President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday reiterated that the 8th National Assembly remains committed to accountability and transparency in the discharge of its legislative and oversight functions.
Saraki who stated this during the opening session of the 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference (CSPOC), in Abuja, added that the National Assembly recognizes that there is wide spread public distrust of public institutions.
“We also recognize that there is a lot of public misconception and misperception about the functions and contributions of the legislature to development,” Saraki said. “Indeed, very few in our society are aware of the numerous legislative interventions aimed at responding to national economic challenges, addressing poverty and rebuilding infrastructure.”
The Senate President noted that the limited knowledge about the core functions of the legislature has manifested in the high turnover of legislators during every electoral cycle and advocated for robust public enlightenment on the relevance of the legislature’s responsibilities and contribution to nation building.
He said: “As you are no doubt aware, the legislature is the only arm of government that conducts its business in the open. This perhaps accounts for the special interest that its activities have generated.
“In Nigeria for example, purchase of a single car for a legislator is likely to generate so much heat in the media and the public arena whereas, a non-elected minister of government can move about with a convoy of cars and retinue of Aides without similar interest.
“I however do not consider this as a disadvantage but a call to higher service and accountability. I am convinced that we shall not disappoint our citizens who have placed high expectations on us.
“Let me on behalf of the National Assembly of Nigeria, renew our unflinching commitment to our partnership and collaboration with the other arms of government. Let me also reiterate our evolving goal of taking lawmaking back to the people especially.
“We are fostering this commitment with proactive engagements with civic groups, professional bodies, international development partners and various stakeholders with the sole aim to impact our people’s lives positively.
“As we have articulated in both the Senate and House Legislative Agenda for the 8th National Assembly, we are committed to accountability and transparency at all times,” he said.