The 9th National Assembly and its Bogus 'Welcome Package' – Ishola Adebayo

May 24, 2019

Ahead of the inauguration of the members of the 9th National Assembly, an investigation has revealed that the four hundred and sixty-nine federal lawmakers who were elected on the platform of various political parties in the February 23 National Assembly elections and the subsequent supplementary election are expected to get N4.68bn as ‘Welcome Package’ immediately after their inauguration in June.

The fund is expected to be given to them so as to sort out accommodation and furniture issues. According to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), accommodation and furniture allowances are two of the irregular entitlements of lawmakers and other political office holders.

Each member of the House of Representatives on resumption is by law entitled to N9.926,062.5 being summation of furniture allowance of N5,955,637.5 and accommodation allowance of N3, 970,425. Also, each senator is entitled to N10,132,000 on assumption of office, N4,052,800 goes for accommodation allowance while furniture allowance is N6,079,200.

Nigerians have appeared displeased with the huge sums which public servants will be receiving despite high rate of poverty in the country. Our National Assembly members have failed to realize that the economic realities of Nigeria can no longer support bogus allowances.

If we compare and contrast the Nigerian National Assembly with the US Congress today, it will clearly show that there is a yawning gap in the “modus operandi” of the two institutions. While both institutions, like the British Parliament, are set up to legislate and to work in partnership with the executive and the judiciary to govern, Nigerians will clearly see that the National Assembly has broken all the basic rules compared to the US Congress or the British Parliament.

The parliament is for members to represent their people either as members of the House of Representatives or as Senators. But if we now consider the nitty-gritty of what these individuals do, once elected, we would clearly see that they go to the National Assembly to first and foremost serve themselves and enrich their own pockets at our own expense. Doing the people’s business comes a distant second to their own.

Needless to say more, that the Nigerian National Assembly is more about fashion and glamour than the serious business of making laws, shaping government policies, working in partnership with the executive and the judiciary to proactively and productively make a difference in Nigeria. The whole observation is a sad commentary. Nigerians, it is time to save Nigeria!

Over 1,200 active citizens have shown interest to join SERAP, EiE and BudgIT to file a lawsuit to challenge the legality of N4.68 billion ‘Welcome Package’ for members of the 9th National Assembly.

What are you waiting for? Visit bit.ly/nasslawsuit to join the suit.