Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Sunday, August 13, 2017 - Page 51

Sunday 51 The lawmakers Nobody will confine me to ‘the other room’ – Bello August 13, 2017 Between exotic cars and July salary Still being owed July salary, House of Representatives members ordinarily do not have a reason to smile. They often check every incoming text message they get – in search of the elusive bank alert that their July salary has eventually been paid. There is however a sigh of relief for at least 200 of the federal lawmakers as they can now ride in exotic ‘utility’ cars when going on oversight duties. Few months ago, the House delivered to the federal lawmakers brand new Peugeot 508 cars, with the first set of 50 arriving about nine months ago. More cars arrived recently with each vehicle costing N17m, just as more than 100 million Nigerians grapple with hunger and insecurity. Out of the 360 lawmakers, official confirmation by the House put the total delivery at 200 cars; the remaining 160 cars are being expected. The cars were delivered after over two years of delay. During that time, the lawmakers were visibly not happy. The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, believes that the vehicles were bought for the lawmakers in national interest. While the cash crunch that has hit the legislators continues, they likely can’t wait to get behind the wheels of their new rides. N’Assembly traders count losses The National Assembly, known for its drama and excitement, closed for annual recess on July 27, to resume plenary on September 19. It is apparent that the public will miss the usual doses of debates of the lawmakers from the gallery and watching their representatives argue on issues that border on the sublime and ridiculous. But beyond the amusement, rigorous debates, and occasional singing and dancing in the National Assembly, there is a group of people that may miss the lawmakers more than any other person. While the legislators are away, perhaps frolicking on a beach in Barbados, commercial activities in and around the National Assembly premises will be negatively affected. A couple of days into the break, traders are already counting their losses, as the number of customers who patronise them has dropped drastically. From canteens, stationery shops and business centres, the story is the same: low patronage. Although the federal lawmakers are not the direct customers of these traders, their legislative activities attract people and boost commercial activities. Many of these guests end up in some of these commercial centres to do one thing or the other. But now, even the length of queues in banks within the National Assembly complex is now noticeably shorter. The Deputy Minority Whip, House of Representatives, Binta Bello, representing Kaltungo/Shongom Federal Constituency of Gombe State, speaks with JOHN AMEH about her role as one of few female federal lawmakers in the National Assembly H   ow does it feel to be the only woman among 10 principal officers of the House? Firstly, I must thank God because it is by His grace I am among them (10 principal officers). Secondly, we have been advocating fairness for women. So, I am happy that I was among the few ranking lawmakers in the House of Representatives who returned from the last set (2011-2015). In the North-East, I was the only surviving member of the Peoples Democratic Party in the seventh Assembly who returned to the Eighth Assembly. This again contributed to my success in being where I am today. Don’t you feel intimidated, being alone among nine men? For the fact that I went through an election in 2011 and withstood the storm of the 2015 poll, there is nothing that can intimidate me, if we are talking about politics. I am a grass-roots politician. There were over 20 women in the seventh Assembly. What happened that the number is less now, instead of more? In the current Assembly, we have more than 20, though the number may be less by four or so. Some of the women in the seventh Assembly did not contest. Others tried but they lost the election and so on. Is it not because, as some people claimed, female legislators have not achieved much? No! The women who are here, you can see how vibrant they are. You may say that they have not reached the peak of the Seventh Assembly, but you cannot wr FRbFVfbvBGf6RvVBRvfRFW"vVFW&W7FVBpFRƗF6&VFW7FRFR6V&W"bvVrFR3cV&W'2FPW6Rb&W&W6VFFfW2vRfR&VVFrW"&W7B&V6VFǒvRvVBFv2f"W"67FGWF&WfWrVWFrvW&RvRFR66Rf"3RW 6VB&W&W6VFFf"vVF&V6R67FGWF&f6f"FPF&VRFW'2bvfW&VB'F7V&ǒf"FfR6F2vVB6W0FVV7FfR6F2vRvfRF7G&FVv6R&V6W6RvR7FF( BfRFPV&W"FW&Vf&R6vW&vVFv&FvWFW"6FBvR6W6W"66RFRv&6VBB&RVgBFF6RFRF76V&ǐRbFWv6F6FW7BFWW7B7F'BF6vV&ǒW7BƖRFRV6RFVW2vBB2ƖRF&RfVRƗF6vW&vVf6RBb77VW2FW77VW26&R7VG276VG2BFW f&2bF67&֖F'WBf"RvBF2F&VƖWfRח6VbvV@FVvVFfRFR6fFV6RBFWFW&֖FFR&'&W7V7FfRbFRF֖FFB7VG2FWvWBWBFW&RFRƗF6'G7BFW2FW6( BFV6F7W'BFPvgFW"FRW&66RB7V&֗76bf&2f"VV7FfR6F'WBF26VBB&R6&FFRƗF6'GBFR6FFFRW7V6ǒFRvW7@7G&FVv6RFv&G2vrFRVV7Fग2BG'VRFBvVW7B&6R&Vf&PvWGFrF6WB"WfVvrFRVV7FF( BrvBRV'r&6R'W@vVf6RBb77VW2V&ƖW"FBR&WB7VG2@76VG2f"7F6RFW&R&R7VGW&B&VƖvW2f7F'0v6FVBF7FBFRvbvVvWGFrffV@ƗF72FW&R2w&rW&6WFFBfVPƗF6W7B&R6R'WBR6FFPvV7BSvB&WBFRVFW&PW7B&R'FW'2f"7V67&RFFP6R6bR&R6ƖrR&7FGWFRFR&6BvW&RR&R6֖rg&66FW"ח6VbV6FBגvVPג67FGVV7v&VBF6RFw0BvfRRFV"FFRFWG'W7BPF&FV7BFV"vRBFRvR`v&R7FFR2vRग26WV&76VB'B`FR&6RvVvVfRWfW"&VV&6V@FBf&'&G6( B&V66FVBb6WV&76VBFRFVvW7B6GVFfRf6V@v2GW&rFR#RVV7FvV6V&G6VBRBFP&'FRv2FFfW'@גGFVF'WB7W'&6V@'W&Vǒ6֖ƖrfPB&VV6WVǒ&76VB@fRWBFV"g&g&V@"&VFfRFBFWfPWW&V6VBB2&WGGfVPƗF6pFRFRW"PF֗&W'3fR&VVVF"F6VRv26R6֗76W"v&R7FFRVRvGW&ǐF֗&RRf"FRvBv&2R&RFr6vVF֗&W2RvBV3fRBbFw2FBFג67FGVV7FW&R2'W&FVRF6W'fRFRVRFB2vBFrW6rג67FGVV7&V7G2खbRv&VBB6fW'vVRvrFB&6V@W'6vVv26֗76W"WfW"vVBFf6BRאW6RF67W76VBff6GFW'2BFRff6RBgFW"v&vVBPFגf֖ǒ( 2Fr&Rג&WFR3g&גW6RFFRF76V&ǒB&6FגW6RFRFW"W6WF2FGFVBƗF6VWFr"VWBvFגvfW&"bvfRVFB'GVGFWv'W6RBF( Bf&vWBFBFW"vBFRfRF6&WBFRFW7BFWfVVG2FRVW2FV7&F2'GƖRFR&V6VB7W&VR6W'@VFvVCFBvRfR&W6fVBW"77VW2FRfvB2fW"@WfW'&G2r&WGW&rFFREFW&R2ƖfRFR'Gr&PFR&ƗGbFR'VƖr&w&W76fW26w&W72FR6W&W2&gFW"fW"GvV'2ff6R26'BbBVFVBFR6VRFRE&V6r&6FvW"#W2VFFVǒgFW"FRVFvVBFBRƖfR&WGW&VBFFR'G2vVvFW2BvR66FƗ6RFRf7BFBvW&2fRG&VBFP2B&VƗ6VBFBFWfRFrFFVƗfW"आrvR66FFRFRvw&WfVBV&W'2bFP'GFREVFW'6VFW"6VF"VB&f2FRB6V"F@WfW'R2vV6R&&BFW&R2f7F"fV6VBvRv7F@'FB6FW"&V66ƖF6֗GFVR2&VGv&rBFW&R06W6Rf"&ग2BG'VRFBFRE2VBFRFR&W6FV7FFP'FV7C6B6vBV"2FR'FbB2FRV6bFR'FV7BF&GV6RFR&W6FVBvRv&RvB&V6RbW"&6VG&Rf"6V&FSR6&FǒFƲ&WB6V&FRvW&vFWBVFrv&P7FFRGVv2WfVFR6VG&R6F7VfW"7FFW2vW&@Vv&W&r6W&6RFGVvF6VV7W&Rf"6V&FR#BגvfW&"'VB#&VB66G7Ff"6V&FRB7W'FV@FBFFfRvF&VG22vV'WBRrFfV2fW'WV6fRFRbFB&v2FfRV&'6VG&Rf"&W6V&6vW&RFfV6VB&R&GV6VBf"FR7V6W2b6W2vRfP&VBvB6W2FW"g&VG26SfR6G&FFFFW2'WBGW&rג66F2אg&VG2W6VBF6R&ǒN( 26'Bf&b&Fv2F2&V6W6RRvW&RVrv&66v6( BFBB66Ɨ6RvVv266vBvW&RW"66F2ƖSRr&6FVFW&Rv2BbF66ƖRBvRvW&Pv26&VgV&W6FW2גfFW"v26FW"vF@BFW&FR6V6RF2FBBrRF66Ɨ6P"F6R6'G2bFw2FBFW'2G2vV@fRFRॖR&Rv2'W7FR&V@FVFrג6rח6Vb( 0V7W&Vǒ( 2gFW"fR66VBg&v&ग26rW"&W7Bf&`&VFvV&V ג&fW'V6ॖRVFR( FW"&( F( BrFR( FW"&( ^( &RFƶr&WB7BגW6&@&WB6V'2v6F( BrFP( FW"&( B6( B6Fp&WBBr&RR6rFR7@6V'2RfRBf6FV@FR( FW"&( F( Bf6BFP( FW"&( F( BF氦&Gv6fRRFFR( FW"&( VFW"אv&2V6BW7@FBfR76f גv&&RFFP( FW"&( v@0W ffW&FRfCגffW&FRfB2V&BfVvWF&R6Wऒ6( B&V66FVB`6WV&76VBFRFVvW7@6GVFfRf6VBv0GW&rFR#RVV7FvV6V&G6VBRBFP&'(