EXCLUSIVE: “Why we’d not step on anyone’s toes” – Rep Umoh

NewsroomSeptember 15, 20236 min

In the face of numerous challenges and distractions in parliament, what becomes of the Legislative Agenda for the Tenth House of Representatives? It is in light of this, that the constitution of a Committee on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Implementation of Legislative Agenda is been perceived as a necessary creation.

Our team at the National Assembly sat with Rep. Patrick Umoh, Chairman of the newly-inaugurated Committee, who spoke about its purpose, bills tracking, funding of the National Assembly and the issue of consciousness among Ad-hoc Committees on matters of public interest, among others. It’s an interesting chat.

 

 

 Umoh

The Tenth National Assembly has been viewed by some political watchers, as well as parliamentary analysts, as one that had some potential for service delivery even before its inauguration. This is a viewpoint that is largely anchored on the large number of newbies coming into the parliament who may be in a hurry to make a statement about their capacity in the federal parliament.

On the other hand, data from Election Observation and Monitoring shows that National Assembly elections are usually characterised by a bandwagon trend such that some other random factors define the choice of the electorate other than the merit of the legislative candidates. Some of whom are hardly even known by the electorate before the elections. Indeed, all sides to the argument are right to argue so, especially where data exists to prove such viewpoints.

 

READ ALSO: “Only 33% of Nigerians voted NASS candidates on individual merit” – OrderPaper

 

With the Tenth Assembly now inaugurated and one hundred and thirty-four (134) House Standing Committees constituted, what is the implementation plan for the legislative agenda of the House of Representatives? How likely is the parliament to retain the agenda as an anchor for its actions and inactions, especially as numerous challenges and distractions pops up in the life of an Assembly? This perhaps might be the over-arching reason for the constitution of a House Committee on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Implementation of Legislative Agenda by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas.

Originally conceived and inaugurated as an Adhoc Committee, it would later be elevated to the status of a Standing Committee chaired by Rep. Patrick Umoh, a first-term lawmaker who represents  Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the Green Chamber.

The Committee will, among other responsibilities, be faced with the onerous task of collaborating with the House Spokesman, issuing periodic performance reports on House Committees, and engaging with stakeholders on the legislative agenda in the interest of the aspirations of Nigerians.

In this chat, its Chairman speaks to OrderPaper about their determination not to step on anyone’s toes but to embrace the approach of building relationships that transcend political lines and affiliations. The legal practitioner also spoke about preventing redundant bills and processes, as well as his motion on the need to havea comprehensive volume of laws for everyone’s use.

 

Here’s an excerpt from our chat with the lawmaker

 

 

DOWNLOAD: Comprehensive Report on the 2023 National and State Assemblies Elections

 

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and your Committee?

I am Patrick Umoh, and I represent Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/ Obot Akara Federal Constituency. I currently serve as the Chairman of the House Committee on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Implementation of Legislative Agenda.

My committee’s jurisdiction involves collaborating closely with the House Spokesman, issuing periodic performance reports on House Committees, and engaging with stakeholders on the legislative agenda, always striving to reflect the aspirations of Nigerians.

This Committee, once an Adhoc, has been elevated to a Standing Committee of the House. We have worked closely with stakeholders to define our jurisdiction to meet the needs of the 10th Assembly. We are very aware of the aspirations of the people, and our focus is to kickstart our national life, particularly the economic aspect, by ensuring that legislation aligns with the people’s needs.

 

READ ALSO: State Assembly Polls: “63% of Nigerians voted based on bandwagon trend”

 

Q: Could you elaborate on your approach and the importance of bipartisan relationships in achieving these goals?

Our approach is crucial. We are here to build relationships that transcend political lines and affiliations. We’re determined not to step on anyone’s toes, as our primary aspiration is to serve the people’s higher calling.

 

“We are very aware of the aspirations of the people, and our focus is to kickstart our national life, particularly the economic aspect, by ensuring that legislation aligns with the people’s need” – Rep Patrick Umoh

 

 

 

READ ALSO: 2023: “Why the quality of NASS Election campaigns worry us” – OrderPaper

 

Q: What’s your view on other Ad-hoc Committees, and do you believe there’s a need to protect public interest in legislative actions?

I firmly believe that there’s a need to raise consciousness among Ad-hoc Committees to safeguard public interest. We must do whatever it takes to serve the people right.

 

Q: Can you share your experiences with bills and motions you have sponsored in this Assembly?

Even in our relatively short time in this Assembly, I’ve already presented a motion and petition. One of the motions I raised was about compiling the laws of this country for easy accessibility.

Bills tracking is also crucial to prevent redundant bills and processes. We should publish a comprehensive volume of laws for everyone’s use, both within and outside the country. It’s disheartening to see lawyers quoting obsolete laws in court due to these challenges. I moved for the House to resolve to have a comprehensive library of laws accessible to all.

 

READ ALSO: Ninth National Assembly Scorecard: Bills Tally of the 109 Senators & 360 Reps

 

Q: Lastly, what are your expectations in the 10th Assembly, and what challenges do you anticipate?

I am optimistic about the 10th Assembly’s potential to achieve much for Nigerians, especially considering the capacity of our Speaker, Rt. Tajudeen Abbas.

Our leadership is impressive, and it’s clear that we won’t follow business as usual. However, funding remains a significant challenge in the National Assembly. Resources are crucial, and I appeal to NGOs to come to our aid so we can deliver the dividends of democracy to our people.

 

By Lizzy Chirkpi, Ojochenemi Onje-James and Ibrahim Gaddafi Tanko

Newsroom

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