By Our Reporter
When the 199 Constitutional , as amended, was promulgated into Law by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired Army General and former Head of State, there was a section which gave the Lawmakers an additional responsibility: oversight functions .
Given the oversight legislative duties, which gave the Lawmakers power to look into the books of government Agencies and Pastorals to ensure that appointees comply with the extant Rules and Regulations in its Financial Management and recruitment of Staff in accordance with the Federal Character Commission, FCC, the Lawmakers had kept to it.
Past and Present National Assembly Lawmakers were said to have taken advantage of the oversight functions to tactically probe the agencies placed under the close watch of their various Committee.
This is evident going by the visit of Ysuf Buba Yakub, Chairman, House of Representaives Committee and members to the Technical Aid Corps , TAC, Directorate, an Agency under the ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, March 18, 20202. at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The visit, according to Legislative sources was the first to be undertaken by the Yusuf led Committee to the agency since its inauguration in 1919.The House Committee Chairman disclosed that they were in the TAC Directorate to familiarise members with the Management Team and the programmes of the agency ,on one hand, and to carry out its oversight Functions on the other hand.
The Value News learnt that during the visit ,the lawmakers took time out to engage the TAC Directorate Management team in all areas relating to its core mandate and on how it had used its various programmes to further the realisation of the objectives of the Directorate.
It was gathered that issues relating to funding relevance and the continuous existence of the Directorate in the face of dwindling resources and overlapping of functions with other sister Agencies, including the need for adherence to the FCC, in the recruitment of Staff and volunteers, were also discussed.
” We are here to consummate the function of carrying out our oversight function and supervision on the entire machinery of Government and those who drive it, a power bestowed on the Lawmakers by the Constitution,. He explained that the framers of the Constitution,, may have seen the importance of the power of oversight function as a means of ‘ensuring that things are properly done so that the people, who we truly represent, would receive the greatest utility from whatever is set up to meet their needs’.
He lamented that oftentimes, the Lawmakers oversight functions had been misunderstood as a witch- hunt on other Arms of government, to force them to fall in line. He opined that the oversight function had been religiously being pursued to ensure that personal or group interests do not conflict with that of the government and, more importantly, to ensure that their services are driven to the required end to meet the yearnings of the repositories of power: the people.
Going by the discussion with the Management Team of the TAC, Directorate, the Committee members were said to have learnt one thing: that since its establishment in 1987, as a platform to deepen co- operation and friendship with some countries in the African Continent, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region, the agency had achieved remarkable feats by bringing knowledge, technical expertise and skills in various fields of endeavour to the countries ,which had benefited from the Scheme .
A appreciative Pius Osunyikunmi, the TAC Directorate boss had ,expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for their passion to re- energise and re- engineer its vision, stressing that he has scored a whole lot of unsung goals for the country in the past. He used the opportunity of the Lawmakers visit to alert them of the reforms, which he had initiated since assumption of office in the Directorate ,but which the challenges ,arising from paucity of funds, would not allow to yield the desired results.
He claimed that the difficulty posed by the inability of the Corps to meet its statutory functions and other various commitments, including the new assignments that had been brought about by President Muhammadu Buhari Diplomatic Shuttles across the world .
, He noted that the Katsina state born Nigerian president had continued to widen the scope of the activities of the Directorate through commitments made to all the countries he had visited over the last four years ,particular those within the African continent ,with regards to the objectives and vision of the agency.
He was said to have implored the Committee members to assist the Directorate to restore the slashed amount from its 2020 budget, which had earlier been approved by the National Assembly ,but not truly reflected as the complete the need of the agency at the moment.
The House Committee members visit to the TAC Directorate may have achieved its purpose as the parties agreed on a number of issues. The Parties were said to have agreed that the vision and ideals of the Directorate were quite noble, which as an initiative of the past , even possesses better relevance today; especially, in the light of the kind of support Nigeria requires to maintain in its visibility in the affairs of the world.
They were said to have also agreed to use all available legitimate means to ensure that the Corps receive the maximum support to carry out their programmes and objectives and to meet its commitments to the International Community.