OrderPaper, Nigeria’s foremost independent parliamentary monitoring organisation, has congratulated Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and Hon. Benjamin Kalu on their emergence as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
The legislative think tank also congratulated all members of the 10th National Assembly on their successful inauguration and stated that the stage was now set for the legislators to deliver services for which Nigerians elected them.
In a statement signed by Oke Epia, Founder/Executive Director of OrderPaper, the organisation extended congratulations to Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Jibrin Barau; the newly elected President and Deputy of the Senate, respectively, calling on them to assert the independence of the legislature while working with the Executive arm of government to deliver the dividends of democracy.
The statement adds that the election of Abass and Kalu as presiding officers of the House of Representatives is a pointer that legislators in the lower chamber were conscious of the attributes of competence and performance in leadership choices.
Both legislators, it should be recalled, were officially recognised as semi-finalists in the selection of inductees into Nigeria’s first-ever Most Valuable Parliamentarian (MVP) Hall of Fame at an impressive ceremony which held on May 21 in Abuja. While Hon. Abass was recognised for having the most assented bills in the 9th House, Hon. Kalu got recognition for the valuable and impactful bills he sponsored.
The MVP Hall of Fame is a Performance Recognition measure conceived to recognise a distinct class of Parliamentarians who have proven to be performance-driven, excellence-inspired, and public-spirited. It has been designed to applaud and encourage exemplary leadership by legislators guided by a community of practice in productive partnerships between the Legislature, Civil Society and the citizenry in Nigeria.
Epia, who is the Convener of the MVP Hall of Fame, said with the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the race for the next inductees has commenced, adding that OrderPaper is committed to working with partners in-country and globally to strengthen the annual performance appraisals which feed into the nominations and final selection.
Calling on the legislators to brace up to the billing of their oath of office and provide productive services to their constituents and the general citizenry of Nigeria, he adds that law-making, representation, and oversight would remain the core duty areas in which their performance would be measured.
The OrderPaper founder stated that the media cum civil society organisation is poised to collaborate with the National Assembly in promoting service delivery and legislative accountability, including the activation of grassroots awareness measures like the Active Citizens Engaging the Legislature (Leg’ACEs) programme it is implementing across the country.
Accordingly, the statement called for increased openness, transparency and accountability in the way the legislature and its members undertake their duties in the new dispensation, adding that citizens expect to see concrete shifts in this regard in terms of attendance at plenary and committees as well as voting on key issues that affect the lives and living conditions of citizens in the country.
The statement hinted that OrderPaper will soon deploy bespoke digital tools across its platforms to enable legislators better interface with constituents while empowering citizens with the capacity and requisite data to track the performance of legislative mandates.
“These tools are geared towards helping us fulfil our mission of bridging the gap between people and parliament,” said Epia.