Speaker urges journalists to educate Nigerians on legislative duties

By Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives has urged the media to educate Nigerians more on the duties of the legislative arm of government.

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila made the call at the Press Week of the House of Representatives Press Corps, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He said that the public has a different perspective about the role of the legislature and that the media needs to correct the impression.

“It is important that the misconception about the legislative is seriously addressed by the media. A lot of people are not coming back majorly because of the role of the governors. Nigerian people need to know. We will continue to be there for the people”, Gbajabiamila said.

While appreciating the media’s commitment and support to the ninth National Assembly, the Speaker said the House will continue to make laws that will protect the Nigerian people.

The Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, said the media has contributed greatly to the reputation of the 9th National Assembly.

He noted that the media has a critical role to play about educating the public more about the legislature and what they do at the committee and constituency level.

He advised the media on the need to raise the confidence of the people by educating Nigerians on the details of the Electoral Acts.

“You have a role to play in the education of the people. Stand beside a campaign that is based on issues. The voting pattern of Nigerians should be on what a politician has done, can do and will do”, Hon Kalu said.

The Guest Lecturer and the Director General of the National Institute For Legislative And Democratic Studies, (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, in his lecture titled ‘Turnover Trend In The Nigerian Legislature’, said that various Studies conducted by NILDS in the past and the recent one by Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole, CFR (2022) have indicated that the re-election to the Nigeria legislative houses at both national and state level has been very low, leading to high rate of legislative turnover in the country.

He said that in the House of Representatives, studies also show that out of 360 members in the 2011-2015 National Assembly, only 100 (28%) were re-elected while 260(72.2%) were made up of new members.

Prof. Suleiman also noted that the low turnover of the legislature was not good for the growth of the parliament.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Ms Grace Ike, said that the House of Representatives Press Corps will continue to work towards promoting good governance, being objective, balanced and fair in reporting Parliamentary activities.

“In the course of our reportage, we have watched with keen interest individuals who have contributed their quota in promoting the legislative system and choose to honour them today. These individuals have distinguished themselves in building and sustaining democracy in their own way”, Ms Ike said.

She said that “As Journalists covering the National Assembly, we are set to witness the highest turnover of Lawmakers in the 2023 election and this is a cause to worry about”. 

The theme of the House of Representatives Press Corps week was ‘High Turnover of Lawmakers: Impact and way forward’.