Campaigns Must Not Distract Us From Our Work, Gbajabiamila Tells Reps

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged his colleagues to sustain their commitment to legislative duties by not allowing the campaigns for the 2023 elections to distract them from work.

He said working until the last day of the 9th House was a duty lawmakers owed their people, adding that outstanding assignments must be completed in keeping with the legislative agenda of the House.

“We must resolve to continue to do the people’s work despite the obligations and distractions of the political campaign season”, Gbajabiamila told colleagues in an address to welcome them back to work in Abuja on Tuesday after the Christmas and New Year break.

He stated that among such assignments were pending bills progressing at various stages and the oversight of government agencies.

“Some of these bills are still in committee, while others are awaiting concurrence in the Senate. We will see to it that we conclude work on these bills so that they can be presented to Mr. President during the life of this administration”, the Speaker stated.

He disclosed that the 9th House would introduce the practice of preparing handover notes to the next legislature in order to keep the institutional memory of its work alive and help the next House settle down quickly for business.

The Speaker noted that writing handover notes is a tradition long established in the executive and judicial arms of government, hence, the legislature must imbibe the same practice to constantly bring parliamentary work up to speed.

Gbajabiamila went on, “I wish today to propose to the House that we adopt this practice at the committee level. The House Committee on Rules and Business will lead this effort by formulating guidelines to make this possible.

“Over the last few appropriation cycles, the dire conditions of our national finance have required significant borrowing to finance government operations, sustain investments in infrastructure and national security and improve the living conditions of the Nigerian people.

“Just as the 9th Assembly has reformed the appropriations process to ensure timely budget passage, we also intend to leave a legacy of transparency and accountability as a standard for the future. Therefore, as part of preparing our reports, we must make a deliberate effort to give a complete account of our oversight activities in the 9th House of Representatives.”

Specifically, on the Legislative Agenda, Gbajabiamila informed his colleagues that the committee responsible for monitoring its implementation would give an account of how far the House had gone in achieving the milestones it set for itself from the outset in 2019.

On insecurity and possible threats to the forthcoming general elections, the Speaker appealed to members to do all within their means by ensuring that the elections were not affected in any way.

He said, “We must unite to ensure this dangerous trend does not lead to circumstances that threaten the forthcoming elections. The quality of the political conversations in society, particularly in the lead-up to elections, is a determining factor in the electoral outcomes and the quality of governance that will result therefrom.

“When political discourse seeks to unite the people behind an agenda of shared prosperity, social development, and respect for the humanity of persons, governance will also reflect these priorities.”

He urged members to be part of the solutions by promoting the “politics of accommodation and brotherhood.”

Gbajabiamila added, “We must ensure that no insecurity threatening our country’s peace can be attributed to our actions or utterances. This is our constitutional obligation and a moral duty from which we must not deviate.”

He praised Nigeria’s security forces for their gallantry and the sacrifices they continued to make to safeguard the country and keep the peace.

“They are the best of us, to whom we owe not only our gratitude but also our continued dedication to the offices we hold. Through our efforts to improve the lives of our people, let us make ourselves worthy of the sacrifices these men and women have made and continue to make on our behalf”, the Speaker said

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