Members of the Ninth National Assembly have expressed satisfaction and pleasure at the unveiling of this year’s National Assembly Annual Appraisals by OrderPaper Nigeria.
The lawmakers hailed OrderPaper, over its commitment to bridging the gap between citizens and presented during a Parliamentary Colloquium and Public Presentation of the Independent Performance Appraisals of the Ninth National Assembly (Third Session) held on Wednesday at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, noted that Orderpaper has raised the bar in legislative reporting, adding that over the years, Nigerians have failed to understand lawmaking as the primary responsibility of a legislator.
“The barometer of rating the performance of the lawmaker is not by the number of burials or wedding ceremony he attends, but by the number of Bills he has sponsored that have seen the light of the day,” the member representing Marte/Monguno/Nganzai Federal Constituency of Borno State stressed.
On his part, the lawmaker representing Aninri, Awgu, and Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State, Toby Okechukwu, noted that the reportage would come handy in improving the performance of lawmakers while making suggestions on essential areas to be covered.
“It is critical that you make an assessment on how impactful bills have been, not just the preponderance but also the numbers, and to the extent they add values, you got alot of work to do, those that have been signed and those that have been impactful,” the House Deputy Minority Leader explained.
In his welcome remarks, Executive Director of OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, Oke Epia, thanked the members for their unflinching support for the organisation while reiterating the importance of the performance. Epia highlighted the benefits of the appraisals to include institutionalising legislative accountability,as well as citizen participation in the institution of parliament so that citizens can see what their lawmakers are doing.
He disclosed that the over 1000 bills unveiled will open up the floodgate of discussions around how the legislative documents advance or do not advance the cause of governance in Nigeria. The publisher further admitted that while what OrderPaper was seeking to achieve, isn’t a popular thing, there was a dire need to do it for the sake of the citizenry.
“The performance appraisal scorecard to be unveiled is not an entirely perfect document, but it is necessary because data is necessary in telling the world what members of the National Assembly are doing. The performance appraisal scorecard is not an attempt at a making other lawmakers more important than others but to inform the electorate so that they can make informed choices in electing their Representatives.”“We know that some parliamentarians are not going to find this intiative interesting but other parliamentarians who understand the vision behind this will definitely appreciate it,” he added.
Earlier, Rep. Nkem Uzoma Abonta, representing Ukwa East/Ukwa West Federal Constituency of Abia State urged OrderPaper to turn the spotlight on oversight activities by Standing and Adhoc Committees in the National Assembly, which he believes should feature prominently in the Annual Appraisals.
“OrderPaper is doing a great work without fear or favour, unlike the Committees of the National Assembly, Orderpaper is doing a perfect job oversighting us in the National Assembly. “Put your efforts in informing the electorates on the core mandate of the legislators and please, Committee works should also form the basis of your assessment,” he appealed.
The Abia South Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rep Sam Onuigbo, described the event as a milestone that has the strength to keep them on their toes in the area of representation. Onuigbo, representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Constituency of Abia State, charged Orderpaper to continue with the job, stating that the organisation needs to be encouraged as they strive to deepen democracy, particularly in the legislative arm of government.
For Rep. Johnson Eguakhide Oghuma (APC, Etsako Federal Constituency), OrderPaper has played a critical role in his life. He appreciated the wonderful works undertaken by the organisation and pledged his support.
Other guests at the ceremony including members of civil society, and the press expressed satisfaction with the organisation’s drive to bridge the gap between parliament and citizens.
A presentation on VOTER Tech Tools to assist the electorate in tracking campaign promises of National Assembly candidates seeking a seat at the next Assembly, as well as a State-by-State appraisal of sitting lawmakers and their Third Year Performance Scorecard, was also demonstrated before the audience.
The event is part of the implementation of the VOTER (Validating the Office of The Electorate on Representation) Project undertaken by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project by Palladium.