★As House Press Corps honours lawmakers, committee clerks
Spokesman of the House, Hon Benjamin Kalu, who received an award as the Most Outstanding Spokesman of the House, lauded the Press Corps for its effort in strengthening democracy. He said the Corps has given stability to the image of the National Assembly. He also said journalists were not getting what they deserved and more should be done to take care of them. This was at the end of year get together and award ceremony organized by the House of Representatives Press Corps over the weekend in Abuja.
Some Members of the House of Representatives over the weekend gave thumbs up to leadership and members of the 9th House for the unique way in which they conducted their affairs and the successes recorded as a result. The lawmakers who are chairmen of very key committees of the House were unanimous in their verdict regarding the performance of the 9th Assembly, crediting the operational style of the leadership and the watchdog role of the media. Chairman, House of Committee on Power, Hon. Magaji Da’u Aliyu, who was honoured with an award of the Most Impactful Power Committee Chairman of the House’ attributed the uniqueness and the success of the 9th Assembly to the leadership quality and style of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
He expressed delight at the milestone achieved by the 9th House, adding that not for the leadership quality and style of the speaker, the height attained by the House wouldn’t have been possible. “He said, “I am proud of the 9th National Assembly. I have been around for some time but the 9th Assembly we think we did a lot of things differently. We worked together. We worked very hard and were able to achieve our set out targets. All this goes to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the kind of leadership he has offered to us. This 9th Assembly is scandal free and we also wish to commend ourselves for that. I also wish to commend the Press Corps for keeping us on our toes trying to make us do the correct things because if you know that there are people watching you that would make you do the right thing. We would continue to work together,” he said.
The Lawmaker also expressed regrets over the manner in which journalists are treated in Nigeria despite the importance of the work done by journalists. He said everything possible must be done to ensure that journalists are happy and they are doing their work well. He lauded the Press Corps for always keeping the lawmakers on their toes and always ensuring that the right things are done both at plenary and committee level. “I appreciate the Press Corps for the stability they have given to the image of the National Assembly. It has not been like this before. Rancour free, acrimony free. There is this integrity in the mind of Nigerians about the NASS.
The confidence level has gotten from where it was to where it is at the moment not because of only what we did but also because of how you showcased what we are doing to the Nigerian people. People are beginning to understand that this fulcrum of democracy is actually playing a vital role in the advancement for our democracy. “We have been believers of participatory democracy, where we bring the people to the centre stage and what my committee has done is to increase the level of interaction and engagement between the people and the parliament. We make ourselves available and accessible to journalists. “We must attend to your call and that has placed us on our toes to be one step ahead. So that we would not fail in your expectation in making sure we are resourceful with the right information that would guide your publications to enable people understand better, to make Nigerians understand our story from the horse’s mouth.
“These and more other sectoral engagements we have carried out in the country shows that the parliament wants to harvest the opinion of the people so as to formulate our policies and laws in line with the desires of the people, based on the needs analysis gotten from the collective opinion of Nigerians. You have helped us achieve that by making sure you don’t tell the stories the way they are not. You have decided to make sure that at all times what you presented to the public was nothing but the truth and I commend you,” Kalu said.