Conference Of Speakers To Pursue Debt Forgiveness For Africa – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP)on Tuesday agreed to pursue debt forgiveness for the continent from creditor-nations.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this in Abuja while briefing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day conference which held in the nation’s capital.

“We talked about debt cancellation and debt forgiveness. We felt parliament should be involved and speak as one voice and speak to our creditors and make a case as to why we needed debt forgiveness,” he said.

READ ALSO: No Extension Of Timeline For Party Primaries – INEC

“We also agreed that in doing so, we are going to push for a tripartite agreement between the creditors, the executive other governments and the legislators, reason being that even if your debt is forgiven and funds are freed up to be diverted in other areas like health, education, your creditors will need to assured that the institution that is responsible for appropriation is involved and that is the case we are making.

“CoSAP as an institution has made commitments, even signed commitments within ourselves and ready to commit to the creditors that we would follow the money.”

The session was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Participants at the session, backing Gbajabiamila’s position, spoke on the need for parliaments to step up their oversight duties in tracking how the Executive spent the loans taken on behalf of countries, which ended as debt burdens or traps.

Some argued that in countries that secured debt reliefs, the parliaments must interrogate how the money returned to them was spent.

They pointed out that the creditor-nations, in considering the appeals for debt cancellation or relief, would look at several factors, including accounting for how the loans were utilised and the compliance of countries to agreements signed at the inception of the loan requests.

Drama As Gbajabiamila Asks Emefiele’s Rep To Exit Meeting With Aviation Stakeholders

A photo combination of Speaker of the House of Representatives and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
A photo combination of Speaker of the House of Representatives and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday asked a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Godwin Emeliefe, to leave a meeting with aviation stakeholders.

Gbajabiamila said it was incumbent on the Emefiele himself to be present at the meeting as the aviation issue was a matter of national importance.

He added that the importance and sensitivity of the meeting required the presence of the CBN governor.

READ ALSO: Court Refuses Emefiele’s Request To Restrain INEC, AGF Over Presidential Ambition

Emefiele, who eventually walked into the meeting about 15 minutes later, gave reasons why he had to be represented before his eventual arrival.

In his remarks, Speaker Gbajabiamila said the nation was at a crucial moment as the shutdown by the airline operators amounts to a potential shutting down of the country.

“We cannot sit here and watch this happen,” he said.

“That is why the presence of the CBN governor is very important because his role is very critical to the resolution of this issue.”

Airline operators in the country had threatened to shutdown services on Monday over the high cost of aviation fuel.

Although the threat was called off on Sunday, Monday’s meeting was focused on finding a permanent solution to the issues raised by the aviation stakeholders.

Gbajabiamila Seeks UK Parliament’s Collaboration On Insecurity, Others

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, shakes hands with Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in Westminster on April 26, 2022. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has sought the support of the United Kingdom’s Parliament in the area of insecurity, parliamentary diplomacy, as well as political and economic prosperity in Nigeria.

He believes Nigeria remains a key player in global affairs and that its Parliament plays an important role in addressing issues through legislation.

Gbajabiamila spoke during a visit to the Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, in Westminster on Tuesday, saying the Nigerian House had used parliamentary diplomacy at different times and it worked.

“We intend to work in close collaboration with your Parliament,” Gbajabiamila was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives Adesina In Abuja, Harps On Food Security

Stressing that Nigeria and the UK have “a rich history between them,” he emphasised the need for the parliament to come in whenever there is a government-to-government arrangement.

The speaker said the House had on different occasions intervened on the issue of xenophobia in South Africa, the dispute involving Nigerian traders in Ghana, and ensured the evacuation of Nigerian students from Ukraine recently.

“In a nutshell, it’s a noble idea that we come around to seek your collaboration,” he said. “We know you’ll buy into this and support us for the parliament to take its rightful place.”

Gbajabiamila noted that the issue of security was very important as Nigeria was grappling with insecurity challenges, adding that whatever happened to Nigeria “has a ricochet effect on other countries.”

He also stated that Nigeria’s general elections would come up next year and that the National Assembly did its part by giving the country “a near-perfect electoral law.”

“It’s in our best interest to work together for economic and other reasons,” the speaker said while seeking to know the rationale behind deporting refugees to Rwanda.

He also touched on his initiative, in collaboration with some of other African Speakers, to set up the Conference of Speakers of African Parliament (COSAP), which amongst other things, seeks to address the issue of debt cancellation.

Accompanied by some members of the House, Gbajabiamila said he took the initiative of coming up with the Committee on Legislative Library to have a befitting library for the Nigerian Legislature.

Hoyle, in his remarks, lauded the idea of legislative diplomacy, saying he was also disposed to soft diplomacy which he said parliaments across the world should consider as a different approach.

According to him, Nigeria is a crucial country to have such diplomatic ties with. The Hoyle promised to help where necessary to speak with the officials of the British government as regards some of the issues discussed.

He described the peace and stability of any nation as priceless, stating that the ballot box was the answer to political instability.

“It is very important to support each other,” Hoyle added.

Easter: Gbajabiamila Congratulates Christians, Calls For Unity

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has congratulated Christians on Easter, calling for unity and peace among Nigerians.

He made the call on Sunday via a statement issued by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi, to commemorate the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

Gbajabiamila, who noted the period calls for sober reflection and dedication to nationhood, urged Christians to be their brothers’ keepers at all times.

The Speaker also asked all citizens to support the government in its efforts to tackle the insecurity in the country.

Specifically, he called for concerted efforts to contain insecurity across the country, noting that as a nation, Nigeria is currently facing one of its most daunting challenges.

He stated that in the spirit of Easter, Nigerians should continue to live peacefully with one another, irrespective of any perceived differences.

Reps Meet With Service Chiefs Behind Closed Doors

File photo: Mr Femi Gbajabiamila presides over a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives is holding a closed-door meeting with security chiefs, headed by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Present at the meeting are the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Lucky Irabor; Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo; Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General Department of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi and Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

Others at the meeting include the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Director-General Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu and Director-General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Musa Nuhu are also part of the meeting.

Read Also: Governors To Meet With House Of Assembly Speakers In Abuja

Details later…

Lawan, Gbajabiamila Ask Nigerians To Pray For Security As Ramadan Fast Begins

An official uses a theodolite to perform "rukyah", the sighting of the new moon for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Putrajaya on April 1, 2022. Mohd RASFAN / AFP
A file photo of an official using a theodolite to perform “rukyah”, the sighting of the new moon for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have asked Nigerians to pray for the security of the country.

In separate statements, the lawmakers congratulated Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful on the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan.

“I felicitate all Nigerians, particularly the Muslim Ummah, as we enter the Holy Month of Ramadan,” said Lawan. “Ramadan is the month when Muslims across the world observe one of the five pillars of their faith, share with their neighbours and show love to all people around them.

“It is a period of spiritual reflection, abstinence, sacrifice, and supplications to the Almighty Allah. The holy month of Ramadan thus provides the faithful the opportunity to commune with Allah and live as His Prophets enjoin us to do as we seek His blessings and mercies … For our Muslim compatriots, let us use the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for Nigeria, knowing that Allah answers the prayers of the faithful.”

READ ALSO: Ramadan Fast Starts On Saturday In Nigeria, Says Sultan

For the Senate President, the essence of the period is even more significant for the people as they seek solutions and divine guidance out of the challenges facing the country.

He gave the assurance that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ameliorate the situation, stressing that much more has to be done.

Lawan said the National Assembly, on its part, would not relent in its efforts at promoting good governance for the security, peace, and progress of Nigeria.

While also rejoicing with the Muslims on the commencement of this year’s Ramadan fasting, Gbajabiamila said the holy month comes with a lot of blessings and urged the faithful to use the period to pray for peace and unity in the country.

He believes Ramadan fasting also entails a lot of sacrifices, including total abstinence from food and other indulgences, and called on Muslims to observe the fast in accordance with Islamic injunctions.

The speaker wished the Muslims a successful month of Ramadan while he stressed the need to unite against the insecurity and other challenges in the country.

It’s Worrisome To Have 10.5 Million Out-Of-School Children In Nigeria – Gbajabiamila

Gbajabiamila Gives Akpabio 48 Hours To Publish Names Of Lawmakers Awarded Contracts By NDDC
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described as worrisome reports that about 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria.

He stated this during the flag-off of the enrolment of 500 children in schools, as well as a free medical outreach to 10,000 residents in Zamfara State.

Read Also: Court Orders AGF To Remove Section 84(12) From Electoral Act

The Speaker who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Garba Rikiji, described as unacceptable the alarming rate of out-of-school children in the country.

He said it is a time bomb that leaders and concerned citizens must join hands together to address before it explodes.

UPDATED: Reps Fail To Sit As Speaker Angrily Adjourns Plenary

 

Lawmakers at the House of Representatives failed to sit on Thursday after Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, angrily adjourned plenary till next week.

The Speaker who arrived at the Chamber around 11.20 a.m., furiously adjourned plenary over the absence of order paper.

He was also unhappy with the Clerk of the House for not being in his seat when he arrived. The Chamber was scanty at the time the Speaker got in with few members seated.

READ ALSO: NSITF Recruitment: Reps To Probe Labour Ministry Over Federal Character Breach

“I am going to hold you (the clerk) responsible, I am going to hold whoever is responsible. This House sits at 11.00 am, everybody knows that. This is 11:20 am, when I came in, there was nobody on this row. You were not here, none of your deputies were here. The order paper is not ready, we cannot function as a House.

“What kind of thing is that, that we are now forced to adjourn plenary. Everybody should see me in my office, House adjourned till Tuesday,” Gbajabiamila said angrily as adjourned plenary till next week.

The speaker arrived at the chamber at about 11.20 am, which for many is slightly early than the usual commencement time for plenary, even though plenary is scheduled to commence at 11:00 a.m.

The order paper is a program schedule that dictates the proceedings of the plenary.

As part of their early deliberations, members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday moved to investigate the alleged unfair recruitment process into the National Social Investment Trust Fund (NSITF) by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

In a motion by Representative Ismail Tijani, he alleged undue favouritism for persons from one particular part of the country into the agency.

According to the lawmaker, the House is worried that the Minister’s alleged reign of impunity across the ministries and agencies under his supervision has continued unabated despite engagements and interventions by the National assembly.

 

See the video from the last plenary below…

School Cert Requirement For Political Office Not Enough, Says Gbajabiamila 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, delivered a paper at tje 52nd Convocation of the University of Lagos on January 17, 2022.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, delivered a paper at tje 52nd Convocation of the University of Lagos on January 17, 2022.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila believes the current constitutional provision where the educational qualification for elective offices is pegged at secondary school certificate should be increased.

The Speaker made the comment while delivering a paper titled ‘Building Back Better: Creating A New Framework For Tertiary Education In Nigeria In The 21st Century’ at the 52nd Convocation of the University of Lagos on Monday.

“I also sincerely believe that the National Assembly needs to look into section 131 (d) of the 1999 constitution with a view to increasing the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future Presidents of Nigeria and other top offices including the National Assembly as against the current minimum requirement of a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent,” Gbajabiamila said.

READ ALSO: Salihu Lukman Resigns As DG APC Governors Forum

“As we have reduced the age for eligibility to contest those offices so also, we should increase the minimum educational requirement. It will be another step in reforming our electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country.”

The Speaker said he is of the opinion that the foundations of Nigeria’s educational system are still rooted in a different age.

According to the Speaker, the educational system the nation currently runs is designed to meet the social, economic and labour demands of a different societal and economic model which does not serve the present need.

Gbajabiamila bemoaned a situation where despite the change around the globe, Nigeria has not done enough in government, the academia, and society to adjust its education and skills acquisition system to meet these new realities.

The Speaker, who is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, said: “When we consider the problems of education infrastructure, access to educational opportunities, quality of instruction, the welfare of teachers, lecturers and professors, we will do well to remember that all of these factors matter only to the extent that they are necessary to build institutions that produce citizens who can advance the cause of Nigeria.

“Our world has changed. The old certainties from which we derived assurance and built our expectations no longer exist. The value of the extractive industries that have powered our economy has deteriorated. It continues to do so rapidly, as technological advances lead us toward a future where coal, crude and gas are replaced by renewable alternatives of solar, wind and water.

“For Nigerian citizens to thrive in this new world, participate fully and productively in the new global economy and benefit from rather than be consumed by the technological advancements that are changing our world, tertiary education in Nigeria must be prepared to embrace reinvention and adapt to disruption.

“In a digital age, where socioeconomic participation is based on intellectual ability and access to information, a purposeful and well-rounded education is a fundamental human right because the individual’s ability to participate fully in society depends almost entirely on the quality of education available to them.

“Unfortunately, it is still the case that the foundations of our educational system are rooted in a different age and designed to meet the social, economic and labour demands of a different societal and economic model. As the world has changed, we have not done enough in government, academia, and society to adjust our education and skills acquisition system to meet these new realities.”
Gbajabiamila stated that a good education produces citizens invested in the progress and wellbeing of their society with the wherewithal to take positive action to make those societies better.

“When we think about education policy, when we consider laws and implement directives relating to education in our country, particularly tertiary education, our highest objective must be to deliver an education system capable of producing this archetype of an individual”, he added.

Speaking further on the education sector, Gbajabiamila expressed optimism that it could be put back on the right track, as he offered some solutions to some of the problems.

He said: “What does this moment require of us? It requires first that we be honest about the scale of the challenges we face. Honesty about the scale of the challenges we face and the realities of our present circumstances free us to engage in the sort of radical thinking and innovation that would have been considered taboo just a few years ago.

“How do we move on from our present circumstances? Most national policy discussions of higher education focus on questions of structure and financing, understandably so because the problems in this regard are many and unresolved. However, there are essential issues of curriculum, teaching methods, assessment and fairness that should engage our minds too and be part of any reform propositions.

“Wholesale reviews of our curricula and teaching methods to situate our practices in the context of global labour needs is the bare minimum. This does not take away from the need to institute a programme of aggressive and sustained investment in the physical infrastructure of classrooms and lecture halls and technology hardware and software to facilitate information exchange and innovation.”

The Speaker was delighted that despite the disruption of the educational system in the country and elsewhere occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, UniLag was the first public tertiary institution to adopt virtual learning.

“This great institution conducted lectures, examinations and even the post-UTME virtually. Free data was also made available to Students. Hence ICT rescued the academic calendar of our institution. These are the sort of radical thinking and innovation needed in our citadels of learning”.

He advocated close collaboration between educational institutions and the organized private sector to have a better system.

“Tertiary institutions in Nigeria need to develop a new understanding of the changing nature of work and the future of employment and allow this new understanding to inform the nature of instruction and the substance of the education they provide. Collaboration between our higher institutions and the organised private sector is vital in this regard so that we can jointly rise to the demands of the moment.

“Across the world, a symbiotic twinning of academia with the private sector has allowed for the creation of knowledge hubs that drive innovation and economic advancement. California’s Stanford University has become both the training ground for Silicon Valley’s elite and the beneficiary of enormous contributions in manpower, financial resources, and networking opportunities that have turned the institution into a powerhouse for the ages.

“I have often wondered why similar arrangements have not been recreated in our environment. We can all easily agree that many universities in the country, private and public, would benefit significantly from such close contact with private sector energy, practice, and resources. What then mitigates against this level of close collaboration? Is it the existing laws? Is it reluctance on the universities’ part or the organised private sector itself? These are some of the questions we must ask and answer as we seek to reposition tertiary education in Nigeria to meet the demands of a changing world”, he added.

The lawmaker equally called for the strengthening of the industrial training experience for students and called on tertiary institutions to make practical training a part of undergraduate studies.

The Speaker explained that, “One area where we already have the basic framework for collaboration is the Industrial Attachment programmes. What we now need to do is to identify ways to improve on this. Tertiary institutions of learning should identify and partner with private sector organizations to provide practical experiences for students as part of their academic training throughout their course.

“This would significantly improve the current practice of requiring students to undergo this portion of their training in organizations that do not allow them to get the full benefit of the experience.

“Advancing our tertiary institutions into the 21st century demands that we do whatever is required in terms of changes to legislation, regulation, and/or policy to achieve this sort of closer synergy between the private sector and our educational and training institutions.

For the sake of our nation’s future, we cannot leave the ideals of ‘Building Back Better’ for the government alone to pursue.

“Even as we look outward, we must consider the possibilities for extensive and multi-dimensional collaboration within academia. Keeping in mind that the objective is to improve productivity, tertiary institutions need to engage with the possibility of integrating university courses across departments and disciplines, merging law with economics and technology, medicine with engineering and accounting, media with governance and administration and other such partnerships.

“We must also consider statutory and operational reforms to encourage closer collaboration between tertiary institutions, both public and private. Today, our tertiary institutions exist and operate primarily in independent silos. Alternative to this is an approach wherein tertiary institutions work as part of an interdependent network to establish a collaborative research and development ecosystem, training, and resource sharing. Multi-dimensional collaborations will increasingly be the key to building modern tertiary institutions in Nigeria, capable of holding their own in the modern education system.

“And then, there is the issue of how we finance tertiary education in Nigeria. This is an area of much controversy, which is understandable in a country such as ours. However, two things remain true. The first is that building the kind of institutions we need and desire will require significant investments. Secondly, the current approach is neither adequate nor sustainable as it heavily depends on subventions from the federal and state governments.

“Therefore, we must agree to use the instruments of policy and legislation to advance a new framework for funding tertiary education in our country. Ideally, this new system should provide funding for all students who qualify so that the burden of school fees and living expenses can be deferred and paid over a period. It must also ensure that the institutions themselves get paid for their services so that resources are available to operate effectively.”

Gbajabiamila added that the House of Representatives has already commenced work on a legislative framework for funding tertiary education through student loans.

“We will continue in that effort until we successfully design a system that suitably addresses our concerns and meets our needs. As a politician, one of the most frequent requests I receive is for funding for tertiary education of otherwise bright students who cannot further their education due to lack of funds. One way this can be addressed is through a well-structured student loan policy as is seen in many countries of the world,” he said.

The Speaker said the House is currently considering a draft legislation, the Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill, which he personally sponsored and which sets out to provide interest-free loans to students.

Giving details, Gbajabiamila said “The repayment of these loans shall commence two years after completion of the National Youth Service. However, we must all understand that public support for any such system will depend significantly on the tertiary institutions themselves.

“The 9th House of Representatives has education as one of its key areas of focus in its legislative agenda, which we term ‘Our Contract with Nigerians.’ We have, for instance, taken active steps to upgrade many of our public institutions, elevating some colleges of education to universities of education, amongst others. This has increased the employability and viability of research work in the country.

“Recently, the House intervened in the faceoff between the Federal Government and the academic staff Union of universities to avert a strike action. The intervention also led to the recent approval of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for the payment of lecturers in Nigerian universities.

“On my part, I have always been passionate about education and believe no child must be left behind. Nothing beats education. As a representative, I have focused on ways I can sow seeds that can impact the future of society through education.

“From providing educational grants for selected students from my Surulere 1 federal constituency studying in public tertiary institutions across the country including the University of Lagos, to attracting infrastructural projects to tertiary institutions in Lagos state including this same university Such projects include the provision of free Wi-Fi in six public tertiary institutions in Lagos State as I believe the key to education in the 21st century is quick access to information.

“I have also attracted the construction of a dedicated International students hostel here in this university as part of improving educational infrastructure in the 21st century because the students learning environment is just as important as what he or she learns.”

Speaker Gbajabiamila also proposed that higher institutions of learning should adopt across the board a system of zero tolerance for individuals, students or staff who are credibly accused of harassment, intimidation, and any infringements of individual autonomy.

“Let it be the role of independent panels, made up of persons of integrity and unquestionable authority, to evaluate the credibility of complaints, taking only relevant variables into consideration and, after that proposing a course of action to which the university must be bound. Our universities must be places of learning and innovation where people feel safe and where injustice in all its forms has no place”, he added.

Earlier, the Speaker was taken around the convocation exhibition where he examined innovations and products of research by staff and students of the university.

Gbajabiamila Mourns Former Oyo Governor Alao-Akala

Femi Gbajabiamila (File Photo)

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed sadness over the death of a former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the former governor was a strong pillar in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He recalled the good leadership Otunba Alao-Akala provided in Oyo State when he served as governor, saying that he made his mark in the state.

As a chieftain of the APC, Gbajabiamila said Alao-Akala was at the forefront of promoting progressive politics.

Gbajabiamila sent his condolences to the Alao-Akala family, the people and the Government of Oyo State over the loss.

He prayed to God to grant his soul eternal rest.

SERAP Sues NASS Leadership ‘Over Failure To Probe Missing N4.1bn Funds’

A photo combination of SERAP logo and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over “their failure to probe, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies fresh allegations that N4.1bn of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated or stolen.”

The suit followed the publication of the annual audited report for 2016 in which the Auditor-General of the Federation raised concerns about alleged diversion and misappropriation of public funds and sought the recovery of any missing funds.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Probe Alleged Misuse Of Security Votes By Govs, SERAP Tells Buhari

In the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Kehinde Oyewumi, the group is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr. Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila to perform their constitutional oversight functions to promptly probe the allegations that fresh N4.1bn budgeted for the National Assembly may be missing.”

“The National Assembly has legal and constitutional duties to prevent and combat corruption, as well as promote transparency and accountability in the management of public resources,” the organisation argued in the suit.

“The National Assembly can only effectively perform its anti-corruption role if it can demonstrate exemplary leadership to probe the allegations of corruption and mismanagement involving the legislative body.

“Transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth are essential for promoting development, people’s welfare and well-being, and their access to basic public services, as well as good governance and the rule of law.

“The failure of the National Assembly to promptly and thoroughly investigate, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies the allegations documented in the annual audited report for 2016 is a fundamental breach of the oversight and public interest duties imposed on the legislative body.

“The National Assembly has no legally justifiable reason to refuse to investigate the allegations documented by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Electoral Act: Why Reps Will Address President’s Decline Of Bill Next Year – Gbajabiamila

Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila presides over a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives will adequately address the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2021, in January next year.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated this in a speech to the lawmakers on Tuesday in Abuja to mark the adjournment of the House for the Christmas and New Year break.

“As it is now, that bill has not received presidential assent, and it falls to parliament to decide the best way forward,” he told his colleagues. “When we return in the new year, we will resume our efforts to reform the electoral system in our country; and we will do it together.

“That is what the Nigerian people expect of us, and we will do our duty for God and country. As long as this one breathes, it will survive. When we return, we will address it.”

READ ALSO: Lawmakers Deliberate Next Steps Over Buhari’s Refusal To Sign Electoral Bill

President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political actors as reasons.

Gbajabiamila explained that the time was short to address the sensitive issue at hand in haste because members were set to proceed on break, and they must pass other important bills such as the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill before doing so.

He stated that the new bill introduced several innovations, besides direct primaries, to help advance the country’s democracy.

Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila gives a speech during a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The speaker, who commended the lawmakers for the efforts they made to ensure the passage of the bill, reminded them of the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House, which he said must be followed through to its conclusion.

“In the past, election years have witnessed a decline in governance activities as political pursuits cloud the calendar. That will not be the case this time around. As you are aware, we have a legislative agenda in this 9th House of Representatives, which we tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians,” he said.

“I expect that we will do everything within our power to keep the commitments we made in that document so that when we appear before our various constituencies, we can stand tall in the knowledge that despite challenges and difficulties, we did what we promised to do and given a chance again, will do even more.”