The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Alhassan Doguwa, has said the House is not inferior to the Senate as it is commonly perceived.
Doguwa said this when he received members of the forum of Councilors from Gombe State, led by its chairman, Hon Yahaya Yusuf, on a visit.
He said it was wrong to refer to the House of Representatives as the Lower House and the Senate as the Upper House.
He said: “The two Houses are of equal status as stated by the Constitution. We have certain responsibilities that we undertake as a chamber and the Senate also has certain responsibilities that they undertake on their own as a chamber. The institution works only if the two chambers harmonize.
“At any given point where you have any disparity then definitely the two chambers have to come together to harmonize and have the same thing in context and the same thing in the content of whatever they are doing. The legislative work we do, which of course is sometimes tedious, not only tedious, it is like a process, it is procedure. The procedure can start from anywhere.
“We could have legislative procedure come from the Senate, but at the end of their consideration, that procedure having been concluded at the Senate wing, it has to come to the House of Representatives. The same thing applies for the House of Representatives. Without these concurrences between the two chambers, then nothing can be called a law or nothing can be called an output of the National Assembly.
“I want to use this opportunity to say without any fear of contradiction, that the House of Representatives being larger in number, having more number of members and has quite more young men and women on the floor who are quite very vibrant and in most cases we more often visit to our constituencies, we always call the House the House of the Nigerian People.”
Doguwa urged the councilors to always work for the benefit of the people.
He said their work was important as they were the closest to the grassroots in terms of governance.
“As I am seated here, I came into the House of Representatives first on the 4th of July 1992 and till date by Allah’s will and by the support of my people I remain on the floor of the House of Representatives. So you that are now representing your people at the local council level, the sky can be your limit. And you have a better opportunity than myself because I have never served in the capacity of the local councilor, which means you that have started from the grassroots would be more experienced and have more energy and information about how you are going to reflect the yearnings and aspirations of your people.
“I hope you will continue to do the best you can to represent your people and make sure you deliver what is their expectation. I urge you to be selfless in discharging your duties. Be determined, be sincere, and be committed to serving your people.
“In politics, especially in parliamentary politics, there are two things to keep while in office. You cannot keep these two things at the same time. You can only choose to keep one and discard the other. It is either you keep money to yourself or you want to keep the office and continue to serve the people. If you want to keep the resources you have through public service, it shows you are selfish. Apart from being committed and sincere, as long as you desire to keep what you have then get ready, your life in public service, or in parliamentary business would be short.
“Whatever comes to you, try to invest it in the people. As long as you continue to invest in the people for their betterment, then definitely you would have a long way to go in the business of parliamentary democracy. And also you continue to defer everything to God. If you have this belief and commitment to Allah and you continue to serve your people in the best capacity you can afford, then definitely the sky would be your starting point.
“We thank you for the visit to the House of Representatives through the office of the Leader of the House. May Allah in his wisdom continue to raise your hands and help you work for the benefit of your people,” he said.
Yusuf said the purpose of the visit was to appreciate him for the strides he has achieved in the House of Representatives.
The chairman of the councillor’s forum described Doguwa as a dependable leader, whose constituents from Kano have testified to his good works.
He expressed gratitude for the Leader’s counsel and said they would do their best to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people at the grassroots, where governance affects the people most.