Concerning Igbos, corpers, rural dwellers and my bills – Part 1

By Stella Oduah

Making legislation that serves the interest of the people.

A lot has been achieved in the past three years at the Senate. Generally speaking, the 8th Assembly has been adjudged the most productive we have ever known in our country and the records are publicly available. This is not to say we are perfect. Not by any means!

As a representative of my people in the Senate, I continue to push legislation that serves the interest of the majority — my constituents first and then the rest of the country. Nonetheless, I find myself guilty of making the error of assuming that everybody knows how much one has done and this piece serves to undo the mistakes. For the record, here are five of about 11 Bills that I have sponsored at the Senate and the motivations behind them. Most of the Bills featured have passed the readings and advanced to the committee stage:

South East Development Commission Bill

A Bill for an Act to Establish the South East Development Commission, to act as a catalyst to develop the commercial potentials of the South East.

The Bill serves to promote development of the South East which has suffered neglect since the heavy devastation caused by the civil war. The Federal Government has NOT fulfilled the Reconstruction part of the pledged RRR (Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction) programme.

My arguments on the merits of the SEDC Bill for the entire country is contained in an article titled: “Why Igbos Deserve The South East Development Commission.”

Constituency Projects Bill 2017

A Bill for an Act to provide for Constituency Projects in the annual Budget of the federation.

Although this Bill has a controversial nomenclature, the idea is to resolve the perennial lingering crisis between the executive and the legislature over the issue of allocation of funds for constituency projects.

The Bill aims to ensure that our marginalised rural constituencies feel the impact of the Federal Government through guaranteed developmental projects. If passed, the FG would be mandated to allocate 20% of the budget to the development of the rural areas where the core of our population dwells.

NYSC Act (Amendment) Bill 2017

A Bill designed to provide for free and compulsory acquisition of vocational skills by Corps members.

The Bill proposes to empower the NYSC with the mandate to provide free and compulsory acquisition of technical and vocational skills by Corps members. The objective of this Bill is to address the rising unemployment in the country and ensure that our youths are workplace ready. This will stem the unemployability argument that has been used to give Nigerian jobs to foreigners. It would also help them become entrepreneurs and potential employers of labour after youth service.

Renewable Energy Bill 2017

A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Utilisation, Sustainability and Adequate Supply of Renewable Energy for Electricity and Heat Generation.

The Renewable Energy Bill will serve as framework to support and develop renewable energy sources by creating enabling environment to attract investment. The Bill would help strengthen our power sector and reduce our country’s dependency on the conventional sources which is increasingly becoming unreliable. At the core of this proposal is the desire to increase affordable energy access to all Nigerians regardless of their location. Having a legislative framework will ultimately support the development, utilization and efficient management of renewable energy sources.

Constitution 1999 (Alteration) Bill 2017

A Bill designed to alter the 1999 Constitution and provide for Independent Candidates

This Bill was designed to alter the 1999 Constitution to grant Independent Candidates the opportunity to run for elective offices in our country. The bill would ensure equal opportunity for individuals that are qualified to vie for various positions in government but are deprived by the politicking and power dynamics that bedevil our political systems. Independent Candidacy is in practice in leading world democracies and on the continent.

Stella Oduah is a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Anambra North constituency.

She Tweets via @SenStellaOduah

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