Those Against Constituency Projects Are Anti- People – Namdas | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Those Against Constituency Projects Are Anti- People – Namdas

Posted: Sep 20, 2016 at 3:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hon.  Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas is the Chairman, Media and Public Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. He was a guest on Channelstv where he spoke on the issues the House will address as it resumes from recess today. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI monitored the session and brings the excerpts:

It’s been several weeks that you and your colleagues are on recess, now you are coming back to see a nation that is plunged into recession. What exactly are the plans of the National Assembly when you get back to work in the hallowed chambers?

I want to tell you that by the grace of God, we will resume officially on Tuesday (today) and we will be in plenary, part of our priority so far is about the economy.  Everybody is worried about the recession that we are in . It is the same thing in the National Assembly, both in the Senate and House of Representatives. This is one area we will like to collaborate with the executives, private sector and experts on the economy, to see how we can fix the economy. Don’t forget that before we went on recess, we had cause to invite the Ministers to come and address us in NASS; to tell us  how they want to diversify the economy and to know about their economic policies and programmes.  Now that we are resuming, I think the economy will be key and we need to pay attention to that.  All the contributions will come from that area.

As a lawmaking body, what role specifically will the National Assembly be playing?

For people who have been following us in the National Assembly, we have taken serious issues up about the economy. For example, the Procurement Act was something that we took upon ourselves.  If you look at the Procurement Act, the period  before you fulfill all righteousness and give out jobs, we feel it is too lengthy and even for mobilisation fees, 15 percent in the Procurement Act must be given before jobs are given are things that we felt  we should look upon and we did that in the House. We have started work on that in earnest and soon, report will be given on that. This is also how to boost the economy. Don’t forget that the House of Reps, to be specific, made attempt to see whether executive bill and PIB will come. So far, we have not seen it in the House of Representatives. There are other issues that will come from members. We will also look at it.

Some are saying that a joint session where the president will be addressing the National Assembly is long overdue. What is your take on that?

Sincerely speaking, it will be a honour to have the president address us in a joint sitting with our senior colleagues in the Senate.  It is not a decision that will be taken by me. It is a leadership decision that will come from the Speaker and other principal officers and also the Senate president and other principal officers. We will be very happy to receive the president.  This was the same president who personally presented the budget  to a joint session sitting the National Assembly. As far as we are concerned, he respects the National Assembly. If this president will come and tell Nigerians what is happening concerning the economy, we will be very grateful but it is not a decision that we will just pronounce, it has to come from the leadership of the National Assembly. But as elected representatives of Nigerians, we will be happy to hear that.

Has the National Assembly been hinted about emergency powers for the president?

I want to say that, for the records, till now, we have not seen any official communication from the president talking about emergency powers that Mr. President is asking for. But I want to tell you that if we receive any communication from the president, I can assure you that we will treat it with all seriousness. We are in economic recession, and therefore if there is any communication, we will see how we can intervene.  It is on record that there is nothing that this president has requested that the National Assembly, right from the time that we were inaugurated on June 9, 2015 till this day has not accepted. So, we will look at it and we will be happy that we all get out of this economic recession that we are in.

A lot of Nigerians are saying that the Constituency projects matter is just a fraud. What is your take on that?

I will like to educate many Nigerians seriously about this constituency project.  The truth is that constituency projects are projects that are given to members. We only nominate projects and domicile them in Ministries and Agencies.  No member of NASS, be it in Senate or House of Reps execute these projects.  It is bidded and it is the MDAs that will give out these projects and later award contracts. Our duty as lawmakers is to supervise. I want to make a clarification here:  I know that right now there are lots of states that are having issues with payment of salaries but that is not for all the states.  So, you don’t expect much development in these states. It is this constituency projects that we attract from the federal government that will give people the opportunity to do these projects in their various constituencies.  If people are saying that these constituency projects should not be executed, they are not just anti- National Assembly, they are also anti-people. People should allow us do it. If there is any problem, we will address it later on. But to say that it should not be done, I think it is not fair.  Some of the people who make this statement against the constituency projects have not been to their villages and wards in the last 30 years, so they don’t know what is happening there concerning the constituency projects. I think we should allow it.