The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator (Dr) Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru has revealed the reasons behind the negative perception most Nigerians have about the National Assembly.
Basiru explained that the negative perceptions can be attributed to years of insensitivity to their plights on the part some lawmakers in the previous assemblies.
Basiru, who was featuring on a social media live show, Politics Everywhere With SOK on Wednesday night, said the situation is so bad that majority of Nigerians have the erroneous impression that all the legislators go to the chambers to do is to make money.
Basiru was quoted as saying that neutralizing the existing poor perception by Nigerians is the first major task of his committee.
According to him, “Several factors are responsible for the poor perception. One is what I said earlier which is the long period of military dictatorship.
“Our people have not been used to the importance and even the work of the National Assembly. And to many, it is as if members of the National Assembly are just there to collect money. But in reality, the bulwark of democratic governance is the legislature.
“Second reason and I must say is the track record of insensitivity on the part of past National Assemblies to the plight of Nigerians which has created a situation of suspicion and a drawback for our democratic institution.”
He said apart from insensitivity, some past lawmakers have been found to be unserious in manners and conduct thereby projecting wrong impressions about the entire body of lawmakers.
He said, “Also is the fact that we find such individuals who found their ways to the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly whose conducts in the past have portrayed the hallowed chamber in a very unserious manner.”
Basiru said these negative perceptions are already changing with the new leadership and with what he called “the new agenda that we call a National Assembly that works for Nigerians.”
The committee chairman urged Nigerians to follow the activities of the National Assembly noting that the almost 70 committee would now furnish them with robust information on oversight functions.
He added the lack of these had been largely responsible for the inability of Nigerians to fully abreast of the heavy duties that lay on the lawmakers.