Oversight Function: Yusuf Takes House Committee Members On A Familarisation Visit To Technical Aid Corps Directorate
By Our Reporter
The Constitutional provision for the National Assembly Committee members to carry out oversight functions in the discharge of their Legislative duties appear to have informed why Yusuf Buba Yakub, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and his members v isited the Technical Aid Corps Directorate in Abuja, the Federal capital Territory, FCT, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, to see things themselves.
It was the first visit by the Committee members to the Directorate since its inauguration last year. A member of the Committee who spoke to The Value News disclosed that the visit had provided members an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Management and programmes of the Foreign Technical Corps, as part of their Oversight Functions.
During the visit, the Committee members were said to have taken time out to engage the Management team in all areas relating to the core mandate of the Directorate and to know how it had used the Financial allocations from the Federation Account to implement its various programmes as contained in the Law setting it up.
Indeed, issues relating to funding ,relevance and the continuous existence of the Directorate in the face of dwindling resources and overlapping of functions with some other agencies of the ministry, including the need for adherence to the Federal Character principles in its recruitment of Staff and volunteers, were said to have been discussed at the closed door meeting with the Management Team at the Boardroom.
In justifying the visit to the Foreign Technical Aid Corps directorate, Yakub, the Committee Chairman said it was in line with their statutory duties as lawmakers to carry out their oversight Functions on gvernment and public institutions in order to ensure that those who superintend over such offices act in accordance with the Law setting up the office which they occupy.
” We are here to consummate the function of carrying out our oversight function and supervision on the agency and those who drive it; a power bestowed on us by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
According to him the framers of the Constitution may have seen that the powers of oversight functions to put government agencies and Parastatals officials to be on their toes at all points in time as a means of ensuring that things were properly done.
He noted that the power of the oversight Function was to ensure that the vision that informed the setting up of the agency was religiously pursued and that personal or group interests do not conflict with those of the government. He explained that the Legislative responsibility was to ensure that the services of the agency are driven to the logical conclusion to meet the yearnings of the repositories of power: the people.
The Committee members may have observed in the Course of their interaction with the Management Team that since the agency establishment in 1987, as a platform to deepen co- operation and friendship with some countries in the African Continent, Caribbean and the Pacific Region, the Directorate, it had made very remarkable achievements.
This is evident in offering knowledge, expertise and skills in many areas of endeavour to countries, which had benefited from the Scheme over the years. With the contributions of the agency to the benefiting countries in the Africa, Caribean and the Pacific, in the past, the House Committee Chairman of Foreign Affairs Technical Aid Corps was optimistic that it would facilitate the return of the Directorate to its old winning ways, stressing that it would also strengthen the South- South co- operation of the past era.
Pius Osunyikunmi, Director General, of the agency, who was very appreciative to receive the Lawmakers in his office expressed gratitude to them for their passion to re- energise and re- engineer the vision of the Directorate, which he observed had scored a whole lot of unsung goals for the country in the past.
Osunyikunmi, was said to have used the opportunity of the visit of the Committee members to acquaint them on the reforms, which he had initiated since assumption of office in the Directorate ,but which are facing major challenges, arising from paucity of funds, as it could not yield the desired results
He lamented the difficulty posed by the inability of the Directorate to meet its statutory functions and other various commitments, including the new responsibilities that had been brought about by the current Diplomacy shuttle of president Muhammadu Buhari.
He revealed that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had continued to widen the scope of the activities of the Directorate through commitments made at the places of visit, across the African continent .
According to him, the Commitments to these countries that were said to have been visited by the President were in respect of the objectives and vision of the DTAC.
Appealing to the Committee members to assist the Directorate to restore the money slashed on its 2020 budget, which had already been approved, by the Lawmakers, stressing that that the budgetary provision of the agency as it currently stands did truly reflected a complete need of the Technical Aid Corps Directorate at the moment.
At the close of their discussion, the parties were said to have agreed that the vision and ideals of the Directorate of the Technical Aid Corps were quite noble ones, which even as an initiative of the past , possesses better relevance today especially, in the light of the kind of support the country requires to maintain in the affairs of the world to sustain its visibility.
They were said to have also agreed to use all available legitimate means to ensure that the Corps receive the maximum financial support to carry out its programmes and objectives as well as meet its commitments to the international Community.
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