Udora Orizu in Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, says the current state of insecurity in Nigeria has made many areas of the country uninhabitable for citizens and unattractive to investors. Gbajabiamila stated this on Saturday in Abuja at the public presentation of the updated Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives, tagged, “Our Contract with Nigerians.”
He likened the country’s situation to a war with insurgents intent on remaking society in the image of a barbaric theocracy.
According to him, “Before now, the extent of our difficulties was well known to us. We have population growth that far outpaces the rate of economic growth.
“Insecurity has made vast swathes of our country uninhabitable for citizens and unattractive to investment. We are at war, fighting insurgents in the North-east who want to remake our world in the image of a medieval theocracy. Our education system is producing graduates who cannot compete in the 21st-century knowledge economy.”
The speaker said as a consequence of the new realities imposed on Nigerians by the Covid-19 pandemic, the House had updated its legislative agenda to contend with the emerging issues.
“This updated Legislative Agenda, and the implementation plan, which we have tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians’, sets out the new priorities of this 9th House of Representatives and commits us to a plan of action over the next year, and for the rest of our tenure,” he stated.
Gbajabiamila added, “We have called this document a contract because that is what it is; a written account of what we owe the people and how we intend to meet our obligations within the shortest time possible. These documents represent our intention to be held accountable based on what we have freely committed to achieving, and which I am confident we will realise, to the glory of God and the edification of our people.”
Gbajabiamila said apart from presentation of the document to the public, the gathering, more importantly, provided an opportunity for frank conversations on how the objectives of the contract could be achieved.
“This is an opportunity to empower ourselves with the confidence to dare and the skills to deliver,” he said, stressing that the ultimate aim of the gathering is to “deliver a House of Representatives that meets the highest expectations of its citizens.”
In his goodwill message, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, urged the lawmakers to draw from their collective wealth of experience and constitutional powers to chart a course that will take Nigeria to higher levels of sustainable development. Mustapha said this was the right time for the legislature to reposition itself for the delivery of the expected outcomes of the contract with Nigerians, stating that the next three years will be critical to the country.
The speaker stressed that the challenges were numerous but the solutions lied in the hands of members of the National Assembly, which Nigerians look up to for solutions. The SGF also said the coronavirus pandemic had disrupted all global systems, including governance, economy, law-making, food production, transportation, education, and health systems.