The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, has attributed the negative perceptions many Nigerians have about the National Assembly to years of insensitivity to their plights on the part some lawmakers in the previous assemblies.
Basiru, who featured on a social media live show, Politics Everywhere With SOK, on Wednesday night, said the situation is so bad that majority of Nigerians have the erroneous impression that all the legislators go to the chambers to do is to make money.
A statement by Proumou Media Consulting, the firm powering and promoting the weekly Live Instagram show, quoted Basiru as saying that neutralising the existing poor perception by Nigerians is the first major task of his committee.
Basiru, who was until his new appointment the chairman of the Senate Committee on Diaspora, said: “Several factors are responsible for the poor perception.
“One is what I said earlier, which is the long period of military dictatorship.
“Our people have not been used to the importance and even the work of the National Assembly.
“And to many, it is as if members of the National Assembly are just there to collect money.
“But in reality, the bulwark of democratic governance is the legislature.
“Second reason is the track record of insensitivity on the part of past National Assemblies to the plight of Nigerians, which has created a situation of suspicion and a drawback for our democratic institution.”
Basiru said apart from insensitivity, some past lawmakers have been found to be unserious in manners and conduct, thereby projecting wrong impressions about the entire body of lawmakers.
He said: “Also is the fact that we find such individuals who found their ways to the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly whose conducts in the past have portrayed the hallowed chamber in a very unserious manner.”
Basiru said these negative perceptions are already changing with the new leadership and with what he called “the new agenda that we call a National Assembly that works for Nigerians.”
The committee chairman urged Nigerians to follow the activities of the National Assembly, noting that the almost 70 committees would now furnish them with robust information on oversight functions.
He said the lack of this had been largely responsible for the inability of Nigerians to fully keep abreast of the heavy duties that lay on the lawmakers.