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Reps Speakership And The Olatubosun Challenge

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Hon. Olajide Olatubosun, who represents Saki West/Saki East/Atisbo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives recently threw his hat in the ring for the position of Speaker of the House in the incoming 9th National Assembly. JONATHAN NDA-ISAIAH writes on the member-elect’s  aspiration despite the ruling APC’s stand.

The race for the speakership of the House of Representatives is gathering momentum as new entrants have entered the race. Although the All Progressives Congress (APC) had zoned the position to Hon. Femi Gbajaimaila, this has not dissuaded other lawmakers from indicating interest in the plum job.

Apart from Gbajabiamila, the trio of Hon. Umar Bago (APC, Niger); Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia) and Hon. John Dyegh (APC, Benue) have all indicated interest to take over from from the outgoing Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Out of the blues, Hon. Olajide Olatubosun, who is also from the south-west as Gbajabiamila declared that he is interested in the job. Political observers contended that his entry has further thrown the race wide open.

The north-central zone has also argued that it derserve the number four position in the country having gave President Muhammadu Buhari the third highest number of votes in the last presidential election.

Meanwhile, Olatubosun, who appears like a dark horse in the race, is not leaving anything to chance. In a recent chat with journalists he said he decided to run for the office of the speaker because Nigeria has gotten to a point that men of goodwill must not hold back.

“We have to stand up to be counted. The National Assembly, most especially the House of Representatives where I belong, needs good, quality leadership. A Nigerian that can unite members of the House across political divides and also unite Nigerians in general regardless of their ethnic and religious beliefs.

“The House also needs a Speaker that will ensure harmony between the executive and the legislature. I thank God for what the incumbent Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, has done and if by God’s grace I get elected as Speaker by my colleagues, I’ll ensure that those things he has done very well are consolidated.

“For instance, look at the issue of the passage of budget, it’s been a source of concern to Nigerians that our budgets don’t get passed on time. I can assure that if I get elected the appropriation law will be passed in record time so that government can run smoothly. I’ll also ensure that other bills coming from the executive and those coming from members are passed speedily.

“Also a source of concern to the people is that a lot of our youths are employed. How can we ensure that we come up with legislations that will drive the economy, the capital market, the investment environment to ensure that Nigerians invest in the country and attract foreign direct investments to Nigeria. One of the areas that gives me a lot of concerns is our public budgeting that is inefficient. At least I have been a member if the Appropriation Committee for the past three and half years and it is an area of priority for me. How can we make it better so that we can get value for money from the public funds committed to projects in the budgeting process.

“Above all if I become the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, I’ll ensure that day in day out, we do things that meet the expectations of Nigerians,” Olatubosun said.

When asked about the things he will want to do differently if elected as the speaker, he said, “We will work on the perception of Nigerians about we legislators. As they say in marketing, ‘perception is real’. By the grace of God, that image through proactive measures, leading by example, walking the talk to show that we are part of the people, we are not from another planet, we feel their pains, we are together, we feel their frustrations and that even our lifestyles will reflect that we are for the Nigerian people.”

“On the job itself, I’ll make sure that oversight is more effective. It will be more painstaking, more meticulous and that if we have situations that are not satisfactory, the reports will be written accordingly. We will ensure that budgets are passed more speedily to correct the public perception that we are just holding to the document deliberately. Also bills coming from the executives and members on the economy, security, human rights most especially on vulnerables-women, children, IDPs will be dealt with expeditiously.

“Security Trust Fund Bill, which we are unable to conclude in this Assembly will be promoted. Lastly, the issue of revenues, lot of leakages, TSA fantastic idea, we will ensure that we strengthen by legislation and also look at the issue of reports of the Auditor General. We have to ensure that whatever is the report, in accordance to our laws that action is taken so that people will at least know that it is not business as usual,” he added.

On how he is going to manage the legislative/executive relationship against the backdrop of the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, he said separation is very important because government will outlive all of us.

According to him, “we are just on the stage and we must ensure that we protect this institution of parliament without compromising its integrity. Having said that, we must cooperate with the executive. Fortunately, we have a President who means well for this country. Without compromising the independence of the House, we’ll cooperate with other arms of government. It’s not going to be about confrontation.”

“Really by design, the three arms of government are supposed to be what you call coordinates. None is inferior to the other; they must support themselves in a way that separation of powers is guaranteed while also ensuring that checks and balances is also not compromised. Once you take away checks and balances, the essence of presidential democracy is lost. So there will be cooperation without necessarily compromising the independence,” he pointed out.

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