Abuja - The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon.
Yakubu Dogara, on Monday, said the National Assembly (NASS) contributed
greatly to Nigeria’s democracy through the enactment of landmark
He made the remark in a lecture at the opening of the 2016 Annual
National Political Summit organised by the Save Democracy Group Africa
(SDG-Africa) in Abuja.
The legislations, he said, included the Pension Reform Act, the
Privatisation and Commercialisation Act, the Compulsory, Free Universal
Basic Education Act, among others.
He added that the legislature also played a very positive role toward
electoral reforms and the quest for credible elections in the country.
He noted that the legislative arm had used its authority to stabilise
the nation’s polity by providing the required legal framework, including
the Electoral Act for the conduct of elections.
"A notable constitutional amendment was also made to insulate the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from control of the
President of the federation in running its affairs," he added.
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Dogara, therefore, called for proper funding of the legislature, saying, "we cannot actually have a vibrant, independent and highly motivated
legislature ready to take on the executive for good governance and
accountability on behalf of the Nigerian people without proper funding."
"A well funded legislature is cheaper in the long run."
"This is because one properly conducted investigation with NASS that is
financially self sufficient could make savings that may be more than
the yearly budget of the entire Assembly."
He said that the 8th national assembly would sooner than later revisit
the issue of constitution amendment.
In his lecture, Alhaji Maitama Sule, an elderstatesman, urged the summit
delegates to find a way of making African democracy to reflect the
culture of its people.
Sule said that the cultural perimeter of the people should always
determine the peoples’ style of democracy.
"I may be wrong but I think our democracy in Africa is `Euro-centric,
``In your discussion, I will like you to see how we can make our
democracy to really succeed by considering our culture."
Prof. Amos Sawyer, the President of Interim Government of Liberia said
Africa was making progress in establishing and sustaining democratic
institutions in spite of associated challenges.
Some of the challenges, he said, included civil conflict caused by poor
governance, abuse of power, the lack of ideology and internal democracy
among political parties.
He said that "in spite of the imperfections, democracy remains the best
form of government and many African countries are working on free and
Sawyer added that African countries were looking up to Nigeria in
advancing their democracy, especially gender mainstreaming in politics."