estacode for a travel that was never done.

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC was on her part accused of sundry extravagant expenditures. In the end the House toed the path of honour by reassigning the investigation to an ad-hoc panel of the House headed by Rep. Ibrahim El-Sudi.

The Tambuwal House has undoubtedly raised the lever in legislative decorum giving the much needed credibility to an institution that was battered by the recklessness of its progenitors. The matter of productivity is, however, another issue.

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TAMBUWAL’S HOUSE: Under construction

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