The Journey Thus Far: How The 8th National Assembly is Making History
The 7th National Assembly, which concluded its term on Thursday, 4th of June 2015, equally considered over two hundred motions and approved concomitant resolutions. It also effectively collaborated with the Executive in the overall national interest to stabilise the polity without undermining the independence and integrity of the Legislature.
The parliament passed a total of 251 bills, of which a little less than 150 were signed into law by the immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan. Overall, a total number of 1,340 bills were introduced in both Chambers within the four year period, comprising 585 in the Senate and 755 in the House of Representatives. The bills were mainly from the Executive, Private Members and the Senate or House of Representatives.
Among the bills passed were the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, Terrorism (Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, Cyber Security Bill and Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (Amendment) Bill. Others include the 1999 Constitution Alteration Bill, the 1999 Constitution 4th Alteration Bill and the National Institute for Legislative Studies Act, 2011.
As Nigeria’s 8th National Assembly settles down for day-to-day legislative business, the 8th assembly hit the ground running and not waiting until the last minute to pass bills that would positively impact on the lives of the people. Essentially, they have exhibited the required courage and leadership to ensure that government’s obligations to the citizenry are speedily fulfilled and honoured. Below are some of the achievements recorded by the 8th assembly In months:
●The 8th Senate set up an ad-hoc committee to unravel the companies that were granted import waivers to the detriment of the Nigerian economy, and tasked the committee to ensure that the companies remit the money back into the coffers of government;
●For the first time, the Senate showed concern for the plight of Boko Haram victims and internally displaced people in the country. Led by the Senate President, senators paid a visit to some of the camps to identify with the victims;
●The ad-hoc committee of the Senate led by former governor of Kebbi state, Alhaji Adamu Aliero, is currently probing the power sector where the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of power, Godknows Igali, has revealed that over N2.77 trillion has been spent on power generation since 1999;
●The Senate under Saraki passed motions that led to the review of electricity tariffs by the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC). The Senate on Tuesday, August 11, asked the NERC to immediately abolish fixed charges on electricity consumption, and bulk marketing of villages and communities.
In spite of these modest achievements registered by the 8th Senate in months, the 7th National Assembly will also be perpetually remembered for the failure to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill. Although it was passed by the House of Representatives on the last legislative day of the four year term.
More success needs to be recorded and achieved by the 8th Senate as the whole Nigerians are watching them, most especially the call for open Nass which has also given birth to the promises made by the leadership of the 8th assembly to always take Nigerians along in all their quests for a #Openass.
Ridwan Omooba writes from Abuja.