Members of the newly inaugurated National Assembly have been enjoined to eliminate the huge monthly emoluments and running costs, in order to make more resources available for governance.
The ninth NASS was also advised to live above board, eschew corruption and promote the anti-corruption crusade of the federal government starting from themselves.
This was the thrust on foremost political radio show, ‘Talk Politics with Eniola Awokoya’, which aired on Happenings Radio on Monday.
Hosted by investigative journalist, Eniola Awokoya, with Editor Fisayo Soyombo as a special guest, the programme focused on the topic ‘Setting Agenda for the Ninth NASS.’
According to Soyombo,“The very first thing this National Assembly leadership needs to do is to win the heart of the people. Lawan and Gbajabiamila have won for themselves and now they should win the hearts of the people and assure that they will be different from the previous legislatures.
“Number one thing they should look into is the fact that, the running cost of a Senator is 13.5 million naira per month! In addition to 200 million naira every month as constituency project. I can tell you for a fact that less than 10 percent of these constituency projects happen. A lot of work was done last year by journalists to investigate and see these projects but they could not be found. As a matter of fact, these projects are not even budgeted for and this means that there is a form of secrecy because they are not clearly spelt out.
“So if this legislature will be credible, a caller said reduce, No. I say they should eliminate constituency projects, stop and cut off all the monthly running costs and constituency projects they collect money for.
“The excuse is always the people demand money from the Senator. Let the people know that there is no more money to share. According to the 1999 Constitution, the primary role of the legislature is to make laws for peace and good governance of this country to the benefits of the citizens. They should focus on that responsibility. They should show they want to work for the people, they want to fight corruption and they should start with themselves.”
The programme also touched on the issue of restructuring and whether this will find its way to the front burner of debates in the ninth National Assemly.
Soyombo, explained that, “Restructuring can happen if the National Assembly sets it as an agenda. The kind of restructuring we need is one to make all Nigerians a part of the society they find themselves in irrespective of tribe. Although, this law is there but our sentiments prevent them from happening and that is why we need to entrench it and make it practical. We need to abolish quotas and catchment areas in our systems. We must also have an open mind that you can be from Akwa-Ibom State and be a Governor in Kano State. We should understand that the issue is not always about the system but also about the people because even if you change the democratic system to a single tenure of six years, whoever will steal would still steal. The National Assembly should identify the components of restructuring that we want and then we take it up from there.”
‘Talk Politics with Eniola Awokoya’ is a weekly political talk show on Happenings radio and is aimed at awakening the political giants in Nigerian youths and imbibe in them the need to be actively involved in the political discourse that will rightly position Nigeria in the comity of thriving African nations.
It airs every Monday by 11am and is hosted by award-winning broadcast journalist, Eniola Awokoya.