By Cecilia Ijuo
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun has assured that the National Assembly would not renege on its promise to re-visit the issue of devolution of power in the Constitution amendment process.
Lasun gave the assurance when speaking with newsmen at the sideline of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU) Assembly on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The deputy speaker, who is part of the Nigerian delegation to the assembly said the reactions that followed failure of devolution of power passing through during the vote on constitution amendment showed how critical it was.
He said the resolve to re-visit the issue was in line with the 137th IPU theme, which is “ Promoting Cultural Pluralism and Peace through Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic Dialogue.
He stressed that devolution of power had been part of the call for the restructuring of the country to ensure adequate distribution of resources, which would in turn ensure peaceful co-existence.
“The Nigerian parliament has been mindful of the things agitating the minds of the people. If you recall, about two months ago, we tried to amend some sections of the Constitution.
“It was consequent upon that event that we now know that what is left in Nigeria today is to try to see how we can devolve power to different tiers of government.
“We voted on so many items and people were able to screen through and said though we passed some items through the most important one, which is devolution of power did not scale through.
“And to show that parliament in Nigeria has been up to the task, we promised that in the next few months we are going to re-visit the issue so that we can have peace in our country.
On the increasing conflict in the world, the deputy speaker said all hands must be on deck to finding a lasting solution to the problems that lead to conflict across the globe.
“In the last few years we have been feeling the intense heat of extremism, Xenophobic attacks, the issue of racism has started rearing its head again and we also have the issues of intolerance.
“These are the issues that the whole world is facing today and everybody is trying to find a way of settling the conflicts.
`This is because it is in the midst of peace that we can have democracy and without democracy it is very difficult to have economic development.
“So we have to first of all find a way of achieving peace, then from achieving peace we can begin to have development,’’ he said.
Lasun said the 8th National Assembly was poised to making laws that will promote peace and unity as well as take advantage of its oversight powers to dialogue with different sections of the country.
He further said that the national assembly would continue to engage the executive towards ensuring that it improved on its policies and programmes to enable the public feel the positive impact of government.
On the boosting relationship executive and the legislature relationship, the deputy speaker said Nigerians were yet to come to the understanding that the parliament played an important role in governance.
He said the parliament that defined democracy and ought to be recognized as an integral part of governance.
According to him, the people often criticise the parliament and assume that it is by doing so that there will be good governance.
“It is by supporting the parliament to grow that you can actually grow democracy because if you don’t support parliament to grow, you are not likely to be able to grow your democracy.
“So, a lot of the people in executive do not understand the fact that it is parliament that defines democracy and whatever you want to do, you have come through the parliament by way of backing your policies up with legislations.
“People must fully understand the fact that parliament is the most important part of democracy.
“If you go the constitution today, the arm of government that is first listed in the constitution is the parliament. The next one is the executive and the third one is the judiciary.
“So, the drafters of the constitution did not make mistakes by making sure that parliament is first listed and yet it is the least understood arm of government.
“So the gap exists because people do not understand that parliament is the most important part of democratic experience,’’ he said.