Why we work with executive arm – Deputy Reps Spokesman, Agbese

Philip Agbese, the Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives has explained that the two-day retreat on ‘Navigating Change: Legislative Strategies for Economic Transformation,’ helped to strengthen members’ oversight capacity, as well as foster collaboration towards economic development and tax reforms.

Agbese stated this in a recent appearance on AIT’s ‘Democracy Today,’ program monitored by DAILY POST.

Agbese who represents Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State, underlined Speaker, Tajudeen Abass’s efforts to bring lawmaking closer to the people through such engagements.

He said the importance of involving critical stakeholders who might not have the chance to attend plenaries, allowing them to contribute meaningfully to national issues.

Regarding the Petroleum Industry Reform Act (2021), Agbese stressed the parliament’s commitment to gradual development and improvement in implementing existing laws for the betterment of the people.

The lawmaker said, “Before the Petroleum Industry Reform Act (2021) was passed and after it was passed, stakeholders raised a series of issues. For us as a parliament, we believe that development is not a one-day journey. It’s a gradual process. The parliament before us did pass that law, it was assented to by the former president and the law is in force.

“So, for us as a parliament, we want to look at the best possible ways to implement what we have at hand now and how to use it to better the lot of our people. And again, how do we improve on it? Because the essence of being in the parliament is to continually improve the livelihood of our people. And that’s what His Excellency, the Honourable Speaker is doing. That was what necessitated the retreat.

“We are all working together, not just with the executive arm of the government but also with the masses. You’ll recall that when His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu presented the budget, Mr Speaker in his speech, categorically mentioned the issue of the welfare of the common citizens of this country.

“That speech earned him accolades across the country because it was the first time that Nigerians saw a leader who does not necessarily come out in the posture of an activist but one who is interested in finding solutions.

Agbese stated that collaboration with the executive should not be seen as surrendering parliamentary powers but rather as exercising those powers wisely in accordance with the constitution.

“Working with the executive should not be seen that we have surrendered our powers to the executive. And again, exercising our powers as contained in the constitution, we must also not be seen as confrontational. So this requires a lot of wisdom and it’s that wisdom that His Excellency, Rt. Hon Tajudeen Abass has deployed towards making sure that Nigerians are protected.” He said.

Agbese commended Speaker Abass for his leadership style, which prioritizes constructive engagement and partnership for the benefit of Nigerians.

He noted that the retreat wasn’t solely about the law but also aimed to equip parliamentarians with a comprehensive understanding of critical issues for effective representation.

“The whole gamut of the retreat wasn’t just about the law. But again as parliamentarians, for us to have a full grasp of the issues so that if we go out to carry out our duties as parliamentarians, we would also have the best understanding of those issues.” He added

Agbese concluded by affirming the necessity for sustained engagement between the parliament and stakeholders across various sectors to ensure continuous improvement and development in Nigeria.

“For you to be able to engage people constructively, it requires that you should also have a certain knowledge base and that’s what Mr Speaker has done. And that’s why part of the recommendations from the retreat was for Mr Speaker to sustain such engagements. It’s something we have to see not only in the oil sector but also in the other sectors.”

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