For the Nigerian legislature to be able to deliver more quality representation and live up to the expectation of its constituents, Nigerians must make conscious efforts to stop the high turnover rate of lawmakers, Speaker of the House, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said.
Dogara said this during a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty, the Obadofin of Oweland, Kabba, Oba Michael Yusuf, while in Kogi State for the commissioning of projects and presentation of empowerment materials by Hon. Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen, representing Kabba-Bunu-Ijumu federal constituency.
While acknowledging the principle of zoning, he urged them to rate experience and performance as higher criteria for reelecting their legislators in order for development to come to them.
He said, “If my people had not supported me, there’s no way I would be standing before you as speaker of the House. They have returned me to the House for the third time and that is why I’m speaker, and by our rules, if you’re not a ranking member, you cannot aspire to certain positions in the House. So, if you keep changing, because in most constituencies, they practise what is known as zoning or turn-by-turn, but the truth is that in parliament, the more experienced your member is, the more positions he gets. The more experienced he is, the more projects come. I can assure you that as Speaker, what I’m able to do in my constituency, he can’t.”
“So if you want to have Speaker, once you have a worthy son, keep supporting him. But if you send someone then withdraw him in 4 years, send another learner and keep withdrawing, at the end of the day, you will be cheating your constituency.”
The Speaker also informed the monarch that the National Assembly has endorsed constitutional roles for traditional rulers in its ongoing constitution amendment exercise but called for advocacy for state houses of assembly to endorse it and make it law.
“So, it bestows the added responsibility of ensuring that we lobby members of state assemblies to ensure that this particular aspect of the constitutional amendment is passed when it is transmitted to them, so it is important to note that when it comes to the Kogi State House of Assembly, you will have to put additional pressure on your sons and daughters who are members to pass it. Otherwise, it will fail and there’s nothing we can do about it,” he explained.
He also urged the people to avail themselves of the opportunities in agriculture for economic empowerment, saying it will reduce poverty and create food sufficiency.
“There’s about N400bn sitting with the CBN for commercial agriculture and we believe that agriculture will provide jobs for thousands, if not millions, of our citizens. You can imagine if we were to have little farm settlements with like 50 people in each; if we have one million of those farm settlements across the country, that’s 50 million jobs. So agriculture represents the promise that will deliver us out of joblessness and put food on our table, and that is why that provision is made so we implore citizens from this kingdom and this land to avail themselves of the opportunities in this field.”
While seeking prayers for leaders to succeed in their drive to make Nigeria a better place for its citizens, he expressed pleasure that security has improved in the last 2 years, though he acknowledged that sundry acts of kidnapping still occur.
“Let me continue by saying that we’ll be going here empowered by your prayers and we want to ask that you do not relent in remembering us in your prayers, because certain things may not be humanly possible and by divine wisdom, they can’t be done,” he added.
Earlier, the monarch had hailed the Dogara-led house as being vibrant, and sought the support of legislators in assigning constitutional roles to legislators.