Paradigmatic shift for National Assembly

“I equally concur with the fact that the overcentralization of decision making and inadequate stakeholders’ involvement are significant problems in developing countries, which has led to the high level of corruption in our system, the clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde Amos, noted during a courtesy visit by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) on September 17. Indisputably, the true worth of any leader be it in politics, government or private corporate entity is normally measured by the quality of missionary or visionary package in his or her kitty. Also, any newly inaugurated leader or head of any organisation worth his or her salt will always want to do something captivating to surpass his predecessor in office, no matter how fantastic or great the predecessor had performed before exiting office. That is to say that, there is no rule anywhere that says that a successor in office will not seek to be different or more drastic to surpass his or her predecessor’s performance in office. The above analogy fits properly into the paradigmatic since his historic emergence as the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly on July 17th, 2020. It is fitting to look at the conceptual meaning of paradigm shift. Paradigm shift is a ‘ fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions’. It could also be explained that a paradigm shift is ‘a complete change in someone’s attitude towards a particular industry, economy or position of authority caused by an event or discovery that has changed the individual’s way of thinking.

Being a fellow who had demonstrated excellence from the word go in the elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions; who has equally shown the highest proficiency in his professional domain before he became the head of the bureacratic system in the National Assembly, he is demonstrating attributes of character, fairness, honestly, commitment, vision and integrity as a paradigmatic shifting leader, conscious of his goal, which is to make a fundamental change in the affairs of the National Assembly. He is focusing on the processes behind any task; his top priority is figuring out how his team will get things done. The clerk is motivating others and forming strong relationship with teams, colleagues and others outside his scope of influence. This leadership trait was spectacularly show cased when the members of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) led by Clement Nwankwo, paid a courtesy visit to his office recently. He used the occasion to call for a joint task with PLAC, to proactively promote collective developmental process in good governance, democracy and above all, to seek greater transparency and accountability. He equally was of the view that PLAC could assist the National Assembly by collaboration to develop the capacity of legislative staff and aides, telling Clement Nwankwo and his team: “To transform the National Assembly for better delivery of constitutional responsibilities, that is of international standards in lawmaking, representation and oversight”. There is passionately energy to create a new forum of former and serving clerks at the national and state levels, with a drastic view to promote the spirit of consultation. This forum that will also specifically include serving Clerk, Senate, Clerk, House of Representatives will be meeting from time to time, and it will be under the chairmanship of the CNA.

The Acting Clerk to the National Assembly let out a component of his administrative road map for the National Assembly, when the Centre for Legislative Engagement, an arm of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy and Advancement (YIAGA) visited him in the August. He said electronic parliament and capacity building programmes would be pursued relentlessly for the benefit of the staff of the National Assembly. Talking about e-parliament, ICT development simultaneously go hand in hand with it; tele-conferencing and video-conferencing for public hearing, public petitions and committee meetings are part and parcel  of the process. There is no disputing the fact that using technology will boost activities of the National Assembly for effectiveness and efficiency. In deploying his unusual strength in the paradigmatic shifting process, seldom seen in the national legislature, the CNA is revisiting housing scheme for staff; single digit loan for staff; creating conducive working environment; security is being beefed up for legislators and staff; provision of funding for capacity building and training for staff, and instituting anti-corruption and transparency culture etc. As a stimulant for administrative prosperity,  he is critically and intently analysing and distinguishing the foundation challenges from the secondary; trying to lay indestructible and transformative measures within the nation’s highest legislative body. In a liberal parliamentary democracy like Nigeria being shaped by elements from various sources the paradigmatic efforts must be commended. No doubt, he is providing a concrete paradigm for constructive engagements with the staff of the National Assembly. Entrenching and upholding the principles necessary for enduring parliamentary democracy in Nigeria; and ultimately ushering a new era of grand accomplishments in the National Assembly are key goals.

  • Adesoro, Special Adviser, Media & Labour to the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), writes in via austennade67@gmail.com

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