By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara on Friday in Abuja enjoined Senators and Reps elect to ensure quality representation of their various constituencies who voted for them.
He said though the challenges of insecurity, unemployment, underemployment, poverty and others may overwhelm them when they assume office, they must not lose sight of the important job of alleviating the suffering of Nigerians.
Speaking at a dinner organised for the members and senators-elect in Abuja, he stressed that the most effective way of making this happen is through a knowledge- based legislative practice that will yield desired results effectively.
The Speaker also asked them to clear their minds of any impression that by getting sworn in as members of the National Assembly they are being inducted into an exclusive club of some kind of elites in the country, as they are “merely ambassadors of our different constituencies, and by extension, the nation Nigeria.”
He stated, “We cannot afford to go to sleep as elected representatives of our people in these very challenging environment that our people have found themselves,” he stated,
He added that “Whether we’re talking of insecurity in the country, or the challenge of unemployment, as a matter of fact, underemployment is as grave a challenge as unemployment in this country now. Whether it is the struggling economy or the description that is now ascribed to Nigeria that we are the poverty capital of the world, that was said to us here in this same venue, but in a different phrase.
“Let me remind us that very soon, after this orientation program, we are going to get the oath of office into the chambers and by that, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves that we are getting inducted into an exclusive club of some kind of elites in this country, but merely ambassadors of our different constituencies, by extension, the nation Nigeria. No ambassador brings dishonor to his own country, those that have served in embassies know that very well. If you bring dishonour to your own government, the remedy is for you to be recalled back home, but I hope that we’ll not bring dishonour.
“So, it therefore means that we cannot afford to fail the people who sent us, the only thing we require to make a difference is knowledge. Our parliament must be a knowledge based parliament. If we have no knowledge; we cannot do the work, or succeed in the task that is before us.”
Hon Dogara also charged them to not spend any time idling as they take up their representative duties on assumption of office, but to ensure that they begin by focusing on those things that will fulfill the promise of democracy to the citizens, which include liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“That is the first promise upon which all other promises of democracy are anchored, even the promise of the security of lives and properties which is the first responsibility of government by our Constitution. We are all witnesses to the general insecurity facing us, whether it is acts of criminality, kidnapping, crisis of Boko Haram and the challenges of bandits, it is one promise that as a nation we are still struggling to deliver to our people. If you are not alive, what Liberty can one enjoy? Even if you are alive and free, the next promise of democracy talks of your pursuit of happiness. And an individual who is not engaged in the pursuit of happiness, can you truly say that such an individual is free?
“These are some of the questions that we must answer on behalf of our people who queued under the rain and sunshine to ensure that we are voted into office. It is not enough that we have gone through this training, it is good that we have received this training, and some of us are very keen, from the eagerness I saw expressed by the participants in the session I chaired, I can see that some of us are ready to learn. Learning is something we should never stop doing, because the very day we stop learning, that day we start dying,” he stated.