The prestigious award of Politician of the Year 2015 to the honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives by the LEADERSHIP Newspapers is a testimony of the courage, resilience, patriotism, leadership acumen, sagacity, sense of purpose and depth of fortitude of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as he has weathered numerous political storms and upheavals only to emerge stronger and more committed to ensuring the delivery of crucial democratic dividends to the Nigeria people regardless of ethnic, religious, sectional or partisan affiliations.
The mark of a truly national leader and statesman is the ability to unite diverse shades of opinions, beliefs and ideas towards a realisable set of operational aims and objectives geared towards uplifting the welfare and wellbeing of the people. In this regard Hon. Yakubu Dogara possesses those outstanding qualities beyond measure as he has molded the most stable, most focused and must united House of Representatives in recent history with the vast majority of members committed towards the actualization of the revolutionary House Legislative Agenda that is the very epitome of legislative activism and democratic populism.
Under the Dogara’s dynamic watch, a record number of motions bills have been introduced, debated and as the case may be passed first and second reading and they are all geared towards impacting positively on the citizen’s welfare be it in the areas of youth and women empowerment, manpower development, combating socio-economic ills e.g. kidnappings, armed robbery, terrorism, uplifting the economy, enthroning the federal character principle in strategic appointments, ensuring greater corporate social responsibility, promoting the anti corruption corruption crusade as well as providing crucial social amenities to the rural as well as the urban populace.
Indeed to tabulate the length and breadth of Hon. Yakubu Dogara’s sterling achievements and critical contributions to the deepening of our nascent democratic experiment as well as promoting the unity, stability, progress and prosperity of our great nation is beyond the scope and space of this treatise, suffice to state that he is eminently worthy and doubly deserving of this fortuitous and auspicious award.
The House Speaker has placed the youth segment of the country at the forefront of his legislative banner with his clarion call on his fellow members to promote youth empowerment schemes, and self employment programs for the teeming youths in the 774 local governments across the federation.
Among the key areas identified by the House Speaker as fertile grounds for the molding of perceptible youth minds include the federal and state universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, the NYSC orientation camps, the Nigerian Youth parliament and even the secondary institutions.
Without much ado, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara initiated a National Youth Congress, the first of its kind in the history of the nation, which involved representatives of all the federal, state and private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the nation in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS). This momentous gathering of the crème de la crème of the nation’s youth was meant to familiarise them with the workings and mechanism of the National Assembly and the two-day event witnessed the delivery of position papers and policy objectives that has been deemed an invaluable touchstone that has made the participants more aware and more attuned to the dynamics of legislation and paliamentary practices, nationally and globally as the case may be.
Also, with the creation of the pivotal House Committee on IDPs headed by Hon. Sani Zorro, the House leadership has signalled its determination to tackle the scourges prevalent in the IDP camps across the nation which invariably has a large population of destitute women and youths suffering all manner of deprivations and depradations e.g. hunger, physical and sexual abuse, to mention but a few.
Not minding whose ox is gored in the process, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has at various fora decried abusive, social, cultural and religious practices that are often disadvantegous against the youths for instance, early child marriage, child labour etc while forcefully advocating for their total abolition and the sactioning of those involved in perpetrating and enhancing the abhorent practices.
Moving further, the House Leadership has set into motion, the processes for a credible interface with the 36 state assemblies as well as the 776 local assemblies in the country to promote the enactment of laws, statutes, bye-laws and regulations that will promote the welfare and well being of youths across the nation as well as developing an action plan that will target talented and intellectually gifted youths for sponsorship and scholarship by the National Assmebly.
The problem of youth restiveness, violence and insurgency is one that the House of Representatives cannot close its eyes to, so it is not surprising that Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara has challenged his members, aides and other critical stakeholders to initiate, develop, disseminate and propagate policies and programmes to discourage, abolish and neutralise youth militancy in the Niger Delta as well as insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country.
Indeed, the nation’s youths are set for an interesting, stimulating and progressive ride in the 8th National Assembly and beyond.
–Asalu is special assistant to the House Speaker on Nigerian Youth Parliament