It’s wrong to assess lawmakers on basis of bills – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has argued that decision of some media organisations to rate members of the parliament on the basis of number of bills sponsored is wrong.

Gbajabiamila, who made the statement while welcoming his colleagues back in session on Wednesday, said outside bills sponsorship, lawmakers make great impacts during committee works, as well as drawing government presence to their respective constituencies.

“During our recess, I observed some media organisations reporting on the performance of individual members of the House of Representatives, using the number of bills sponsored as a metric for assessing members’ contributions in the past legislative year. It is not always the case that the solution to a problem lies in enacting new legislation.

“Often, members are most effective when advocating for their constituents in the arenas of government where decisions are made. They fulfill their role in the committees when their measured contributions help to ensure that Bills are of the highest quality and solve the intended problems.

“Legislators also honour their mandate when through meticulous oversight of public spending and incisive questioning of public officials, they ensure that government resources are efficiently utilised to meet governing objectives.

“Therefore, reducing the sum of a legislator’s contributions to the number of Bills sponsored is uninspired journalism that reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the legislative function and the role of members in ensuring that parliament delivers on its objectives to the Nigerian people. It is an unhealthy practice, and it should not be encouraged,” the speaker noted.

Gbajabiamila also lamented the ongoing resistance against COVID-19 vaccine, saying the pandemic “remains an ongoing source of economic distress, social anxiety and political upheaval”, stressing however that “religious and cultural hesitancy, coupled with political suspicion and an abundance of misinformation, has resulted in a global resistance to vaccination that threatens our collective ability to defeat this pandemic.”