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December 16, 2023

Why it’s inappropriate to describe NASS as ‘rubber stamp’ – Fashola

Nigerian housing policy should focus on rent-to-own scheme - Fashola

Fashola

Former minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola has justified why it is inappropriate to describe the National Assembly as a rubber stamp.

Fashola spoke on Friday during his presentation at the annual lecture organised by the Honorary Members’ Forum (HMF) of the Nigeria Air Force Officers’ Mess (NAFOM), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to him, the reason political parties vie to have the majority number of lawmakers is “to get their agenda through” as seamlessly as possible.

The former Lagos governor said political parties make promises during campaigns, and when they are elected into office, they are expected to work towards achieving them.

Fashola said the rubber stamp description that is usually associated with the national assembly is “meant to ridicule them”.

He said, “Anytime we see the head of the executive and the head of the legislature, they say is a rubber stamp.

“The question I always ask is, when contesting for national assembly or house of assembly, which party goes there to have a minority figure? Do we not go there to have the largest number of people? What is that for if not to drive our agenda?

“That is the purpose of the majority. But it must be a lawful agenda. It must be consistent with the laws of Nigeria.

“In the last election, almost all the presidential candidates said they were going to remove fuel subsidies.

“So if the president now goes to the national assembly to say, ‘give me the power to remove this,’ and they now approve it, does it mean they are rubber-stamped? They are perpetuating and implementing the agenda that we voted for. That is why they are the majority.

“Legislatures are not elected to go and fight. They are for three things: to make laws, provide representation, and then provide oversight. We once had an unfortunate incident where the legislature held the executive budget for seven months. Is that beneficial to you?

“A government that does not have an appropriation for seven months and the one that got appropriation done in a few weeks, which is better?

“I think rubber stamp is an improper appellation if it is meant to ridicule them because the reason why parties fight for a majority is to get their agenda through.”