- Ozekhome rates lawmakers high on independence, productivity
Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja and Martins Ifijeh in Lagos
The National Assembly Thursday adjourned sine die with the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, asking his colleagues and whoever he might have offended to forgive him.
This is coming as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome has rated the Eighth National Assembly as the best so far in the legislative history of Nigeria in terms of sheer productivity and independence.
Dogara stated that the Eighth National Assembly was the most persecuted and harassed in Nigeria’s history, emphasising that with 382 bills passed, the assembly he led surpassed records of all previous assemblies.
He also bemoaned the growing rate of insecurity in the country.
“I, and perhaps many of us, might have made one mistake or another and caused offence among ourselves these four years. This is expected since we are human. May, I therefore, implore everyone I might have wronged to forgive such wrongs.
“On my part, I hold no grudges against anyone, and I plead with everyone to forgive his brothers and sisters. Let us leave here today without any resentment or bitterness in our hearts.”
“One sore point that is a must-cure in our democracy is the issue of flawed elections. We must ensure the conclusion of the ongoing legislative processes on electoral reforms in a way that will make electoral fraud near-impossible, if we are to enjoy true democracy. We may have done much, but the work of democracy still remains undone,” Dogara stated.
The Speaker who reiterated that the parliament was not designed to be an altar of praise for the executive but a co-equal branch to serve as a check on executive power,” expressed concern over the future of Nigeria because of the alarming rate of insecurity across the country.
Dogara argued that to address the spate of insecurity in the country, leadership must jettison partisanship and put the best of human and material resources to work in confronting the menacing level of the activities of criminals in the country.
Reeling out the major achievement of the eight assembly, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Edward Pwajok (SAN) said “In the first session, 685 bills were introduced and 68 were passed.
He added, “In the second session, 379 bills were introduced and 41 were passed. In the third session, 446 bills were introduced and 94 were passed. In the fourth session, 143 bills were introduced and 63 were passed. The total I repeat, 1643 bills that we presented and 352 were passed.
In a related development, Ozekhome has rated the Eighth National Assembly as the best so far in the legislative history of Nigeria in terms of sheer productivity and independence.
In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, the lawyer said despite an overbearing and rampaging executive arm of government, the outgoing National Assembly rates high on its daring insistence to being truly independent.
“Right from the emergency of its principal officers when it insisted it was its right to produce them in accordance with section 50 of the 1999 Constitution and outside the dictatorial, whimsical, capricious and arbitrary desire of any political party as if we were operating a parliamentary system of government, it has held sacrosanct, the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers.
“In the entire legislative history of Nigeria, the 8th NASS has passed the greatest number of pro-masses motions, resolutions and bills than any legislature before it.”
Ozekhome said the outgoing lawmakers threw up the most daring, courageous and brave legislators that spoke truth to power and authority, despite the risk it posed to their lives, families and properties.