Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured that the House would commence work on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and the amendment of the 1999 Constitution next year.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this yesterday at a retreat organised for chairmen of standing committees of the House by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), in Lagos.
The Speaker, in a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, noted that both the constitution review and the PIGB were part of the bills that the House would prioritise in 2020.
He stressed that the House would do everything within its powers to give Nigeria the best in terms of laws that would promote peace and good governance in the country.
The Speaker, who tasked the chairmen of the committees to work with their deputies and other members of the committees as a team, noted that Nigerians had high expectations on the Legislature, hence they must work hard to meet such.
He stated: “We have been elected at a time of great upheaval at home and abroad. We are confronted with great peril; oil prices have fallen and refuse to go back up, our population growth continues to outpace economic growth, we are besieged on all sides by rising insecurity and its consequences.
“How do we build an economy that is attractive to investment, that creates jobs to meet our present needs, and grows apace to meet future demands? How do we build a society where the weak are not afflicted by the powerful, where our differences of gender and tribe, religion and opinion are not weaponised to deprive any citizen of life, of liberty or the freedom to pursue happiness?
“How do we achieve the promise of greatness that so long ago caused the world to look upon us and say, here comes the giant of Africa? These are the questions that should engage our interests and animate our efforts because in the answer to these questions lies the best dreams we have for ourselves and the highest ambitions we hold for our country,” the Speaker said.
The Speaker also commended the lawmakers for their commitment to the passage of the 2020 budget, which he said would bring the budget cycle to January to December.
He added, “Where it is the responsibility of the executive to implement programmes and execute projects, it falls to us to articulate through legislation, the broad objectives of our nationhood, and through oversight, hold the executive accountable to those objectives. The standing Committees you each lead are the principal instruments of legislation and oversight.
“Whatever we are, whatever we will achieve, and everything we will be remembered for in this House of Representatives depends on how well your Committees function and how effectively you serve as leaders of those Committees.
“Our ability to rise to the responsibilities of our offices are often constrained by institutional weaknesses that have been for too long left unaddressed. We are here to critically examine how we operate in the House of Representatives.”
On his part, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the National Assembly for passing the budget on time “for the first time since 1999.
He said with the zeal and commitment exhibited so far by members of the 9th House under the leadership of Gbajabiamila, he believed they would achieve a lot in the next four years.