BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Leadership of the House of Representatives on Monday declared that the fact that the House is empowered by the Constitution to oversight government agencies, does not in any way mean it should do that with injurious intentions.
It stressed that after all, the wisdom of the oversight duties in the Constitution was NOT to engage in a bickering with the Executive.
This is as the leadership also said that it has observed with great sense of responsibility, the deteriorating working relationship with the Executive arm of Government which is mostly due to misconducts and sometimes deliberate and calculated attempt by some disgruntled government officials to drag the institution of the legislature into needless controversies for political gains.
It therefore assured that it poised to rise to this unfortunate occasion with a view to bringing sanity to the system, adding that as a parliament, its business will continue to be guided by the principle of collective responsibility and collective ownership of governance and government processes at all levels.
The House leadership also described as repulsive that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has seemingly lost the actual meaning and essence of an opposition to have brought in undue politics into a matter of national interest, especially at the time of prevailing health and economic challenges.
The House leadership also said it is ridiculous to discover that the PDP, a supposedly major opposition party in the country, does not know the workings of the National Assembly, let alone knowing where the constitution or House procedures have been breached.
These were contained in a statement by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa while responding to the position of the PDP with regards to the decision of the House to suspend legislative activities for observance of its annual recess.
Doguwa explained that it has never been the practice or tradition of the House to continue with indoor Committee engagements while on annual recess as it’s obtainable in the developed democracies like the US, who are right now enjoying their summer recess, especially now that we are being faced with a global health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Doguwa; “The PDP are always desperate in their typical nature because if they’ve have done their homework well, they’ll know that committees do not sit during our annual summer recess. It’s not only the legislative, the Judiciary is also on recess and apart from few courts that open for administrative purposes, all the courts are locked up and paused to continue cases including corruption cases only upon their resumption.
“It will be of interest to the PDP, the investigations the House is currently undertaking including the Chinese loans cover the 16 years the PDP was in power and when most of the loans were obtained. So, maybe they should be thanking the House leadership for covering up their misdeeds. Hence, making reference to the recent $500 billion China loan by the PDP Spokesman which has already been approved by the National Assembly through a transparent and formal request was either a deliberate misrepresentation of facts or an utter ignorance of the history.
“Therefore, it’s pertinent to know that the government has already captured the recent loan in the 2020 Appropriation law and it should not be a subject of any controversy or query in the committee’s investigation process at least for now. And as a matter of norm and procedure, the House can only wait until disbursements and utilisation commence before embarking on oversight implementation.
“On other investigations into government agencies including Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust (NSITF), the review of the Nigerian Power Sector as well as all other allegations of corruption in government expenditure, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), have not in any way been discontinued as alleged by the PDP as all the pending investigations will continue as the House reconvenes.
“However, the House leadership has come to realize that this flimsy and trumped up accusations from the opposition PDP has rather exposed their blind and visionless political desperations to cause crisis in the polity by using some of its members in the House to foment trouble between the Executive and the APC controlled National Assembly,” the House Leader said.
Doguwa pointedly said that the PDP lacks the moral standing to accuse the leadership of the House for abetting corruption or protecting questionable officials from the ongoing investigation, saying; “For us in the APC, fighting the menace of corruption by prosecuting corrupt individuals has been the cardinal objective of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration”.
He continued; “Therefore, to vindicate the administration and leadership of the House, for the first time in history, many high-profile individuals including former ministers, former governors and public office holders have been prosecuted and convicted without prejudice or unnecessary reflection on party affiliation.
“It is also good for the PDP to summon the strength to understand that the ongoing investigations and public hearings were all and genuinely initiated by the APC leadership in the House and at no time did the House leadership mull over frustrating same.
“At this point, I must also make it clear that the House of Representatives has no clandestine plans or motives to cover up any corrupt engagement or business of the government. But as rational and progressive members, we are indeed committed to our partnership with Buhari administration to fight corruption in all ramifications, and provide good governance.
“Consequently, it must be borne in mind that gone are those seasons when the LEGISLATIVE arm of Government would be stampeded or used by the so-called opposition forces to discredit, undermine or malign our own government.
“Also, we shall take Nigeria to the desired level. We say No! to all forms of external meddling and intrusion, especially from those driven by sinister or partisan interests,” Doguwa enthused.