Security, Accountability, Feature Prominently as Reps Adopt 10th Assembly Legislative Agenda
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed its much-awaited Legislative Agenda, which promises to provide legislative support and solution to the various socio-economic, political and governance issues affecting Nigeria.
The reforms proposed in the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House will positively impact the three arms of the government, namely Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary.
The eight (8) priorities areas, according to the Legislative Agenda, are strengthening good governance, improving national security, law reform, economic growth and development, social sector reform and development, inclusion and open parliament, influencing/directing Nigeria’s foreign policy, and climate change and environmental sustainability.
The document highlighted the main objective of the Legislative Agenda, which is to make the 10th House “The People’s House” and improve the lawmaking, oversight and representative functions of the legislature.
Other specific objectives include to bring the House closer to the people and promote citizens’ engagement through the Open National Assembly project; promote good governance, transparency and accountability through legislative measures; support the eight-point Agenda of the Executive; strengthen the committee system for effective service delivery in the House of Representatives; and promote smooth legislative-executive relationships for good governance.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, in the Mission Statement on the Legislative Agenda, recalled how he set up an Ad Hoc Committee on the Legislative Agenda of the House to “set out clear legislative priorities and goals for the House to assist Members in addressing the most pressing issues facing us today.”
The Speaker said the Agenda is also intended to streamline the activities of the House and guide the efficient allocation of resources. “Critically, as the people’s representatives, we recognise that Nigerians and our constituents have a right to know what issues are being addressed and what priorities their elected representatives focus on. This transparency enhances public trust and accountability. Accordingly, we have dubbed the 10th House the ‘People’s House,’” he said.
Speaker Abbas expressed the expectation of the House that the Legislative Agenda would “foster meaningful public engagement and encourage citizens and stakeholders to participate in debates, hearings, and consultations related to the identified priorities, making the legislative process more inclusive and democratic.”
Speaker Abbas said in part: “Nigeria faces numerous challenges across various sectors, and legislative interventions are crucial for addressing these issues and driving positive change. Therefore, a well defined legislative agenda with legislative priorities is of utmost importance for the efficient and effective functioning of the legislature. It is a roadmap that guides lawmakers and legislative bodies in decision-making and lawmaking processes. The 10th House of Representatives has been called to serve at one of the most challenging times for our constituents and nation.”
“This well-defined legislative agenda with clear priorities is a fundamental tool for the 10th House to function effectively, efficiently, and accountably. I present it to members, committees and all Nigerians and look forward to a successful House and urge my colleagues to make this Agenda the core document of the House and ensure that all committees begin to work and meet the expectations of all Nigerians.”
The Legislative Agenda noted that the 10th House had identified the essential elements to provide direction, purpose, and a framework for effective legislative functioning. “They are intended to help guide decision-making, shape the parliament’s identity, and ensure that the House serves the best interests of Nigerians,” the policy document said.
It added that, “This ethical framework will guide our legislative work, inspire and motivate members and stakeholders, align efforts toward common goals and objectives and clarify the purpose and role of the House.”
According to the document, the core values include effectiveness, efficiency, commitment, accountability, accessibility and responsiveness.
The vision of the 10th House reads: “A ‘People’s House’ that is responsive, results-oriented and effective in performing its constitutional manner towards the security and welfare of all Nigerians.”
The mission is: “To promote professionalism and best legislative practices in lawmaking, oversight and representation.”
According to the policy document, the outcome of the 2023 general elections produced a House with 276 (77%) new and 84 (24%) returning members, continuing the traditionally high turnover rate in the legislature.
The background of the Legislative Agenda partly reads: “The 10th Assembly will operate within the context of serious economic, political and social challenges in Nigeria. Citizens’ confidence in government is currently low, and a crisis of legitimacy is affecting the effectiveness of government institutions, including the legislature.
“Given the above and the huge expectations citizens have of government, the 10th House of Representatives is committed to developing and implementing a Legislative Agenda to rebuild citizens’ confidence and deliver good governance for improved democracy in Nigeria—specifically, the House is committed to ‘legislative reforms to unlock Nigerian’s economic growth and development of our vast human and natural resources.’”
The Legislative Agenda also noted that the eight (8) key priority areas are “representing the Speaker for the House’s vision and mission,” and that they “align with the ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda of the Executive arm of the government. “The Agenda identifies legislative measures critical in enabling the Executive to achieve its vision for Nigeria and address the challenges facing the country today, promoting good governance and socioeconomic growth and development,” it added.
The policy document, however, pointed out that the implementation of the outlined legislative priority areas “depends not only on the House of Representatives but also on the involvement of other arms of the government (the Executive and Judiciary), civil society, media, international partners and all Nigerians.”
The document also noted that the Speaker had set up a House Committee on the Monitoring and Implementation of the Legislative Agenda to assess the progress in attaining identified milestones, identifying challenges and engaging in continuous review of the Agenda to incorporate findings