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Legislative oversight ensures accountability

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By Mercy Kelani

It evaluates and monitors other arms of Nigerian government.

Speaker of the House of representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, recently stated that the oversight of the National Assembly, responsible for holding the other arms of government accountable is significant to the democracy of Nigeria. He also asserted that the 10th Assembly will ensure accountability to the public. This information was revealed at a one-day workshop, organized by the Directorate of Planning and Legislative Budget of the National Assembly, on “Assessment of the National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy of Nigeria and the Role of Legislature”.

Represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Budget, Hon. Mohammed Omar Bio, the speaker said that it was in accordance with the agenda of the 10th Assembly to ensure that there is proper management of the country’s commonwealth for the good of every Nigerian, through oversight. It was also stated that a key part of the constitutional responsibility of the Legislature, which is known as the oversight, is the act of evaluation and monitoring.

Assessment of the performance of government policies is assured.

He added that as the representatives of Nigerian citizens, the Legislature sees to it that the accountability of the government remains intact in aspects of utilization of funds and implementation of policies and laws, which is done through oversight. He further explained that these policies and laws are classifications of the aspirations and hopes of the people of Nigeria. Thus, ensuring accountability is an essential function that is significant to democracy as a government of the people.

According to Speaker Abbas, monitoring and evaluation is a national policy and a framework devised as a means to institutionalize culture of good governance and standard practices in accountability and public investment to improve the socio-economic development of the society. With the policy, assessment of the performance of government policies is possible as it helps the government with identification of successful areas and improvement of strategies in the application of resources towards achievement of good governance.

Committees are now compulsorily required to make quarterly reports.

As the legislative arm of the government, the National Assembly is an essential democratic institution saddled with the constitutional responsibility of carrying out the evaluation and monitoring of executive bodies, according to the provision of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution. While dutifully carrying out this obligation, the National Assembly has successfully revealed high-profile cases of corruption and financial mismanagement and assisted in the recovery of public funds, curbed misappropriation, and ensured judicious use of public resources.

Also, Speaker Abbas asserted that as part of the Legislative Agenda, the 10th House aims at improving the conduction of “this very critical function”. He likewise stressed that the conduct of oversight will no longer be business as usual. As contributory efforts that these activities of the House achieve the desired outcome, the Speaker of the House said that committees are now compulsorily required to make quarterly reports of their activities to the House’s leadership and ensure submission of reports regarding any investigative hearings to the House.

The 10th Assembly is introducing the “Open NASS” project.

Additionally, there are now code of ethics and guidelines to guide committee members. This is to ensure accountability and transparency, and to discourage members from conflicts of interest. Also, the 10th Assembly is introducing the “Open NASS” project to engage citizens in legislative activities and to permit citizens the opportunity to challenge the usage of allocated funds by the National Assembly. He concluded by saying that the House must also be ready to accept questions concerning the usage of public funds.

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