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‘How Shagari blocked legislators from hijacking N’ Assembly bureaucracy’

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[FILES] Former Nigerian President Shehu Shagari arrives to attend the inauguration of new Nigerian President at the Eagles Square in Abuja. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)


• Ghanaian legislators visit for peer review

Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde Amos, has disclosed that the late President Shehu Shagari blocked serving members of the National Assembly from making themselves members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).

Amos spoke while he played host to a delegation of the Committee on Administration and Human Resources of the Ghanaian Parliamentary Service Board.

According to the Clerk, when the idea of the NASC was mooted during the Second Republic, serving lawmakers wanted to be members of the Commission. He said the then Senate Leader, the late Olusola Saraki, made the proposal to Shagari who turned down the request by asking the then serving senators and members of the House of Representatives to choose membership of the Commission and forfeit their legislative seats or remain as serving lawmakers.

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He said: “Between 1979 and 1985, politicians tended to act in military fashion rather than exhibit democratic traits. For instance, in 1981when the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria initiated a bill for an Act to establish the NASC, the then Senate Leader, Olusola Saraki, was said to have proposed that membership of the Commission be composed of senators and members of the House of Representatives serving at the time.

“When the proposal got to President Shehu Shagari, he asked them to choose between being members of the National Assembly or of the NASC. The proposal for the Commission’s establishment did not see the light of day during Shagari’s administration, perhaps due to the sudden military takeover of power in December 1983.”

The Clerk, who went down memory lane on how parliamentary bureaucracy in Nigeria was treated like an appendage of the executive arm of government until year 2000 when the National Assembly Service Commission was created, told the Ghanaian delegation that both the National Assembly and its operational bureaucracies are now independent institutions.

He assured the delegation, led by Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, that processes and procedures guiding the Nigerian model of independent parliament and its bureaucracy would be made available to them.

Earlier in his remarks, Nketiah listed the delegation’s areas of interest as financial autonomy of the legislature from the executive; how resolutions made by the parliament on public accounts are implemented; and difficulties in relationship between the executive and the legislature.

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