• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Buhari wants NASS to exercise mandate, strengthen democracy

Buhari admits past mistakes

President Muhamadu Buhari has urged the National Assembly to focus its mandate and exercise the power thereof so as to avoid the friction always associated with some interpretation of the law.

Buhari gave the advice in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the maiden edition of the Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series,’ organised by the National Assembly in collaboration with the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies.

Represented by Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation, the President said the theme for the lecture, “The legislature, legislative mandate and the people -The reality and the public perception” was apt and would present an opportunity to the legislature to effectively exercise its mandate.

According to him, the executive arm of government shall continue to build on the existing good working relationship with the legislature to advance the interest of every Nigerian and deliver public good.

“I charge the National Assembly and the Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies to ensure that the outcome of the lecture is well documented and circulated. l similarly charge you to ensure that this lecture series is sustained and targeted at addressing key national and constitutional issues in a manner that would strengthen our democracy, eliminate grey areas and enthrone best practices”, the President added.

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Ahmad Lawan, president of the Senate, who delivered the lecture, called for prioritisation of policies to tackle socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians, in the areas of health, education, job creation, security and poverty, among others.

Lawan recommended improved coverage of legislative activities with a view to promoting good governance.

“Introduce measures targeted at improving knowledge about the legislature among members of the public. This is important owing to the fact that low levels of knowledge of the legislature are a significant barrier to public engagement with the institution. This extends to an understanding of how the legislature and its committee work, as well as its day-to-day activities.

“Introduce more measures that encourage public participation in the legislative process. It is important that detailed information about legislative activities and opportunities to be involved in the decision-making process should be made easily available to members of the public, through a range of media, including a more detailed and interactive website, streaming of plenary and committee activities, use of newsletters and bulletins, legislative radio, etc, he added.

Abubakar Suleiman, the director-general of NILDS, said the lecture series has been initiated as a bi-annual event to broaden legislative experience by bringing together eminent speakers to share knowledge and encourage thought-provoking conversations on issues of national importance, especially those having relevance to the legislature.

“The intention is to provide a platform for the Senate President to demonstrate the relevance of the National Assembly and its contribution to democratic governance in Nigeria. It thus provides citizens with a valuable opportunity to learn about the work of the 9th Assembly in greater depth and clarify some of the misconceptions and outright fallacies that have sadly shaped the image of the National Assembly over time.

“We believe that such an engagement, undertaken at regular intervals, is critical to improving legislative openness and in the process encourage citizen’s participation and dialogue to raise the awareness and interest of citizens to participate in the work of parliament,” Suleiman said.