By Aaron Ossai
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has restated the commitment of the Legislature to tackling challenges bedeviling the power sector.
This, he said, at an investigative hearing by the House Committee on Power on the interim management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for the apparent delay in the execution of the National Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP).
While querying why there would be a delay in the execution of such a project which has the potential to improve electricity supply in the country, the Speaker stressed the importance of power supply as a major factor in economic development.
“We cannot emphasize enough the pride of place that electricity occupies in the life of any modern nation. Indeed, electricity is the lifeblood of our national economy. This is why any issue that affects the power sector always receives priority attention from the House of Representatives in particular and the National Assembly in general.”
“We will continue to revisit the challenges that confront the power sector as that is the only way to fix the sector and get our country firmly on her way to unleashing her enormous industrial and developmental potentials.
He also cited constitutional provisions concerning the doctrine of separation of powers and stated that such public hearings and investigations are in line with the Legislature’s oversight mandate.
“As most of us already know, the National Assembly regularly oversights the executive arm of government with regard to its work. This should not be seen as meddling but as a constitutional imperative. Indeed, Section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) vests the National Assembly with powers to inquire into and investigate organs of the executive. This power is given to ensure accountability, probity, rule of law – all of which constitute the ingredients of good governance.
“One of the features of our democracy is the doctrine of separation of powers. The essence of this doctrine is that the three arms of government should exercise control over their respective spheres of influence without undue interference from other arms.
“However, there is a corollary to this doctrine which is that there is the need for the arms of government to apply some checks on each other in order to create a balance in the system. Today’s hearing is one of the ways that the National Assembly exercises its checks on the executive arm of government”, he stated.
The Speaker further stated that aim of public hearings is to give room for fair hearing and citizen participation in legislative processes, and called on all stakeholders present to cooperate with the committee in order for its work to be successful.