…Kicks Against Exclusion of Journslists During Executive Sessions On Over-sight By Committees
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Federal lawmaker representing Ndokwa east/Ndokwa west/Ukwiuani federal constituency of Delta state, Honourable Ossai Nicholas has given reasons why the National Assembly should override Mr President on important bills if he withholds assent.
Hon Ossai disclosed this on Tuesday in a chat with journalists at the National Assembly.
According to Ossai, if you are passing a law you must be convinced that the law is credible and that you have researched before you took the bill for public hearing for more input.
“None signing of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari and the lack of political will by the National Assembly to override presidential veto was responsible for the spate of electoral violence witnessed in the last gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, he said.
He said the outcome which you believe is correct shouldn’t be doubted by any other institution. “If the president vetoes such important bills, all you need to do is to override him.
“The constitutional provision is clear. You have not insulted anybody by overriding the presidential veto. Only thing is that what the National Assembly passed was correct, but the executive or Mr. President didn’t see it in that light.
Ossai explained further that when it comes to sensitive bills that protect life like the Electoral Act, that will give meaning and credibility to the electoral process and the honesty with which the electoral body is going to go about it, it is clear and laws guiding them to take such decisions are there.
He said because that was not done, “that is why you see people being killed in Kogi and Bayelsa states and nothing happens. If National Assembly has override the President we would have saved those lives. That is important. Many occasions, if you know you are right and convinced, you override the President”.
In another development Hon. Ossai condemned the practice where honourable members ask gentlemen of the press to leave a meeting so that they can go into “executive session” as not the best for Nigerian democracy.
“When you go for oversight function, the expected outcome is you investigate you you went to do and if there is corruption, the press must be carried along to expose the corruption. That is what I believe in.
“Transparency in the legislative business matters a lot. This will gain credibility for the National Assembly as an institution. If the press flow with the committee throughout, I don’t think people will doubt the credibility of the report.
You can only doubt the credibility of the report if you are shortchanged in terns of getting more information on the detail working of that committee. I believe if you say a committee must be transparent, it must be transparent at all time.
“We are looking forward to a situation where we play down on executive session when we go for oversight by making sure everything is transparently the way they are.