Representative Abdulrazaq Namdas is the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs. In this interview, he laments the lack of coordination by the government on the affairs of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. He also among others dispels insinuations that budget for federal lawmakers are shrouded in secrecy.
By Emman Ovuakporie and Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Many people believe the National Assembly budget is shrouded in secrecy. Why is that so?
But you know that it is not secret, there is no parliamentary job that is done in secrecy. Even at the committee level nothing is done in secret.
In your legislative agenda you promised that there will be openness in the salaries and the allowances of law makers. But it is not so.
It is still being debated. Even the supplementary budget that was submitted to us by Mr President is there on record. What is secret about it? The secret that you want to pay N 413 billion subsidy, is it a secret?
Talking about a secret
Is it a secret that you want to pay Operation Dole Lafiya? Is it a secret that you want to give N5 billion to the IDP’s? What is the secret about it?
I mean the budget of the National Assembly itself.
The National Assembly budget cannot be in secret. We only have the figure about 130billion.
It is an envelope thing but the thing is this, if you know how much is being appropriated, whether it is N10 billion, N50 billion or N200 billion, at least you know the figure that goes to the National Assembly.
So it is no longer a secret. When we are talking about a secret, you don’t even know the figure, but you know the figure (of the National Assembly budget).
Your take home pay is being shrouded in secrecy, we are having conflicting figures.
These are issues of the past for God sake. When I came in here people told us that our gross allowance was about N9 billion. You know and I know, as I speak to you now I have not gotten an official car, whether it is a loan, free or dash, nobody has gotten and I am almost six months in the National Assembly. Go to the State Houses of Assembly and the State Executive Council, the commissioners and members of the State Houses of Assembly are riding good cars bought for them by the state governors. But have you seen one single car owned by a member of the House of Representatives that was bought for him by the National Assembly or by the federal government? Have you seen?
What should we expect from executive-legislature relations?
Very cordial relationship, there is no problem. Have we ever had any issue with the executive? We have never had any issue.
You have never had any issue?
I can tell you that whatever can be done will be done in harmony, there will be real understanding between the executive and the legislature in terms of policy direction. It is a controlled APC government, this is an APC President and in the national assembly both in the Senate and the House of Representatives it is led by the APC.
I want to tell you that the policy of APC will be the driving policy of this government both at the two levels. That, I can guarantee you.
But some law makers have complained that any time they want to move motions to commend the President that such motions were always shot down.
If you look at the supplementary budget that was passed, no single voice was said against. It was 100 percent yes. In a parliament, debates in parliament are normal things. If you say these are the issues of the day, there can be issues, parties will raise their issues, individuals will raise their issues, zones will raise their issues, whatever thing, people lobby. But I want to tell you that Mr. President is always respected and commended. Those who even raised issues against the supplementary budget, did not say they did not support it. What they were saying was that he should be cautious.
Can you say that the House is truly united now?
Yes, very united. We don’t have any issues, we don’t have any problem.