The Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Mr Ojo Amos, has stated that inadequate funding was inhibiting legislators from performing their oversight functions.
He made the remark at at a three-day capacity building workshop for directorate cadre staff of the Senate, in Abuja on Monday.
Amos said: “It is regrettable that funding has been inhibiting the activities of our committees, especially, in the area of effective oversight functions.
“In comparison to what is available as global best practice; committees should have vehicles, fully equipped secretariat and funds to conduct their activities.
“There must be diligent record keeping, for easy and quick referencing always, for the purpose of rendering smooth advice to the legislators; while there is need to formulate realistic annual work plans for the committees.
“It is imperative that the Senate, the highest legislative partner in Nigeria’s representative democracy, needs to continuously respond to rising expectations of its constituents.
“This is in order to be on top of its constitutional functions of representation, law making and other oversight duties”.
Amos said the internal workings of the parliament and relations with the other branches of government, especially the executive, were fundamental to the health of the National Assembly in Nigeria.
“Directors should be accountable to their committees and departments, because under our watch, we will not entertain any excuse, as we will not hesitate to apply the public service rules against any erring staff”.
The training was organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) for staff on the directorate level.
In his remarks, Director-General NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, said that the ability of the legislature to effectively deliver on its mandate depended on its human resources.
“Both legislators, but equally importantly, parliamentary staff, who provide essential support to legislators and their activities need capacity building workshops to enhance their jobs.
“Also, for effective parliaments, enhanced democracy, and generally to promote good governance and socio-economic development, there is need for capacity building of the staff.
“More so, staff are the backbone of the legislature, serving not only as engine-room but also the institutional memory of the Assembly”.
Sulaiman said that the workshop was designed following a needs assessment study conducted by the Clerk, Senate, in 2020, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In addition to that, the institute recognises the serious lacunae that opened up in the National Assembly following mass retirements in the last two years.
“This has made the need for training of staff even more necessary, to ensure smooth operations of the assembly particularly in core legislative areas such as chamber operations, among others”.
The director-general further said the institute had already lined up similar workshops for middle and low level cadre of the Senate’s staff on GL 12-14, GL 8-10 and GL 4-7.
He added that the trainings would also be extended to the staff of the House of Representatives.
Declaring the workshop open, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, noted that to achieve improved quality, the workshop needed to focus on directorate level staff of the senate, as a crucial cadre of the senate bureaucracy.
Represented by Senate Minority Whip, Sen. Philip Aduda, the senate president said the implication of this was the recognition that NILDS was concerned with not only the overall improvement of service delivery” but a growth in the performance levels of different service grades.
“The NILDS training does not also imagine that we have not been hard working. It rather envisages avenues of improvement, aside from reminding us of new techniques in service delivery”, Lawan added
Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.
2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.
2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”
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