DEPUTY SENATE RESIDENT PUSHES FOR LEGISLATIVE BEST PRACTICES

By NBF News
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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has advocated a common code of ethics and legislative best practices among Commonwealth parliaments.

In a release by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, the deputy Senate president was said to have made the call at the 57th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at Westminster in London.

Speaking at a workshop entitled: Enhancing Good Governance and Accountability; Improving Standards of Probity and Performance, the Senate Deputy President noted that the parliament was at the centre of ensuring high standard of governance and probity in any democracy through the instruments of legislations and oversight functions.

He, however, emphasized that parliaments across the Commonwealth countries could only hold the executive accountable if they established themselves as epitomes of competence, integrity and as the conscience and true voice of the common man.

Senator Ekweremadu, who observed that Nigeria was making tremendous progress in legislative independence through the amendment of relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution, however, called on the Commonwealth parliaments to revisit the effects of parliamentary resolutions. He regretted that Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as was the case in most Commonwealth nations, limited the powers of the National Assembly in ensuring probity to merely that of exposing corruption. He said such situation was a serious impediment to the growth of good governance.

He also advocated for more role for women in governance, noting that most Nigerian women in positions of authority had distinguished themselves as icons of good governance and agents of change through pro-poor policies and legislations.

Earlier in their contributions, the Speaker, Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, Wade Mark as well as the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, stressed the need for parliamentary autonomy, robust constituency relations, and greater use of information and communications technologies across Commonwealth parliaments.

In a related development, the 57th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, which was declared open at the Westminster Hall by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne reiterated the need for maintaining strong democracies in the Commonwealth, drew to a close with a Centenary Plenary addressed by the British Prime Minister, David Cameroon.

The Honourable Prime Minister said that the Commonwealth of Nations remained modern, relevant, a practical and mainstream organisation, but stressed the need for member nations to raise the bar on democracy, good governance, and human rights, even as he revealed that world's newest nation, South Sudan had applied for membership of the body.