*Advises them against scaoegotism
*Urges them to embark on wider consultations
By Ralph Izopu
Former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, has called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and the entire House to rise above personal sentiment in the discharge of their official duties, avoid public odium.
Reacting to the House’s response to the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) on the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020, the former Rep wondered how what ought to be a measured reaction to an issue of public interest turned out to be a platform for scapegoating.
According to Ogene: “In contending that the governors were ‘misguided by the biased position of a former Speaker’, the House obviously chose to demean the fact that no fewer than 12 of the governors had left indelible imprints as former legislators, as well as many others who served as Speakers of the federal and state parliaments.
“All the NGF had requested was that the Bill be stepped down for wider consultations, a position already widely canvassed in the media by cross section of Nigerians, civil society and eminemt Nigerians.
“In fact, the Bill, which in an audacious manner seeks to abridge the rights of Nigerians, has generated so much furore that former Sen. Dino Melaye beside describing it as ‘satanic’ went ahead to initiate court processes to halt its further consideration.
“It is rather unfortunate that instead of heeding these voices of restraint and reasoning, Speaker Gbajabiamila through the House Spokesman, Hon. Ben Kalu (APC, Abia), decided to engage in a ‘roforofo fight’ with an imaginary enemy.
“In choosing to blame Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Vice-Chairman of the NGF for whatever his political woes were, Speaker Gbajabiamila perhaps unwittingly lent credence to the widely held view among parliamentarians that he hardly rises above self”.
He advised the Speaker and the House to tow the path of honour and listen to the public, who in the main are their constituents who voted them to the parliament to represent them.
He insisted that when issues such as such crops up, the House has no option than to embark on proper consultation in their constituencies so that the aggregate opinion of their constituents would be collated and become the beacon to guide their activities on such issues.