The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the current realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have necessitated the House to review its Legislative Agenda launched last October and come up with an updated version.
The Speaker said the House took into cognizance the fact that COVID-19 came with a lot of challenges that could not be addressed by the first Legislative Agenda, which was prepared long before the outbreak of the pandemic.
In a keynote address at the retreat for the leadership and members of the House on the updated Legislative Agenda on Saturday in Abuja, tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians,’ the Speaker said the House would ensure it follows the objectives of the updated Legislative Agenda logically so as to achieve success.
Gbajabiamila said though the House came up with the last Legislative Agenda a year ago, “However, in all our planning and imagining, we did not know that the world will soon change drastically, in ways we could not then conceive of, and with consequences beyond our wildest imagination.
“Before now, the extent of our difficulties was well known to us. We have population growth that far outpaces the rate of economic growth. Insecurity has made vast swathes of our country uninhabitable for citizens and unattractive to investment.
“We are at war, fighting insurgents in the North East who want to remake our world in the image of a medieval theocracy. Our education system is producing graduates who cannot compete in the 21st-century knowledge economy.
“At the same time, economic and social inequity exacerbates our age-old conflicts, making cooperation and progress difficult, and often impossible.
“As a consequence of the new realities imposed on us by the Covid-19 pandemic, the question then is, how do you achieve your ambitions in a world where the signposts of certainty have moved so far that we can barely even see them, or recognise where they used to be?
“This is the reality from which the Nigerian people are looking to us for lasting solutions. Are we able to rise to the challenges of our times? I believe that we are. This updated Legislative Agenda, and the implementation plan which we have tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians’ sets out the new priorities of this 9th House of Representatives and commits us to a plan of action over the next year, and for the rest of our tenure.
“We have called this document a contract because that is what it is: a written account of what we owe the people and how we intend to meet our obligations within the shortest possible time. These documents represent our intention to be held accountable based on what we have freely committed to achieving, and which I am confident we will realize, to the glory of God and the edification of our people.”
Gbajabiamila said the retreat was an opportunity to empower members “with the confidence to dare and the skills to deliver.
“I encourage all of us to use the time here today to learn from the speakers and each other, exchange ideas and develop individual roadmaps that would guide our interactions as we work together to deliver a House of Representatives that meets the highest expectations of its citizens.
“I want you to remember today as always what our mission is: to protect those who need us, to shield them, to empower through opportunity, to decide what future we want and then to build it.
“This is our mandate, and we will deliver because we must, because there is no alternative. I pray for God’s guidance on all our endeavours and I wish journey mercies to all those who will be travelling today and the days ahead.”
In a goodwill message, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Bar. Boss Mustapha, said the retreat could not have come at a better time “because our nation and indeed the entire world is facing the most important emergency of our generation in the form of COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said the impact of the pandemic has disrupted all global systems, including governance, economy, lawmaking, food production, transportation, education and health systems to mention, which was why the legislature needed to recalibrate and reposition itself on the delivery of the expected outcomes of its contract with Nigerians “because the next three years will be very critical to our nation.”
The SGF, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), said the mutual relationship that currently exists between the Executive and the Legislature has made governance more result-orientated and development driven.
“The list of examples of mutual respect and understanding range from the respect for the principle of separation of powers, constant consultations, promptness in dealing with requests from the Executive, thorough and timely passage of the budget and a host of other positives steps taken by the legislature.
“There is no doubt that we are laying a sound foundation for future generations of Nigerians to build upon in governance, accountability and behaviour, all pointing in the direction of convergence of our determination to develop a peaceful, strong and virile nation.”
The updated Legislative Agenda is divided into three components: immediate legislative action, intermediate legislative action and long term legislative action so that the lawmakers would have the opportunity to propose laws and take actions that would fit in the current realities.
Photos: Gov Sanwo-Olu Meets Boy In ‘Mummy Calm Down’ Video
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor, has finally met with Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, a little boy in the viral “mummy calm down” video.
The governor invited the boy and his family to his office on Saturday, 8th August, 2020.
Oreofeoluwa had become an instant sensation on social media platforms after a video went viral of him in tears from his mum’s scolding while confidently telling her to “calm down” and give him a “last chance”.
The video had attracted the governor’s attention and he requested to meet the little boy.
It had also inspired Sanwo-Olu’s Eid-el-Kabir message to Muslim faithfuls and inhabitants of the state wherein he urged them to maintain calm amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The exchange was indeed funny, but it depicts the efforts parents put in moulding children into responsible adults. I want to assume that his mom indeed calmed down because the appeal was moving enough to make anyone change their mind,” he had said.
Sanwo-Olu had also said that he would be acquiring exclusive rights to “calm down” as a catchphrase.
Reps Discover N156bn Abandoned Power Projects
The Federal House of Representatives, in its oversight function, has uncovered many power projects, put together at the cost of N156 billion, that are being abandoned or are yet to be completed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Two of such uncompleted projects include a 240 MVA sub-station in Walalambe Community of Nasarawa Local Government Area and a 330 KVA station in Rimin Zakara, Ungoggo Local Government Area.
Chairman, House Committee on Power, Magaji Da’u Aliyu, made the revelation when he led some committee members to visit two substations in Kano State at the weekend.
We have over 156 billion uncompleted projects lying for over 10 years,” he said.
The lawmaker revealed that the projects were awarded about 10 to 16 years ago but had not reached the level of completion.
He however, assured the people that the committee would complete the projects in Kano in six months.
He explained that the House of Assembly member from the area wrote him and, knowing how the project will impact on the people in many ways, he said he would come and see the project.
“This project has a lot of values to the people of Kano and Nigerians. Employment and economic opportunities will speed up when this project is completed. It must be completed in the next six months.
“I will follow it to the later. I will talk to the Speaker of Federal House of Representatives and also involve the governors of Kano and Kaduna.
“The funding is not a problem. The contractor should come out with his work plan and submit to me tomorrow and send a copy to Abuja,” he said.
During the visit to the 240 MVA sub-station in Walalambe, Nassarawa Local Government Area, which had been uncompleted for 16 years, the committee chairman expressed displeasure at the state of the project.
He ordered TCN to complete the project within six months period, stating that the committee would facilitate full funding to achieve the completion within the stated period.
He said: “I have been mandated by the Speaker, House of Representatives, to come and supervise the level of the project and do the needful. So, since the materials of this project are on ground, I direct you to complete this project before or on February 1; that is six months. I will make sure the funds are available for the completion.”
TCN’s Assistant General Manager (AGM) Kano Service, Muhammad Bello, said the completion of the project would be within the six months period. According to him, all the offshore and other materials are on ground but the funding is what has been delaying the project.
“Since the committee has assured to release of the funds, I assure you that we can finish this project even before the six months.”
He stated that the project had reached 30 percent level of completion as the first phase had been completed, assuring that what is left would be completed within the stated period.
Representative of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), David Omoleye, lamented that the committee had visited the site twice but nothing was done.
“It is stories upon stories and promises upon promises. This is the third time House committee members are coming here over this project.
This project is very important to KEDCO, because we will use the feeder to supply industrial areas in Kano. The project would boost power supply in Kano and generate revenue for KEDCO.
“We are ready for the project because we have already fixed our marines for the transmission since, but it is yet to be completed,” Omoleye, said.
It was gathered that an agreement has been reached for TCN to pay for all the houses on the land, while the state government is to pay for all the lands affected, for relocation, which costs over N3 billion.
The line from Kaduna to Kano is also critical and must be expanded to be dual circuits in order to supply customers better.
The visiting House Committee members on Power called on the governors of Kaduna and Kano to grant the right of way for the projects to be completed.
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