The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has promised that the 8th House will ensure adequate oversight of the executive arm to enhance government performance.
Mr. Dogara gave the assurance, Tuesday, while presenting a draft legislative agenda to the House which resumed on Tuesday following a two-week break.
The agenda, Mr. Dogara said, had been his set objectives while campaigning to be Speaker. He urged members to adopt the agenda as legislative actions required for reformation aimed at overall socio-economic and political development in Nigeria.
Lamenting ineffective oversight of the Executive, he said, “Legislative and Executive programmes, policies and laws made by the National Assembly are often not efficiently or effectively implemented by the executive branch.
“Further legislative intervention, therefore, becomes necessary in order to implement laws passed by the National Assembly and detect and correct problems when they arise.
“Consequently, oversight of executive programmes and activities has become very critical to effective performance of the Executive and good governance in Nigeria.
“The House Oversight activities shall leverage on the constitutionally mandated power of investigation under Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution to expose corruption, inefficiency and waste in the conduct of government business. Further powers as contained in the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act will be effectively utilized,” said Mr. Dogara.
He added that the House would develop a mechanism to integrate civil society organisations and the media in carrying out its oversight functions, without abusing its powers.
“The 8th House has the necessary political will and capacity to continue with vigorous oversight of the executive branch as this promotes accountability and reduces incompetence, misuse of government funds and abuse of power. Where necessary, the House shall institute an appropriate system to involve CSOs, citizen monitoring groups, and the media in oversight and monitoring and evaluation of projects.
“In carrying out its oversight and investigative hearing activities, the House shall ensure that its powers are not misused or abused by either Members or Committees.
“To this end, the 8th House shall strengthen its processes, Rules and internal structures to support its Oversight and Investigating Hearing activities and ensure full access to all government financial information. It shall also develop mechanisms to sanction those who do not cooperate with its oversight or investigative activities or who refuse to implement legislative wishes or Resolutions,” he said.
He urged collaboration with the Senate, the upper legislative arm of Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, to deliver legislations that will tackle the problems plaguing Nigeria.
“The House of Representatives will collaborate with its counterpart in the Senate and other arms of government to legislate for the common good of the Nigerian people. Our legislative activities will cover critical spheres of life in Nigeria. The House will legislate to achieve reforms in Nigeria’s national economy and development, tackle poverty, unemployment, confront the scourge of corruption, terrorism and security challenges in the country.
“The House will also give priority to green legislations to address environmental challenges such as desertification, erosion and pollution. The 8th House of Representatives will also work assiduously to improve the governance process in Nigeria by legislating to cut the cost of running government, reduce wastage and tackle National Revenue leakages,” he said.
The debate of the draft agenda by the members was moved to tomorrow, when it is expected that the Speaker’s proposal will be adopted.
Meanwhile, contrary to expectations, the principal officers of the House did not emerge thereby stalling the process of selecting members of the various committees of the House. Principal Officers are members of the Selection Committee.
However, Mr. Dogara announced three ad hoc committees, namely House Media Committee chaired by Mohammed Zorro; Standing Orders Review Committee, chaired by Keja Immanuel; and Members’ Code of Conduct Review Committee Chaired by Aminu Sheu-Shagari.