Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has challenged State governors to be more transparent with the way public funds are spent, including the controversial security votes and the funds meant for local governments.
Dogara was speaking during the closing of a retreat organized for the management of the National Assembly in Kaduna on Friday.
He also challenged Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to practice what he preaches by extending his campaign for transparency in the National Assembly budget to other arms of government including how governors spend their security votes.
The Speaker disclosed that already, the concerned authorities have been directed to publish the National Assembly budget beginning from 2017.
“I will like to challenge him (Governor El-Rufai) to champion this cause for transparency in the budgetary process from the National Assembly to other arms of government; the Judiciary first,” he said.
“We want to see clearly how Chief Executives of States… how they are paid. What do they spend monthly as security votes?
“And if they can publish what happens to local government funds under their jurisdictions. That will help our discussion going forward.”
Dogara acknowledged that the management of the National Assembly is faced with numerous challenges which are not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
According to him, the National Assembly is the most misunderstood institution and that no parliament in the world can win popularity contests and Nigeria’s National Assembly is not an exception.
“When, for instance, public discussions on funding of the legislature are being made, the entire bureaucracy is often completely discountenanced,neither is any consideration given to the fact that this is a special bureaucracy saddled with a multitude of ‘masters’ who must be equally served in addition to service to the nation,” he explained.
On ways to make the Nigeria Civil Service more effective, the speaker noted that the country needs to break away from its usual tradition and adopt new ways of carrying out its functions and rewarding its work force based on merit.
He said: “As leaders, you must be prepared to motivate the workforce.Motivation is the key to innovation anywhere.“For far too long, the bureaucracy in Nigeria has failed to innovate because it is locked in a tradition that defines boundaries that must not be crossed.
“A tradition that says we have always done it this way and apportions sanctions for those who dare to do it the other way even if the outcomes are better.
“These are chains that bind the bureaucracy in Nigeria from within.Although the most difficult chains to break are those within us, we must break them in order to free the bureaucracy and make it competitive and innovative.
“The key to achieving this is undoubtedly, training and retraining in an environment such as this.”
The Speaker further noted that as a distinct organisation with several peculiarities, the management of the National Assembly must adopt a strategic management approach in order to achieve desired results.
“The management of the National Assembly, whatever their managerial competencies, cannot provide efficient and effective services to the legislature except they fully understand and appreciate the organizational goals, objectives and the attendant challenges,” he said.
Dogara harped on the need for constant training and retraining of personnel in order to keep up to date with the realities of a fast changing world.
“To become more, you must change your ideas and you will never change your ideas until you learn something new.
“New things learned are useless and cannot result in growth until you put them to use. That is why you cannot over spend on training.
“Tell me the size of your organization’s budget for training and retraining and I’ll predict with absolute certainty, the future of your organization.”
The Speaker commended the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, for putting the retreat together.