The President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, says lack of compliance to resolutions of the Legislature is a clog in the wheels of achieving good governance in the country.
Lawan made the statement at the 2020 National Legislative Conference tagged: “Legislative Investigation Powers, Expectations and Challenges and the Way Forward” in Abuja on Monday.
The conference was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with HallowMace Communications Ltd.
Represented by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Sani Abdullahi, Lawan said the Legislature alone could not provide the desired good governance of Nigerians.
“It is clear that the National Assembly is pro-poor in terms of what we discuss in the chambers and even during investigations.
“These are the very important things we do but we do not have the powers to sing our songs, somebody has to sing it for us.
“In terms of peoples’ representations in our motions and investigations; one aspect is compliance with resolutions that come out of it.
“The lack of compliance with resolutions of the national assembly is a great deficiency in our desire to develop and provide services which is called good governance.
“One hand cannot carry the entire house that is why the framers of our Constitution decided to say the Judiciary is there, the Legislature is there and the Executive is there and all of us have our various roles to play.
“Democracy must work for our people, that is the only way all of us can have the peace that we so much desire,” he said.
The senator said that the investigative powers of the legislature brought out the accountability and transparency mechanisms embedded in the governance structure.
According to him, we cannot overemphasis the importance of these mechanisms in a period of scarce resources such as this.
Lawan said that resources generation potentials of the country had been hampered by the volatile challenges in oil revenue and COVID-19 pandemic.
“This requires us to be more meticulous and more judicious with the use of resources; the legislature should be more diligent in its mandate of appropriation, legislation and oversight, considering the constitutional checks and balances and service delivery.
“The anticipation of the people is naturally good governance, this requires painstaking efforts by leaders and the followers.
“While we expect leaders to be responsible and selfless, the followers are supposed to be responsible, faithful and ensure that leaders do not deviate from the defined mission and vision,” he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila said that the parliament could not be relegated in any democratic government.
According to him, it is the first arm of government in any democratic system because it represents the people and democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Represented by the Majority Leader of the house, Rep. Ado Doguwa, Gbajabiamilia said that the Legislature had been subjected to so much criticism and had often been undermined.
The rep said no arm of government could function alone, noting that the executive and judiciary including the media and the civil society must collaborate with the legislature to achieve the much desired good governance.
The speaker commended the organisers of the event, describing it as a “great service to the polity.”
“This way, our democracy can grow faster; I urge you to come close to the legislature, our doors are open to discuss with you,” he said.
In his keynote address, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) said the legislature have powers of investigation.
Represented by Dr Esa Onoja, Owasanoye said that Section 88 of the Constitution, empowered the legislature to carry out investigation with a view to making laws, check abuse of power, curb wastage or expose corruption.
He said the legislature remained an anti corruption institution but lacked the powers of anti graft agencies to prosecute.
He said that refusal of heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to appear for investigative hearing was also a challenge gaveling the arm of government.
Owasanoye, however, said that being the custodian of the constitution, the legislature, must remain trustworthy to ensure order and peace in the country.