By Austin Asadu
Having reported at the national assembly for a weekly newspaper, for some years, this writer might claim some knowledge of the processes of legislation as well as some of the key personalities, politicians and administrators that have contributed in no small measure towards ensuring that the 7th National Assembly is vigorous, effective, credible and activist in it’s approach to lawmaking, representation and over sighting the nation’s vast MDA bureaucracy.
Fortunately, the relationship between the political and administrative leadership has been remarkably free of rancour, tension, discord or contention as both arms work in patriotic tandem and unison geared towards moving both the National Assembly in particular and the nation in general to optimum heights. The cordial relationship exists largely due to the personality, professional experience, vision and leadership exemplar of the political arm led by the Chairman of the National Assembly and President of the Senate, Bonaventure David Mark, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa.
Without doubt, the Senate President has been a positive force for stability and order both in the National Assembly and the nation in general and his skilful and adroit handling of critical issues of national importance has led to the auspicious defusing of potential political crisis situations that could have put the country asunder. His mature, confident and statesmanlike leadership style has gone a long way in deepening and advancing our nation’s democracy as many see him as rising above any primordial, sectional or sectarian consideration in the service of his fatherland.
On his part, the House Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal has initiated a populist revolution of sorts as the House has beamed its searchlight on the activities of the MDAs in order to ensure that waste, fraud, mismanagement and corruption be drastically weeded out of the system. Definitely the affable Speaker has won over a lot of hearts and minds by his open and inclusive leadership style coupled with his relentless championing of the cause of the poor and disenfranchised in society.
The head of the administrative arm, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, CNA has received deserved kudos from stakeholders, editorialists and apparatchiks alike with the revolutionary approach he has adopted in entrenching transparency, accountability and due process in the system of promotions, staff deployment, contract awards, procurements, pre-qualifications etc. While adopting a cordial and friendly mien with all across the political divide, an impartial Maikasuwa has adopted a strictly apolitical stance favouring none at all which has earning him grudging respect and even admiration from all the political actors and factions that crisscross the National Assembly landscape.
In the Senate quite a number of lawmakers have made the difference in their creative and coherent approach to legislative advocacy and people-oriented political action. For instance, Sen. Ahmed Maccido has strengthened the budgeting and appropriations system, thus marking out the Appropriations Committee as one of the most responsive and credible committees in the Senate; Senator Smart Adeyemi and Sen. Domingo Obende, Chairman and Vice-chairman of the FCT Committee, respectively, have left no stone unturned in ensuring that the FCDA is alive to its responsibilities and commitments to the FCT residents and Nigerians as a whole.
Among the key actors that have fuelled the populist revolution in the House include the legal titan, Hon. Yakubu Dogara who spearheaded the probe of Collapsed Buildings in Nigeria while courageously recommending the adoption of the 42.5mpa as the acceptable standard for cement manufacturing to guard against the frequent collapse of buildings in the future. Hon. Albert Sam –Tsokwa, the Rules and Business helmsman, has ensured the seamless flow of House business and proceedings. Hon. Bethel Amadiis ably combining his National Planning Committee duties with his leadership of the Pan-African Parliament; Uche Ekwunife, the political amazon, skilfully holds the forte as the Environment Committee Chairperson; Patrick Ikhariale adroitly brokered final negotiations between the Ministry of Power and retrenched PHCN workers.
Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim Gebi is a reference point for vibrancy and outspokenness in the Chamber and committees of the House. Nasir Ali Ahmed is an unperturbed legislator who has deftly pushed for greater local content in major industries and multinationals in Nigeria. Chris Azubogu, an agricultural scientist, has brought his experience to bear in turning the agric sector around; Kyari Gujbawu, Chairman Renaissance Forum in the House, a think tank dedicated to peace, stability, tolerance and mutual co-operation in the nation as a whole. Samson Okwu is an ardent proponent of far-reaching reform and restructuring of the nation’s pension sector.
This list is not exhaustive of the various politicians and personalities that make the 7th NASS tick, only from the writer’s personal and inherently subjective perspective. Other alternative views and opinions are welcome.
Austin Asaduwrote from Garki, Abuja.