The national assembly is currently on a six-week break. Its recess began on July 28 and would end on September 13.

Shortly before the federal lawmakers embarked on recess, various events headlined the news in both chambers of the national assembly.

Some of these events have continued to be of keen interest to Nigerians who are waiting for the lawmakers to resume to see where certain issues would lead to.

Here are five reasons why Nigerians are eager for the national assembly to resume from its break.

Budget padding allegations

Shortly before the national assembly adjourned for the break, Abdulmumin Jibrin was relieved of his position as chairman of the house of representatives appropriations committee.

Speaking on the floor of the house on July 20, Yakubu Dogara announced to the legislators that house leadership had taken a decision to replace Jibrin.

“He met me and said he does not think he would continue as the committee chairman due to pressure of the work,” Dogara said.

He added that the decision to remove Jibrin had already been taken before his notification.

In reaction to Dogara’s statement, Jibrin said it “was a clear misrepresentation of events” because he decided to resign and was not sacked.

Subsequently, he made series of allegations against the speaker and four other principal officers — whom he accused of padding the 2016 budget with N40 billion through insertions of “unnecessary projects.”

He further challenged the speaker to reconvene the house and and resign so that internal and external investigations can begin.

Jibrin has also petitioned the anti-corruption agencies against the speaker and 12 other legislators.

National assembly politics

In the senate, Bukola Saraki, the senate president, reshuffled committees and gave his strongest critics what is referred to as “juicy committees”, right before the break.

Oluremi Tinubu and Kabiru Marafa were both given senate committees on environment and petroleum downstream respectively.

At the inauguration of the 8th senate, Tinubu had snubbed a handshake with Saraki.

On his part, Marafa who belongs to the senate unity forum group which wanted Ahmed Lawan to emerge senate president, had consistently criticised Bukola Saraki.

Marafa who has opposed Saraki’s leadership style at different times, has called for the suspension of the senate president.

On resumption, Nigerians would want to see if Saraki successfully “pacified” his critics with these committees.

Special bills

Before going on recess, the house considered two sensitive bills which were; immunity clause for principal officers of the national assembly and an amendment for the reduction of age qualification to enable young people get elected into public offices.

Legislators have argued that if section 302 of the Nigerian constitution (as amended) is altered to provide immunity for principal officers of the national assembly, it would enable them carry out their primary assignment without “distractions.”

They argued that if the president, his vice and governors could be given immunity, such should also be done to their principal officers.

Following the heated debate generated by the bill, it was referred to a special ad hoc committee on constitution review for further legislative action.

Also, the bill seeking to reduce age qualification to enable young people get into elective offices was well received by the Nigerian public.

Dubbed as “not too young to run”, the bill seeks to reduce the age qualification into the offices of president, vice president, governor, and senate president to 30 years.

For the federal house of representatives and states houses of assemblies, the bill seeks to reduce the age qualification to 25 years.

The proposed amendment was also referred to the house special ad hoc committee on constitution review.

Special intervention

The upper and lower chambers of the national assembly are known for fighting for the Nigerian people through resolutions passed.

These resolutions emanating from motions are sponsored by legislators who seek different types of relief for the people they represent.

These interventions can be in form of providing infrastructure and/or solace for victims of national disasters.

Also, Nigerians who may have complaints against public institutions, seek the help of the national assembly through their representatives or senators by way of petitions.

Checks and balances

One of the responsibilities of the national assembly as an arm of government is to check excesses of the executive.

This is done through its oversight functions such that the legislature can summon key government officials to explain why certain decisions were taken or not.

These functions by the legislature is said to make governance effective for the public’s benefit.



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