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OPINION

2019: Towards A Vibrant, Experienced Representation in NASS

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I have consistently argued, and not just for personal reasons, that experience in the national assembly is imperative and an invaluable asset to the party and the constituencies being represented. It takes considerable amount of time to be effective at law making, to understand the ropes, to move bills or motions and to have a grasp of the paraphernalia of goverance at the centre.

This explains why legislators are routinely trained to continuously build capacity in a bid to discharge their responsibilities dutifully. Need I say, that it costs a handful of Money to train federal legislators, and it would be pound foolish for the country not to profit from that investment.

The truth is, Senators like Ike Ekweremadu, Ahmed Lawan, or even Femi Gbajabiamila in the green chambers just to mention but a few, are able to push bills through faster in the Senate having gathered the requisite experience and the wit for sensible politicking.

Their political party and the constituencies they represent are usually the beneficiaries of such experience. Moreso, senators that have stayed longer in the Senate have displayed a rare capacity to attract more projects to their constituents as well as the privilege of rank, in canvassing their positions or lending their voice to National Debates.

James Manager, for instance, was able to achieve the The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State through the bill he sponsored in the Senate. Beyond the quality and appropriateness of the bill, it was his experience, lobbying and politicking, gathered from serving 3 terms in the Senate, that ensured the success of the bill.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa is also drawing from such experience to move forward his bill to see Yabatech upgraded to a university through the City University of Technology Bill sponsored by him.

Of course, I’m a stickler for merit and would not advocate that a non performing representative be returned to the national assembly just to halt the excessive turnover of legislators. However, those who have laurels to show and have fought the good fight should not be denied further opportunity.

On this I completely align with the position of the chairman of my party, the APC, comrade Adams Oshiomole who recently encouraged the party to reward Loyalty and Experience. He said “Let me assure all of us that the National Working Committee is making this promise publicly and we are doing you no favour. Legislation and the legislature requires experience because nobody can give what he does not have. We see people like Senator McCain, when they speak, the American people listen. High turn over of legislators is not a value to be celebrated. What we should celebrate is experience which cannot be read in books, but can only be acquired on the job.

I want to reassure you that we will do everything possible to change the old narrative of heavy turn over every four years and the ‘politics of you have done enough, step aside’ will change over time for the good of Nigeria and for the maintenance of democracy”.

Without a doubt, Senator Ashafa has remained loyal to the party and his constituents and I believe the experience he has gathered in nearly two terms in the Senate will prove a valuable asset in the coming years for his constituents and Nigerians.

Senator Ashafa remains passionate and committed to delivering on every promise made to his constituents, to provide legislative support to the executive, to defend our dear constitution and to ensure that the common man finds hope in our dear country. Thankfully, Senator Ashafa has again answered the clarion call from his constituents to continue to serve them at centre dutifully.

Temitope Atiba is a lawyer and the Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa.



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