The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that beyond its primary roles of lawmaking and representation, the Parliament should give voice to the aspirations of the citizens.
Speaking at a two-day stakeholders’ conference organised by the House Committee on Inter-parliamentary Relations and House Ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday, the Speaker said the role of the Parliament should not be restricted to considering bills and oversight functions.
Represented by the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, the Speaker said the lawmakers, both at the national and state levels, should always act to ensure the implementation of government policies and actions meet the need of the people.
“Times of crises such as we have experienced this year also present opportunities for those who are willing to respond to the challenges of the times with wisdom and innovation,” he said.
According to him, “I believe that Parliament has an important role to play in designing our world beyond Covid-19. I do not subscribe to the belief in some quarters that parliament must restrict itself to passing bills and performing oversight.
“The National Assembly of Nigeria, and the thirty-six states parliaments in our country, are primarily the representatives of the people, tasked with giving voice to the highest aspirations of all our citizens.
“It is a profound role that demands of us that we ensure that the policy making and implementation at all levels of government caters to the most pressing needs of our people, so that they are freed to achieve the great ambitions of which they are immensely capable.”
He said the conference provides an opportunity for lawmakers to further deliberate on the individual and collective roles they should play regarding nation building in the post Covid-19 world.
“Following from that, it is also an opportunity for us to gird ourselves and each other in preparation for the hard choices and difficult bargains that are the price of nation building in a time of global crises. I am confident that together we will achieve all that the Nigerian people expect of us,” he said.
The Speaker added that the House of Representatives remains committed to improving the lives of Nigerians, adding that current realities present an opportunity to “rethink many aspects of our social compact, and the assumptions that underpin our economy and every other aspect of our governance.”
“This is why the House of Representatives, in response to the emergence of Covid-19 on our shores, undertook a comprehensive review of our Legislative Agenda to identify those areas of our society most in need of legislative reform. And following therefrom, to articulate a reform agenda that is as clear as it is ambitious in its recommendations,” he said.
“The updated Legislative Agenda includes an implementation plan with a framework for monitoring and implementation. We termed this Legislative Agenda and the accompanying implementation plan “Our Contract with Nigerians”.
“This is a reflection of our commitment to deliver on the objectives we set out therein and our expectation that we will be held accountable by the Nigerian people for the commitments we have made in our Agenda.”
Earlier in his remark, the chairman of the House Committee on Inter-paliamentary Relations, Hon Zakari Galadima, said since the outbreak of the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, concern stakeholders have been designing and re-designing various mechanism for life after pandemci, which he said has generated medical emergencies and socio-economic implications.
Hon Zakari said the aim of the conference was to build a total and comprehensive recovery plan that will pave the way for the emergence of resilience and egalitarian society of post pandemic.
He said the House committee initiated the conference for members to deliberate and share experience on how best to take advantage of the lessons learnt as a nation.