#TrackNigeria – In what suggests a new determination to make an impact in the new federal legislative year, a group, the 9th National Assembly Progressives, 9th NAP, has reeled out a comprehensive agenda that it will pursue in the next four years.
The group of progressives comprising essentially members of the minority Party listed critical issues like open governance, budget implementation, sustainable development and growth of democracy, security, national orientation, and growth and diversification of the economy as its priority areas in the new dispensation.
Led by ranking member, Hon. Oluwole Oke, and others, including Honourables Lego Idagbo, Victor Nwokolo, Lynda Ikpeazu, Beni Lar, Nnoli Nnaji, Joe Edionwele, Gideon Gwani, Luke Onofiok, Frances Charles, Francis Agbo, as co-founders, the group stressed, in a release, that a roadmap is important if they have to succeed as a credible opposition in the new dispensation.
With Darlington Nwokocha of the Patriots Group and Hon. Ossy Prestige, who leads the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) caucus, lately joining to make them formidable, “Governance” they argued “is seen as obscure, while officials are also perceived as self-serving and hardly responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people.
“This impression will be resolved through increased openness, greater transparency and we will ensure a heightened commitment to accountability on the parts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA).”
The larger arms of government including the executive, the legislature and the judiciary will also be made to be more attentive to governance details and provide more explanations on critical subject matters like income and expenditure patterns, besides a possible publication and circulation of same, through available channels.
“Nigerians are more concerned about actions than pronouncements. While many arms of government, especially the executive, have been more bothered about pronouncements, efforts will be made for pronouncements to be backed by action”
They went further to note that records have shown that the performance percentages of national budgets are always low, hardly reaching even a 50% mark. “Many reasons have been adduced for this. One of this is delayed presentation of the budget before the National Assembly.
“While the details of the budget are often performance oriented, it adds to nothing if there is no implementation, or if proposals would always have to be pushed to the next budget circle. An improvement will surely be worked upon in the interest of service delivery and towards the provision of the much needed infrastructures and utilities”
The 9th NAP argued that development processes and procedures are hardly episodic. Development efforts are more impactful if they are sustainable through appropriate government policies and action.
Government need to change from the presentation of development items in the form of media show, with little or no effort to continuity, and the improvement of those items. This also calls for improved maintenance culture, greater continuity in policies, irrespective of party, primordial, or partisan leaning, because government is always a continuum.
Besides, they continued, “One of the greatest challenges of the nation today is insecurity. It ranges from rape to robbery and from kidnapping to terrorism. No nation can grow in the midst of violence, arson, maiming, looting, criminal dehumanization and sudden deaths.
“There is a greater need for government to be much more responsive to these threats to the nation’s existence, especially with the additional problem of rise in ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry and the highlighting of divides across regions and geographies. We will not rest until we resolve issues around this”
Furthermore, the minority groups said that there is a huge trust deficit on the part of the citizenry for the government. This has led to a poor sense of nationalism, and a strong feeling that public interest is not existent in the land. While the government is not trusted, the people believe less in the readiness of government to work for the collective.
This trust is unfortunately needed for national mobilization towards productivity and efficiency. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and similar agencies should be mobilized to work better towards national awareness, and better sense of citizenship.
On the economy, the group said “It is regrettable that Nigeria still relies on only oil in the 21st century of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the internet of things. Oil is soon to become obsolete. We must be concerned about diversification. We should be bothered about developing our agricultural sector, our tourism, and educational sector and the solid mineral sector. Time is running out and we cannot be left behind as a nation”