The attention of the Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative has been drawn to yet another comic opera that played out in the Federal House of Representatives, on Monday 17th August, 2020, this time, involving the Minister for Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the Chairman House Committee on treaties, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (Delta, PDP).
The sad occurrence brings to the fore, the obvious fact that the National Assembly members in some committees deliberately overstep the limits of their oversight functions, to serve their personal interests while pretending to represent the people and serve the Nation.
It will be recalled that a few months ago, they faced off with Hon. Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, over the 774,000 jobs scheme of the Federal Government. Next, they had a face-off with Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, over the allegation of contract awards to NASS members by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Again, they fell out with Sen. Chris Ngige, the Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment over 2019 election issues which was clearly unconnected to his official duties. And now, it is a face-off with Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Honourable Minister for Transportation.
The frequency of these occurrences has become a cause for worry for many a Civil Society Organization, and the Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative, as an accountability advocacy group, makes bold to say call for a halt in the gradual descent of the National Assembly into a full-blown theatre of the absurd.
It is worrisome that the NASS feels free to investigate MDAs based on frivolous petitions, sometimes, from faceless groups, but will not turn in their members accused, with evidence, for complicity and culpability in the sleaze going on in the MDAs they oversight.
There is no better time to call for “Open NASS” than now.
We call on the President to order a Forensic Audit into the accounts of the National Assembly because Nigerians will like to know how it is being spent on the public hearings that have become a comedy of sorts. The fact that billions are voted for the renovation of the NASS complex, yearly, while ordinary Air Conditioners in the venue for these public hearings are barely functional speaks volumes.
The time to stem the tide of this absurdist theatre is now!
Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe
Francis Udoka Ndimkoha
National Publicity Secretary