Convener of the Most Valuable Parliamentarian (MVP) Hall of Fame, Oke Epia, pens a reflective piece on the initiative; answers burning question about the possibility of members of Nigeria’s Parliament being found worthy of reward for performance.
Politicians are generally doubted and, many times, distrusted. Parliamentarians are worse off by a whim. So, can anything good come out of Nazareth?
The above question is, therefore, a default reaction that would greet a celebration of outstanding performance by Members of Parliament (MPs) raises, especially in a democracy like Nigeria’s. However, does this mean there are no men and women of honour are in the hallowed chambers?
I have personally been very critical of the legislature in Nigeria, and given the work OrderPaper does around legislative accountability, it is hard to play the devil’s advocate. Despite this, objectivity demands that a good performance should at least be acknowledged. This thinking informed our conceptualisation of the Most Valuable Parliamentarian (MVP) Hall of Fame as a performance reward framework to inspire excellence-driven and public-spirited service delivery by members of the National Assembly.
It is directly linked to, and represents a culmination of the annual performance appraisals undertaken by the very hardworking OrderPaper team in the last three years plus. So, on the night of Sunday, May 21, 2023, we unveiled five legislators as inductees into the first-ever MVP Hall of Fame. Yes, only five (5) out of the four hundred and sixty-nine (469) members of Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly were found worthy by wholly objective criteria hinged on performance data on the core law-making function of legislators.
It is a clear case of “many are called, but few are chosen!” These five truly distinguished legislators (three from the Senate and two from the House of Representatives) were selected at the end of a three-year rigorous and comprehensive process of performance evaluation supervised by a panel of experts drawn from the academia, parliamentary think-tanks, civil society, the media and a pool of ex-parliamentarians. From an initial fifty-five (55) nominees, the eventual finalists were drawn from a pruned list of 25 semi-finalists which included those in frontline positions in the race for leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
These five legislators who wrote their names in gold in the annals of Nigeria’s legislative history by demonstrating vision, industry, diligence, political dexterity and excellence in service delivery as far as law-making is concerned. These five shining stars showed that the Value, Impact and Progression (VIP) of Bills proposed and processed are defining metrics of parliamentary performance. In doing so, they stood out among the lot in the 9th National Assembly of Nigeria by achieving the enactment of Nigeria’s Climate Change Act among others. Some others include the remarkable enhancements of health service delivery (including compulsory health insurance for citizens) and long overdue but hitherto resisted amendments to critical economic legislations pertaining to central banking, assets recovery and management, safety of depositors’ funds, and global best practice in terms of transparency in company formation and operations.
These five honourees surely deserved the accolades and the setting was as befitting as the recognitions. Serenaded by the twilight of a disappearing day, a carefully chosen crop of Abuja’s genteel political elite showed up for the ‘honours parade.’ In pairs and clusters of trendy attires, they strode through the warm, welcoming red carpets before settling into the exotic hall of the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) Conference Centre, the cosy venue of the induction event.
Tagged, Night of Glamour, it was a spotlight shindig unprecedented in style yet solemn in delivery. The guests had gathered to witness an award ceremony, but what they got was a report card presentation supervised on a stage set on the hill where the ‘best of the best’ was called up one after the other to be rewarded with certificates, trophies and flying confetti.
Memories are made every day, but this was one night of glamourous memories that won’t fade away anytime soon. The MVP Hall of Fame – Class of 2023 – was born in a blaze of glory, and it is one birth that inspires the beginning of the making of the 2027 Class. For the 10th National Assembly, the journey begins. Your chance to secure an invitation starts now. What are you waiting for?