By DAN GUMM
THE statement credited to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her maiden press conference that “members of the National Assembly act on proposals sent to them by the executive arbitrarily without considering the implications most of the time,” has been described as hasty, lacking in depth and capable of creating dissension between both arms of the government.
Mr. Daniel Reyenieju, representing Warri Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, expressed the view, weekend, while speaking to Vanguard at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
The lawmaker said: “It appears that the Finance Minister conceptualises the parliament in a democratic set up such as ours as a mere rubber-stamping institution that must of necessity do the bidding of the executive.
“It is clear that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala expects members of the National Assembly to be kowtowing to the ministers representing the states from which individual lawmaker comes from.
“To what extent can a minister, who of necessity is a member of the executive, claim in-depth knowledge of the state he or she represents? Such individual may not have lived in such state or sparingly visit such state and thus cannot appreciate the needs of the people therein.”
“Since a minister does not campaign for votes to occupy her/his position, such minister remains de-linked from people that are outside his/her communities of origin.”
“For example, the Warri Federal Constituency, which I represent, is entirely bordered by the Atlantic coast to the South. Almost all the Itsekiri communities along the coast, particularly those at the estuaries of both the Escravos and Benin rivers, are almost being wiped off due to Ocean surge.
“All attempts for the past four years to get members of the executive to include shore protection for these Itsekiri communities have failed since there is not a single Itsekiri person in the executive, or occupying any position in the presidency. What they do is to concentrate on their areas in terms of allocation of projects. ”