By Ifeanyi Nwoko
NASS at 2: Nigerians give National Assembly pass mark
As the National Assembly celebrates its second year anniversary, Nigerians in the have scored the Assembly high in their legislative activities.
Many of those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, said that despite the leadership challenges that plagued the assembly, especially the Senate, their activities so far has been quite commendable.
Top on the list of the reasons why the National Assembly was scored high were its passage of the PIGB Bill, Publication of its annual budget and its campaign for patronage of made in Nigeria goods.
NAN reports that the 8th National Assembly has fared better that previous assemblies in terms of Bills Passage.
The 8th Senate had so far passed 95 bills in two years ahead of 7th Senate which passed 28 in two years, 6th Senate 23 bills and 5th Senate 65 bills.
In terms of Petitions, the 8th Senate has cleared 72 petitions in two years while the 7th Senate treated 6 petitions: 6th senate cleared 6 while that of the 5th Senate is unknown.
Mr Okechukwu Ibekwe a journalist said that the National Assembly had indeed done a great job in its legislative activities with the passage of 95 bills by the Senate and over 120 bills by the House of Representatives in two years.
“Many of these bills we know came in this second year, as we are aware, the first year of the National Assembly was marred with leadership tussle in the Senate and budget padding allegation in the House of Representatives.
“However the 8th Assembly still has much to do in the area of administration: I will rate the 8th Assembly 70 per cent,” he said.
Mr Ahmed Momoh in his view commended the senate especially for overcoming the leadership challenge and rancour.
He said that the style with which the activities of the senate went on even in the face of the challenges was quite commendable.
His commendation was however without some knocks as he said that the 8th NASS still had much to do.
“The 8th National Assembly having been borne out of a difficult political terrain that resulted in the formation of the APC, it also shared in the problem.
“This is the first nass that has delayed so much in passing budget starting from 2016: the last budget was signed in May, 2017 we are still here and this is june.
“The delay is because of the suspicion on the part of the politicians who won the leadership and those who lost, so sabotage is at its peak, even when they seem to be settling.
However they have been able to publish the long awaited details of their budget and this is quite commendable.
Saraki and Dogara led National Assembly, despite all odds have made certain impact:
“In the past one year they have stabilized, there is peace: for the first time the two chambers are working harmoniously.
“They have been able to forge unity depite the odds occasioned by the leadership tussle.
“They broke the jinx of the PIB even though its not yet a law.
“Depite challenges faced by the leadership of the Senate especially, the legislative functions of the National Assembly seem not to have been affected as bills and motions have been passed promptly.
“I will score them 80 per cent for doing well in the face of daunting challenges,” he said.
Mrs Shade Badebo, a civil servant said that the 8th Senate particularly wated its first year in leadership tussle and litigations.
He said however that they have been able to make up in the second year with bill, motions and petitions which they have treated.
“I think they are now coming up to their legislative responsibility, the first year was wasted to politicking.
“Even though the minority has a significant number of members, their role as opposition especially on critical National issues has weighed down the National Assembly.
“Most significant in the last one year is the opening up of activities in the legislature by way of using ICT to publicise their activities.
“The passage if the PIGB and the passage of the 2017 budget is also a significant achievement especially where the 2016 budget was marred by padding controversies.
“Also the campaign by the National Assembly on patronising locally manufactured goods (Made in Nigeria goods) has been massive and commendable.
“But they must lead more by examples, they should buy made in Nigeria cars, rice and other goods and they must be seen to be doing so to serve as an example to all other Nigerians.
“In all I will score the National Assembly 60 per cent,” he said.
A business man Lawrence Aniere particularly commended the National Assembly for their focus on prioritising patronage of made in Nigeria good.
He said such poise, if followed with sincerity and selflessness will indeed boost the business environment of Nigeria and grow her economy.
“The 8th assembly started on a roll, political betrayals and intrigues: Two years down the line the ship seems to have sailed on with so much in fighting.
“Unsettled still but not totally ruffled, more to be done yet A lot already achieved.
“Greed as we all know has been the bane of the Senate,exorbitant prices of clothing, feeding and house allowances still rock the Senate. Yet minimum wages can barely take us home.
“But on the plus side the Petroleum Industry Bill that has been passed after 17 years may have calmed some frayed nerves.
Their commitment to improving patronage of Made in Nigeria goods is quite commendable as this is only way we can grow our economy.
The lawmakers must shelve selfish interest and ensure that the importation in brought to the barest minimum as it has remained the bane of Nigeria’s development.
“Having said that if I must rate the current Assembly, I give them a resounding 60% for whatever they think they’ve achieved in the past two years.