Abbas, Kalu emphasize inclusive legislature at open legislative week

Leah TwakiJuly 4, 20246 min

At the Legislative Open Week, Speaker Abbas, Deputy Speaker Kalu advanced how the 10th House has been inclusive and participatory

Legislative Open Week: Abbas, Kalu emphasize inclusive legislature

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, said the House under his leadership has ensured inclusivity and participatory legislature in its first year.

The Speaker, while recognizing the significant challenges facing the House due to the socioeconomic hardships confronting Nigerians, stated that the House introduced a total of 1,351 bills in its first year, adding that it is the highest number for any first session since 1999. He said 89 of these bills were passed.

Abbas said this after presenting the one-year scorecard of the 10th House of Representatives during the Legislative Open Week which held on July 3, 2024 at the National Assembly Complex i Abuja. 

In his opening remarks, Speaker Abbas emphasized the importance of an open parliament in fostering a thriving democracy. “By ensuring transparency, openness, and accessibility, we can build trust between the legislature and the citizens we serve,” he stated

He described the House Legislative Open Week as a unique opportunity to engage directly with the public, enhancing accountability and mutual respect. He also highlighted the House’s achievements and its commitment to transparency, openness, and accountability

He said: “The 10th House of Representatives has been committed to running an open House that actively incorporates citizens’ input in lawmaking and oversight processes. We have made concerted efforts to listen to the voices of our constituents and reflect their aspirations in our legislative activities.

“Through town hall meetings, public hearings, and stakeholder engagements, we have ensured that the legislative process remains inclusive and participatory. This approach not only enhances the quality of our laws but also ensures that our decisions are rooted in the genuine needs and desires of the Nigerian people. No chamber of the National Assembly has undertaken such an initiative.

“By doing so, we demonstrate our commitment to transparency and readiness to be held accountable by the people we serve. Presenting our scorecard publicly allows us to showcase our achievements, acknowledge our challenges, and highlight our plans for the future. It reinforces the idea that the parliament is not just a body that makes laws but an institution that is responsible to its constituents for its actions and performance.

“This performance assessment was undertaken to evaluate how effectively the 10th House of Representatives has implemented its legislative agenda within its first session. The assessment serves several key purposes: (i) to gauge the level of preparedness and institutional capacity of the 10th House to deliver on its mandate amid challenging national circumstances, (ii) to assess the maturity of our democracy, which is largely dependent on the efficiency of the legislative arm of government, and (iii) to document the assessment report as a valuable resource in the growing literature of legislative activism.”

The scorecard also detailed the oversight activities conducted, including committees’ visits to 107 ministries, departments, agencies, and projects nationwide to ensure effective and efficient implementation of government programmes. The House scorecard further stated that committees held a total of 502 meetings in the first session of the 10th House and out of the 240 public petitions currently under investigation, a total of 40 cases have been closed and 10 others laid before the House for further consideration.

Abbas further highlighted some key bills in the first session of the 10th House to include; Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Federal Audit Service Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Administration of Criminal Justice Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2023, Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill, 2023,Niger Delta Development Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 among others.

Acknowledging the cordial relationship between the legislative and the executive, he said: “The various legislative activities highlighted in our scorecard were made possible by the harmonious relationship between the 10th House of Representatives and the other arms of government in the first year of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. This should be appreciated against the backdrop of the familiar friction associated with the legislative and executive arms in the earlier part of the democratization process”

The Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC Abia) in his remarks, harped on importance of an open legislature, saying it will enable the lawmakers to prioritize legislative actions that will help to meet the needs of Nigerians. 

“An open legislature is not just about engagement, it is about data-driven decision-making. We, as your representatives, have a responsibility to understand the nation’s most immediate needs and address them accordingly. This requires a meticulous approach, utilizing data and prioritizing models that reflect the pulse of our nation.

“Planning without facts has historically led developing nations like ours down a path of retrogression. Openness and data-driven decision-making will ensure our legislative actions are tailored to the evolving needs of the people we serve. This open week is a testament to our commitment to transparency and public engagement”.

The Deputy Speaker stressed the importance of partnering with Civil Society Organization to deepen engagement with Nigerians. He said:  “Thus, we must continue to work with civil society organizations like Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), OrderPaper, YIAGA Africa, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) to deepen engagement with all Nigerians, including those with disabilities.”

 

Featured image credit : @Speaker_Abbas

Leah Twaki

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