Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Is it true that members of both arms of the National Assembly who recently embarked on annual recess have only worked for about 15days since their inauguration on June 9th?
This was the poser raised on Tuesday by the Team Leader of Media Integrity and Coordinator, Projekthope, a pressure group seeking a better Nigeria, Steve Aborisade.
Aborisade in a press release made available to THISDAY said the recess which came barely few days after the National Assembly had remained shut due to leadership crisis was a great disservice to the nation.
According to him: “A situation which has ensured that they have sat for legislative business for only about 15 days since their inauguration three months ago, but in the process collectively pocketed over N13 billion within same period in allowances with not a single bill to their names is an indictment of the character and texture of the personalities of individuals occupying both chambers of our national assembly.
“It is indeed a big shame that our elected representatives who cherish the title of ‘Distinguished and Honourable’ hardly merit these titles if what they have reduced the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly to since their inauguration is put in context.
Recalling the Afrobarometer, an African-led non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues, which said majority of Nigerians support democracy notwithstanding the shortcomings of the elite class, Aborisade however regretted that “most Nigerians do not see voters as playing a leading role in holding political officials accountable, while this is what we must do.”
“For a National Assembly with a dubious past and burdens of integrity deficits, which elected to abdicate its constitutional oversight functions for the good of Nigerians, conniving with corrupt Nigerians to cover up several infractions, one would have thought that the renewed hope and desire for change by Nigerians will be a sufficient alibi for a new lease of life. But alas, we are wrong.
“It is important that Nigerians are aware, and rightly so, that these set of lawmakers have one main ambition – to surpass those before them in their ignoble acts. What more facts do we need than an unresolved forgery case, refusal to even contemplate their obscene allowances, contempt for accountability and openness resulting in the shelving of recommendations to discuss their pay and making it public and their trademark indifference to public opinion that Nigeria simply cannot afford not to get it right, this time around?
He recalled many of the unresolved probes and attendant scandals that dogged the National Assembly of the past, admonishing Nigerians that: “We must take a stand for our future; we must take a stand for the future of our children. It’s time to demand a stop to the insensitiveness of the National Assembly as an institution, its time these lawmakers understood that enough is enough.”