Former President of the Senate, Senate David Mark, has revealed that the 2023 general elections remains the most controversial since the beginning of the 4th Republic in 1999, a development he said led to the emergence of new parties against the hitherto dominant two.
He said the interest and enthusiasm displayed by the youths were a direct disapproval and dissatisfaction with the old brigade, insisting that Nigerians expect the 10th Assembly to legislate to ensure a better or less controversial election in future, reports The Sun.
He has also called on the 10th National Assembly to prioritise its legislative agenda that will address national malaise to forestall controversial or inconclusive elections in the future.
Mark listed some of the problems facing the nation to include deteriorating economic situation, high crime rate, unemployment, farmers/ herders clashes, banditry, terrorism, food shortage, insufficient and decaying infrastructure, out of school children and poor health facilities among others.
Addressing principal officers of the 10th National Assembly at a two day retreat in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state at the weekend, Mark noted that though the problems were primarily not the creation of the legislators, but Nigerians elected them to proffer solutions .
Mark, who was the president of the Senate for eight uninterrupted years (2007-2011 and 2011- 2015) spoke on the theme ‘Improving Legislative Effectiveness in a Multi-party Legislature through Committees & Caucuses.’
To address the myriad of problems, he told principal officers of the National Assembly to be innovative, think and act outside the box pointing out that “it cannot be business as usual.
“You must therefore design a legislative agenda that can provide a legal and regulatory framework that will support government initiatives and policies. The agenda must show in clear and concrete terms how to address the issues facing nation.
“It must respond to critical national issues like growing the economy, job creation, tackling insecurity, anti-corruption and show synergy between the legislative agenda and the executive programmes .
“You must honestly debate government policies to ascertain the merits and demerits without party sentiments saying that standing committees must be properly equipped in its composition to vigorously oversight Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),” he said.
Mark opined that committee systems and caucuses are essential mechanisms for balancing diversity and promoting effective representation in legislative houses.
He added: “By fostering inclusivity, encouraging dialogue and providing platforms for diverse voices to be heard, you can strengthen legislative effectiveness and ensure that the laws and policies you make truly reflect the needs and aspirations of all citizens for the good of all.”