Why Yakubu Dogara Should Be The Next Speaker Of The House Of Reps, By Oyindamola Usman
Some days ago, I saw a tweet on my timeline which read: “We have many representatives, but very few lawmakers.” This statement surmises the opinion that many Nigerians have of the National Assembly; chambers filled with elected officials who mostly seem to either not understand the rudiments of law-making, or feel that the process is too tedious and would rather engage in political activities which do not particularly result in better policies and worthy amendments to our largely obsolete laws.
One man, however, is one of those few lawmakers who stand out of the pack, and for good reasons.
Barrister Yakubu Dogara, born 47 years ago in Bauchi State, has represented the Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in the House of Representatives since 2007. Prior to this, he served as Special Assistant to the then Minister of State for Transportation (2005-2006), and was in private law practice for 11 years (1994-2005). His knowledge of the law has been very apparent during his run in the Green Chamber, as he has sponsored bills and motions which seek to achieve one of his key legislative aims; “to see to the repeal of obsolete laws”.
The one quality that he has, therefore, consistently shown is consistency.
Dogara also has a reputation for being incorruptible; he was among those who were chosen to take over the capital markets probe after those previously in charge had allegations of corruption levelled against them. He has also sponsored many progressive bills, some of which include the Corporate Manslaughter Bill, the Data Protection Bill, and a Bill for an Act to alter constitutional provisions so that ambiguities regarding the removal of the President and Vice-President on allegations of misconduct may be removed. He also sponsored the Public Interest Disclosure Bill, the Hire Purchase Bill, and the Subsidiary Legislation Bill in 2013.
A motion sponsored by him on the alleged illegal concession agreement between the Ministry of Finance and a technology firm (name withheld) which was signed in absolute secrecy during a government transition period, and other similar feats, further helped to establish his image as one who is incorruptible. Dogara has also moved motions against the illegal and indiscriminate granting of waivers and concessions by the Federal Government, and has “regulating monopoly” as one of his other legislative aims.
Also, it was he who raised the motion that the Central Bank of Nigeria implement the Cashless Policy in phases, based on available infrastructure, and another seeking to end the President’s veto on bills by activating the constitutional powers of the National Assembly regarding bills which the president has failed to sign. It may also be recalled that he raised a motion to stop the sale of the official residence of Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Tarrytown, New York.
Honourable Dogara has chaired many committees, such as those on Customs and Excise (2007-2010), and House Services (2010-2011). He has also served as a member of others, such as the committee on Capital Markets and Institutions, Foreign Affairs, Ethics and Priviledges, House Services and Welfare, Judiciary and Steel Development, among others.
Dogara has been involved in making a positive impact on the lives of the people of Bauchi state – and indeed, all Nigerians – through FAcE-PAM, a non-governmental organisation with education, malnutrition and empowerment as its focal points.
This proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that he is not just an “honorary member”, but a true lawmaker with the best interest of Nigerians at heart.
Now, Dogara seeks to emerge as the Speaker of the 8th National Assembly and his track record of being proactive, progressive and pro-people may very well work in his favour. He is one aspirant to that exalted position who knows the rudiments of law-making and has everything it takes to discharge his duties effectively, thinking only of the impact that each and every action will make on Nigerians.
His bid is one that deserves all the support it can get.
The writer, Oyindamola Usman, is an accountant who wants nothing other than for Nigeria’s numbers to add up.