FixPolitics to Gbaja: Lawmakers judged by bills sponsored — you should know better

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Anthony Ubani, executive director of FixPolitics Initiative, has criticised Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, for saying lawmakers shouldn’t be appraised based on the number of bills sponsored.

During the resumption of plenary on September 15, Gbajabiamila had advised media houses to stop using bills sponsored by lawmakers to assess their performance and effectiveness.Reacting, Ubani said it is “unfortunate” that Gbajiabiamila would make such a comment despite knowing that a legislator is primarily evaluated on three core functions: lawmaking, representation of constituents, and oversight of the executive branch.“It is quite unfortunate that the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives will condemn the media for evaluating lawmakers’ performance on the basis of their lawmaking capacity,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“Whereas it is true that multiple indicators can be applied in evaluating a legislator’s performance, any legitimate performance evaluation of a legislator must however be primarily premised on one or more of the three core functions of a legislator: 1. Lawmaking; 2. Representation of Constituents; and 3. Oversight of the Executive Branch.“This is why it is rather shocking and disturbing that the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, who is in a vantage position to know better, will condemn the media for using the ability of lawmakers to make law as a criterion to evaluate their legislative performance and effectiveness.”Ubani said lawmaking is the most measurable factor to assess the works of legislators, and as such, should be the main indicator to be applied in measuring legislative effectiveness.

“Lawmaking, particularly high impact lawmaking, is not only the apex function or duty of a legislator, it is also easily the most measurable and accurate means of holding legislators accountable. Indeed, it is equally the most objective indicator to apply in measuring legislative performance and effectiveness,” he said.“Using lawmaking as a means of evaluating lawmakers’ performance is an age-old practice that is widely applied by civil society and media organizations in advanced democracies globally.“At a time like this in our country’s history when the National Assembly has failed in enacting high impact legislation that empowers and gives voice to citizens, it is sad to see the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives speaking tongue in cheek.“The incumbent government, in which the speaker occupies the number 4 position, has oddly distinguished itself in its intolerance of criticisms, free speech and a free press. This is yet another clear case of this government’s haste to intimidate and silence the media at every turn.”

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