House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara has a task for the 36 state governors as part of the fight against corruption.
He wants them to publish their security votes and how they utilize local government funds channelled through them.
Dogara threw the challenge yesterday in Kaduna in response to a remark by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State that the National Assembly should make its budget public for the sake of transparency and accountability.
The duo spoke at a retreat for management of the National Assembly
“I will like to challenge him (el-Rufai) to champion this cause for transparency in the budgetary process from the National Assembly to other arms of government,” the Speaker said.
“We want to see clearly how chief executives of states… how they are paid. What do they spend monthly as security votes. And if they can publish what happens to local government funds under their jurisdictions. That will help our discussion going forward.”
Dogara described the legislative arm as the most misunderstood institution, arguing that no parliament in the world could win a popularity contest.
“When, for instance, public discussions on funding of the legislature are being made, the entire bureaucracy is often completely discountenanced, neither is any consideration given to the fact that this is a special bureaucracy saddled with a multitude of ‘masters’ who must be equally served in addition to service to the nation,” he said
Dogara also made a case for the rejuvenation of the civil service, pointing out that it would only start making progress the moment it evolved a new way of performing its responsibility.
He called for innovation in the sector and said this could only be made possible by motivation of staff.
“As leaders, you must be prepared to motivate the workforce. Motivation is the key to innovation anywhere. For far too long, the bureaucracy in Nigeria has failed to innovate because it is locked in a tradition that defines boundaries that must not be crossed,” he said.
“A tradition that says we have always done it this way and apportions sanctions for those who dare doing it the other way, even if the outcomes are better. These are chains that bind the bureaucracy in Nigeria from within.”
Governor el-Rufai believes that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is opposed to the fight against corruption being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said:”The National Assembly is seen as an opposition to the fight against corruption.
“The National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is seen as one of the fighters of the war against corruption and that image has to be worked on.
“Now that we are going towards election year, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have to do something about the narratives.
“I don’t believe that it is entirely true?, I also don’t believe it is entirely false, but it is important that the National Assembly do something about its image”.
On the budget of the NASS, the governor said: “No transparency in your (NASS) budget; nobody knows your budget, how much you get paid.
“Publications are made about your salaries and allowances that I don’t believe are true, but cannot be defended because there is no transparency about your budget, personal cost? and so on and so forth. I think you can do something about that to clear all the rumours and remove all the evil stories that are largely untrue.