#NASSOpenWeek: National Assembly Set To Advance Inclusive Governance Through Openness In Legislative Activities
The National Assembly has reiterated its commitment to establish a transparent parliamentary process by providing the public with information on its budgets, expenditures and financial activities.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, made this known at the Inauguration of the National Assembly Open Week Steering Committee in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Senator Lawan, in his address, explained that several attempts made at promoting parliamentary openness and greater publication participation in governance and decision-making include live coverage of plenary sessions, opening Committee meetings to the press and the public and recently, making its budgets and expenditures open to review by citizens.
To him, the Freedom of Information Act, initiated and passed by the National Assembly is a clear submission of the National Assembly’s pact to aid good governance and accountability.
Senator Lawan, on what the National Assembly Open Week aim to achieve, noted that the 4-day event will broaden public understanding legislative of functions and processes and engender interaction between legislators and key stakeholders.
His words: Several interactive sessions are planned for different days as follows: Interactive Session with the Executive Arm of Government on The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); Interactive Session with the Judiciary on Pre-and Post-Elections Adjudication and Constitutional Separation of Powers; Interactive Session with State Assemblies on Constitutional Separation of Powers; Interactive Session with Trade Unions on Economic Growth & Industrial Relations; Interaction Session with Traditional Rulers and Pressure Groups and Interactive Session with Civil Society Organisations on Accountability and Service Delivery in Governance. Others are Interaction Session with Women Groups, Youth Groups and Student Bodies.”
The Senate leader added that daily exhibitions are planned for Committees of the National Assembly to display their outputs and interface with stakeholders and the general public, stressing that the Senate and House Committees will be put together into clusters allowing for ease of interaction.
Senator Lawan further commented that “the benefits of the Open Week initiative are numerous and have direct bearing on democratic governance in Nigeria. The first is that through the Open Week the National Assembly is fostering public participation in the democratic process. Giving the public access to legislative information, activities and policies is a substantial step towards empowering them to take part in political dialogue and decision-making processes.
“Secondly, the Open Week signifies the National Assembly’s commitment to increasing accountability and limiting corruption. Allowing public access to the legislature allows stakeholders to scrutinize our actions as an institution. Furthermore, such public engagement can lead to greater trust in government. Opening NASS means we have ‘nothing to hide’.”
To him, being able to access the relevant information significantly reduces suspicion and generates trust in government.
“Thus the Open Week will address the perennial negative public perception of legislators and the institution of the legislature by bringing closer the various publics and the legislature. It will thus improve the image of NASS and eliminate some of the myths and misperceptions about the National Assembly,” Senator Lawan said,
The maiden edition of the Open Week is scheduled to hold between 25th and 29th June, 2018 at the premises of the National Assembly.