Readers can please forgive the seemingly unconventional headline to this article. I got really excited going through the statistics of the mid-term score card House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of Right Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. That mid-term milestone was achieved on June 6, 2013. For a recap, the leadership of the
House was elected on June 6, 2011 in an atmosphere that has served as a quick reminder of the goodness of team work and promotion of democratic tenets.
Since that epic event in the National Assembly two years ago, the general consensus of opinion is that the House under Tambuwal has vigorously defended the ideals of democracy, freedom, and the independence of the legislature. In fact, objective writers and pundits have continued to express, in glowing terms, the vibrant leadership permeating the Green Chamber at the moment.
No doubt, promoting democracy and respect for human rights has long served as the underpinning of the House policy, and Speaker Tambuwal has underscored the importance of these principles in words and deeds. While many view his courageous stand on the defence of such globally-acclaimed principles, Tambuwal does not seek primacy for a specific democratic construct; he believes democracy is as diverse as the global community. Of greater concern to the 7th session of the House of Representatives is that advancing democracy has demonstrable dividends.
To both the Speaker and the House, well-governed nations deliver safer, more just, and
more prosperous lives to their citizens. And strong democracies are more likely to secure peace, deter aggression, expand markets, promote development, combat terrorism and crime,
uphold human rights and the rights of workers, avoid humanitarian crises, protect and improve the global environment, and protect human health.
Two years into Tambuwal’s mandate, the House of Representatives has continued to set historical milestones in carrying out its constitutionally-assigned duties of representation, law-making and oversight. The statistics churned out at the celebration to mark the two years has surprised even the lawmakers themselves. With it all, the House of Representatives has set the pace in legislative activities in the country and it’s a bar the members are very anxious to exceed in the years to come.
Such anxiousness, according to Tambuwal, had led to the raising of a total of five hundred and twelve bills (512) all of which have passed first readings; passage of sixty (60) bills into law, and legislative work one hundred and thirty four (134) other bills. The bills have so far undergone second reading and are at Committee stage. Some of the bills passed include NNDC Statutory Appropriation Act; State of the Nation Address Act; Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act; Terrorism (Prevention) Act; Maintenance of Public Infrastructure; Banking; Employment and labour issues; education and agriculture.
Now to the juicier part: for a House mandated to sit in a total of 180 days in a year, it has passed a total of over seven hundred (700) motions raised on the floor and resolutions adopted on matters of concern to the citizens such as national disasters, communal violence, and governmental oppression among others. What this means therefore is that every year, Tambuwal’s House adopts an average of 350 motions in 180 days of legislative business. That is hard work; that is true representation.
The exemplary conduct of Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House in the last two years highlights the end of an era of self-representation, when lawmakers took decisions that were at variance with the wishes and aspirations of their constituents. Here and now, Tambuwal’s House is what a parliament should be: focused, vibrant, independent and one that gauges the pulse of the nation and works in tandem with the needs and desire of the people.
When it comes to the House of Representatives, it is a widely-held opinion that there is no public relations magic better than performance. Tambuwal’s performance has set the bar in governance. His courage and equanimity in the face of tough challenges have served as inspiration to his colleagues in the House to go about their duties without fear, or favour.
Importantly,it has given Nigerians hope that in Tambuwal, they have a leader who can be
trusted to deliver no matter whose ox is gored.
By setting up the House Legislative Agenda in its inception, the Green Chamber set for itself a guideline which has so far guided its activities. Two years down the line, the return on investment has come with appreciable successes. Such success has ensured unprecedented stability which has in turn laid the foundation for all that has been achieved so far.
As the Speaker pointed out, the credit for the stability goes to the members who have exhibited uncommon diligence, support, inspiration, selflessness, passion, maturity and willingness to sacrifice towards the promotion and preservation of the National Interest.
Another credit to the Tambuwal and the House is that of consultative representation. As part of its agenda to remain true and faithful representatives, the House has consulted with the people of Nigeria on all critical issues. Of particular reference is the Peoples’ Public Sessions held in the 360 federal constituencies nationwide to avail the people the opportunity to participate in the making of their Constitution. This initiative was well received by the people, participation was massive and contributions robust and far reaching.
Similarly, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has undergone public hearings at the six geo political zones and arrangements are underway to have a central hearing in Abuja for those in the Federal Capital and all other Nigerians and groups who were unable to take advantage of the zonal hearings. This is apart from the series of routine public hearings on critical issues such as Fuel Subsidy regime, Aviation, Capital Market, Non-remittance of revenues by MDAs, Non-implementation of budget among others.
While space may not allow us to say all that Tambuwal achieved in the last two years, it is instructive to note that the Speaker has carefully approached the art of governance and its associated challenges with a measure of tact, wisdom and discipline. This has no doubt won him the goodwill of the people of Nigeria.
Imam is the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Speaker Tambuwal