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New National Assembly: Not business as usual

By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
It’s not likely to be business as usual when the new National Assembly is inaugurated, next month. The current national assembly is notorious for its jumbo -pay controversy.

“This time around,” Mr.Solomon Ewuga, former minister and now CPC Senator-elect from North, told Saturday Vanguard, “ There would be effective representation.

House of Representatives in session

The incoming national assembly would be committed to making efficacious laws that would promote corporate governance. And there would be Fiscal Discipline because definitely there would be more resources out of the budget money and budgets would be executed. There would no longer be un-executed budgets”

Senator-elect from Ekiti North Ayodeji Adetunbi is confident of change.

“I am hoping for change and that would be change in the positive direction. The agenda is a total focus on legislation

that would bring about good governance and development to the people. The new national assembly would make sure the institutions of state address the needs of the ordinary people.

Any government that does not meet the needs of the people is not a government and we hope through legislation to have a government that is representative of the people and  a government that speaks for the people as well as be their advocate. The incoming national assembly should make sure that the common-wealth of the people is used for the peoples’ interest.”

Hon. Abike Dabiri (ACN), a second term member of the House of Representatives from Ikorodu thinks the focus now should be to get back the confidence of Nigerians in legislation.

“The first thing for the incoming National Assembly is to think of how to render service to Nigerians. Many Nigerians have lost confidence in the system. So, we should focus on building the confidence of Nigerians in government. We should be focussed to improve the image of the national assembly by doing our job as expected and being more transparent and to do that, we must depart from the past. We need to move from the basement to the roof top.”

Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay in his contribution advises the legislators to forget about treasury looting like the last set of legislators did and focus on nation-building.

Professor Sagay  last year  had alleged that the National Assembly members in Abuja, Nigeria, earn far more than the United States President, Barack Obama, alleging  that a Nigerian Senator, in 2009 earned N240 million in salaries and allowances annually while his House of Representatives counterpart earned N203.8 million annually.

A  senator, he had alleged  earned about $1.7 million and a member of the House of Representatives earned $1.45 million per annum which was more than what  the US President, Obama, who earns $400, 000 per annum and British Prime Minister, 190, 000 pounds earns.

Sagay had also lamented  that a legislator in Nigeria also earns more than his counterpart in the US and the United Kingdom, saying an American senator earns $174,000 and a U.K. Parliamentarian earns about $64, 000 per annum.

The Senate President  reportedly was  earning N250 million quarterly or N83.33 million per month, while his deputy earned  N50 million per month.  The Senate has allocated N1.02 billion as quarterly allowance to its 10 principal officers, known collectively as Senate leadership.

“ This new national assembly should not loot the treasury like the last set did. They should do away with self-service and stop working for their pockets. They should forget about consuming 25% of the annual budget. Then , they should amend the constitution to reflect true federalism so that each state should manage its own resources rather than going to the federal government to beg for 20%.

“States should become autonomous of the federal government and manage their resources, contributing some percentages to the centre. Federal Government has no resources of its own. Owners of resources should control it. By now, all states should be generating their own electricity and be supplying same to its citizens rather than seeking and obtaining permission first from the federal government to do it. The FG should generate its own electricity.

States should have their own police, conduct their own census and pay their own minimum wages. And I urge the new incoming national assembly to legislate to this effect rather than thinking of how to make more money for themselves.”

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