The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, has described the national and state legislatures from 1999 to date in Akwa Ibom State as rubber stamps for acceding to all the demands of the executive without asking questions that would be beneficial to the people.
Enang, who has been a lawmaker at both state and national levels, said he is disappointed with the quality of representation from the legislators in the state.
Enang stated this in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, while delivering a lecture entitled, “Assessing the performance of Akwa Ibom State Legislators at the State and national levels,” during the 2021 Press week organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ with the theme “Post COVID-19 Economy and the Challenges to Ethical Journalism Ahead of 2023 Elections”
Enang, while recalling the activities of the lawmakers over two decades said, “There is what is called ‘Demon of Office’ which afflicts people in executive offices and that is why the Legislators are there to make laws which will call the executive to order when they err.
“In the whole of Akwa Ibom state, it is only the 1993 Assembly in Akwa Ibom State that was able to override an executive bill during the brief interlude of Obong Akpan Isemin’ s administration as Governor of the state.
“He (Isemin) brought a bill for a supplementary budget of N200m and could not give a breakdown of how the main budget was spent. We rejected it. Which House of Assembly will do that today?
“There was a time a nominee in this State was sent to the house of Assembly for screening we had to turn down the person because he was too old, we told him to go bring his son because we needed younger persons to occupy the positions, how many houses of assembly can do that? rather any person from the governor now, the house approves.
“We stopped the governor from selling a soundproof giant size generator that belonged to the state-owned Brewery company – Champion Breweries by mobilizing all members of the Assembly and intercepted the generator along Calabar Itu road and the plot failed.
“Our kind of Assembly was the type that as a governor you cannot stampede us, we ask questions of what will be of benefit to our people and I encourage other Assemblies to do the same.”
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He added that the National Assembly, through the leadership of late Chuba Okadigbo, passed the bill to establish Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) into law when President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign it into law.
He said, “As the Chairman of Rules and Ethics in the National Assembly, I canvassed for members to sign the NDDC bill into law when former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to accent to the bill.”
Enang, therefore, charged lawmakers to be courageous in their responsibilities as the present crop of lawmakers is not representing the people but their personal interest.
However, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon Aniefiok Akpan when contacted said the Assembly cannot join issues with the presidential aide, adding that the legislators have constitutional duties to follow and they have discharged those duties well.
He wondered why Enang would think and describe the lawmakers as ‘rubber stamp,’ simply because they didn’t impeach the governor.
According to the lawmaker “I refuse to join issues with Ita Enang because it does not mean that when you are not impeaching the governor, you are rubber stamping. We have our constitutional duties that the laws provide for us to follow. We know our bounds, we know what to do and when to do it.
“It does not mean when you don’t impeach a governor you are rubber stamping. We owe our people, Akwa Ibom people a responsibility, we are not looking at Ita Enang as a person but Akwa Ibom people who voted us in office