Transparency has become a myth in the Nigerian National Assembly, and not only is it a myth but a deliberate one at that perpetuated by our dear law makers with daring impunity.
The National Assembly has always operated as an institution that is beyond public scrutiny and responsible to no one. No one can tell for sure how much the national assembly had spent since inception, except for the fact of their bogus and outrageous salaries which makes them the gluttons of this democratic arrangement.
The national assembly had for long slap us in the face and make caricature of our fight against corruption by refusing to declare public their spending, not only have they done this, but the legislative institution symbolizes everything but accountability and transparency.
One of the things the OpenNASS campaign is demanding is an audit for the N1.15 trillion ($5.75 billion) it received from 2005-2014. But would this National Assembly carry out this demand? Would this national assembly work with the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Committee (RMAFC) to review their allowances?
Why is the leadership of the National Assembly postponing accountability and transparency? National Assembly is an institution that spends public funds, it is not a secret society, they are being maintained with tax payers’ money; hence, they are not supposed to be coaxed, persuaded, implored to declare open their spending and account. It is an obligation, a duty that is expected of them, people have the right to know.
Yet the leadership of the house continues to take forever to open the details of their spending and activities, calling the bluff of people’s right to know, and doing it with impunity.
But the National Assembly is not a spy agency to warrant their keeping their budget secret, transparency and accountability are the hall mark of democracy, however, it is obvious that the national assembly is no t taking these seriously, and we had to remind them before they thought about it. Corruption thrives in an atmosphere devoid of accountability and transparency, not only this, it also breeds speculations and suspicion, and this does not in any way strengthen democracy but makes the people to be estranged with their leaders.
Hence if we must stop this impunity by the National Assembly, we must keep mounting pressure on them to demand that they OpenNASS.