The speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives has called on political leaders to lead by example -- by living “above board” as part of an effort to root out corruption.
“One of the best ways is to live by example as an elected person or public officer or an appointed public service holder. You show example in your lifestyle, in the way you conduct yourself and the way and manner you engage people,” said Honorable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Tambuwal also says the legislative body is backing efforts by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency in parts of the country. He acknowledged that the security agencies had not foreseen the violence carried out by the violent Islamic sect.
“The terrorism issue is a new phenomenon to Nigeria’s security outfits. They are ill-prepared, ill-equipped to face such a very serious challenge, and therefore it has not been easy for them,” said Tambuwal. “We have been doing our maximum best in terms of providing funding for their needs and supporting whatever is required to ensure that the challenge is addressed.
Boko Haram, based in Nigeria’s north, has been accused of carrying out violent attacks in an attempt to force the country to adopt strict Islamic law.
Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram-related violence has killed an estimated 3,000 people since 2009, a toll that includes killings by security forces
“We have passed the anti-terrorism law, which has empowered the security agencies now to take certain measures that are beyond the ordinary. So, it was not as if the government anticipated this problem. Our security agencies were ill-prepared, they were never expecting it and here we are confronting it,” said Tambuwal.
Tambuwal visited the VOA studios after addressing conferences at the Council on Foreign Relations and Johns Hopkins School of International studies on a variety of issues including “Regional Security Challenges and Nigeria’s Future.”
Analysts say Speaker Tambuwal, 46, is currently Nigeria’s most popular politician and is being wooed by both the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition parties to run for president in 2015. But, Tambuwal says he’s not comfortable with all the attention.
“That has actually put me in a very uncomfortable situation. Because of that perception some who are contending for the office of the presidency of Nigeria are uncomfortable with me…. And I find that very discomforting,” said Tambuwal. “I find myself boxed into a corner (so) that even if I want to take certain decisions, I am constrained because of the perception that is out there.”
Tambuwal says the House of Representatives has been fulfilling its constitutional duties, though he outlined some of the difficulties the legislative body faces.
“We have been doing our very best to ask questions and serve as a check on the executive arm of government,” said Tambuwal. “We have certain challenges of enforcement and respect of our resolutions,” he said.
Tambuwal cited instances where resolutions often taken by the legislative body are not implemented by the presidency. He however noted that the House of Representatives is cooperating with the Senate to create a law to compel the executive to implement measures taken by the two institutions.
“We are looking at a possibility of passing a law to make the joint resolutions of House of Representatives and Senate enforceable and to have a force of law. So that whenever a situation arises and we have a resolution of the two chambers then the executive arm will no longer [consider it as] being advisory, but carrying the force of law, and they would be left with no option, but to implement the law,” said Tambuwal.