Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF). Hon Sam Melaye has informed that better days await members of the forum having put their differences behind.
Hon. Sam Melaye was recently sworn in as the Chairman of NASSLAF after the resolution of the two years electoral crisis that led to the disruption and factionalisation of the forum.
In this interview he reveals his cardinal objectives in relation to his members and how to enhance their working relationship with various principals.
Question: As the Chairman of NASSLAF, what are the areas of your priority, what are the things that agitate your mind to do for your members?
You are all aware that we had some issues that lasted for two years, that had brought us some set back but as God would have it, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori actually intervened in company of members of his management team and so the issue was finally resolved last week. So we are officially recognized and inaugurated.
The other faction, talking about the Darlington faction, we met last week, the group was actually led by Darlington himself and we have resolved that we will work together, we are fully re-united now there is no faction at all.
Most of our agenda are still intact, I am aware that this morning we have gone to tidy up the office, the bus as we speak is undergoing servicing and we hope next week we should start conveying our members from the gate to the National Assembly.
I am aware too, I just spoke to the Director of National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS through our representative in the National Assembly and we intend to kick start our programs from next month with a seminar with the management in order to have ways to strengthen our relationships with our principals. That’s the major reasons why we are here.
One of the cardinal objective of the Forum is the welfare of the members, infact that is sensitive or even the nucleus of this forum, we are also committed to the training and re-training of our members in the last two years of our setbacks we never had any training, they claimed that it was not included in the budget, I have set up a budget committee now to look into the budget and recognize areas where training of members can be properly captured , so that we don’t have a repeat of what we had last year, we had it very rough we couldn’t even access our Duty Travel Allowances, DTA, till this year, as a matter of fact the whole of last year we couldn’t get our DTA’s.
But I can assure you because there is a committee already in place we are working very assiduously to ensure that all these issues talking about training, DTA and others become statutory and legitimate for us to access some of these benefits.
We intend also this year to go on Oversea Training, it has never happened before we are liaising with management, there is nothing wrong if a committee is going on oversight functions abroad, such functions should not be limited to the Principals alone, I have also discussed with one of the Principal Officers, just yesterday (Wednesday).
We don’t see anything wrong with the CNA notifying the chairman of NASSLAF to provide one or two members of the forum to travel with lawmakers abroad to gain some more experience, that has never happened before, we want to see it happen this year.
We are also talking with Minister of the FCT, we feel that also some of our members should equally benefit parcels of lands, so that some of us can retire well.
To say the least we have so much on our hands under one year of our tenure and we are set at covering some of these goals.
Finally we have discovered that the Sergeant At Arms do not regard some of our members, I have spoken with the Outgoing Sergeant at Arms, Mr Ndayako, we met this morning at the office of the CNA and I told him ‘‘gone are the days when your men will harass our members”, that will not happen again because some of our members are referred to as bag carriers for lawmakers.
I want to say that among us are Senators, former members of the House of Representatives, even Doctors and Professors we shouldn’t in any way be limited to bag carriers. We are out to let everyone know that the era when our members are humiliated is no more.
Moreso, we have set up some committees including Sport committee so that some mornings we can unwind, do road walks as part of efforts to strengthen our health status in order to help maintain a good workforce. We have so much in stock.
I can assure you from Monday 12th February, 2018, you will begin to see some air of change blowing around the National Assembly.
Question : During the period of the crisis, one of your members died, I am not that he was given anything. While you’re redressing issues, are you going to visit this issue?
Absolutely well! First this morning, thank God, one of our members from South West is here, let it not look like I am lieing, we just spoke about the matter. I am aware that at a time we did everything possible to ensure that the benefits are paid and am sure that was actually done at a time.
But just this morning, I discussed with him (pointing at his member), we agreed when…Sunday, yes Sunday we are going there to see the wife and family, let’s see what we can do. In fact, we have even propose an amount to give to the family.
So in terms of welfare, whether you are here on not, the fact that you have served here, we want to extend hand of fellowship to some of our members including that lady that I also spoke with yesterday that forget that you are not here, we will work together as a body.
Question : What are the things you put in place to pacify the other faction.
What I did was very simple and I think that ” If God were to be involved, that’s what the Almighty would do”- is to ask them that, we are 12-man committee, we asked them to provide six, they did, we provided six from our camp. I am talking about elected executives, that actually formed the basis of the truce we enjoy today. So there’s no bias and all the parties are very happy and comfortable.