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Dogara: Poverty Threatening Nigeria’s Democracy | The Precision

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that extreme poverty is threatening Nigeria’s democracy.
Speaking
when he received a delegation from the Conference of Speakers of
Nigerian State Legislatures, led by Hon Ismaila Abdulmumin Kamba, in his
office on Wednesday,
Hon. Dogara, noted that there is the urgent need for governments at all
levels to put the citizens on the path of prosperity in order to save
the country’s democracy.
To achieve this, he said, State Houses of Assembly will have to work hard to improve  their
monitoring of state funds to ensure that they are properly utilised for
the betterment of their people as doing this will help lift the vast
population of the people from poverty.
He
stated, “We know that if something has to be done at the level of
government that will translate into a better life of our people, it must
begin from the local government level, at the state level, and then
before we even talk about the federal level.”
The
speaker, however, advised that while they should be fearless in
carrying out their responsibilities, they should oversight their state
executives without being combative.
“In democracy, we worship no one, we should fear only God but we respect men. When
you have a parliament that only responds to the demands of the
executive, there is no way we can make progress. We have to carry out
our responsibilities without having any fear at all,” he stated.
“The
promise of democracy is basically life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. It therefore means that if a citizen is poor, he is excluded
from the promise of democracy. He may have a life but as a matter of
fact,  his kind of life is even worse than death. So poverty tends to
becloud someone’s sense of reasoning and imagination.”
“That
is why even at the level of the United Nations, a day has been set
aside to talk about the elimination of extreme poverty which excludes
citizens of democracy from the promise of democracy and that promise is
the pursuit of happiness. If you are poor, you may not have a life and
even if you have a life, it may not be desirable. A poor man is not
free, you know that very well except you have not tasted poverty. So
completely, you are eliminated from the promise of democracy.”
The
Speaker therefore  called on the state MPs to utilise the opportunity
in the proposed amendments to approve financial autonomy for state
legislatures and local governments councils in order to free themselves
from the reins of state executives and strengthen their roles of
oversight.
He
also  explained the delay in the transmission of the Constitution
Amendment Bills recently passed by both chambers of the National
Assembly to state MPs, saying it is as a result of  ongoing
consultations between the two Houses to harmonised all areas of
differences in order to produce a uniform document.

Condemning
the use of the term “Abuja politicians” to describe federal
legislators, he noted that most of their work at the federal level is
primarily for the development of the grassroots where most of their
voters reside.
“At the
federal level, whatever we do kind of translate into an impact at the
local level where a majority of our people live. As a matter of fact, I
find it very funny, if not offensive, that some people refer to some of
us as Abuja politicians as if we were voted for here in Abuja. Not
minding that our people are there, our brother here who is from Bauchi
State knows the kind of struggle we go through during elections. So, as
far as I am concerned, it beats my imagination when someone refers to a
legislator as an Abuja politician,” he explained.
Earlier,
chairman of the Conference of Speakers of Nigerian State Legislatures.,
Hon Ismaila Abdulmumin Kamba, said they were waiting anxiously for the
constitution amendment bills to be transmitted to them for consideration
and passage.
He said,
“We at the Conference of Speakers are ready to do justice to these
issues. We have already concluded that whatever you will transmit to us,
we will carry our strata and groups along and agree that whatever the
majority may agree on will be carried.”

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