A Kenyan professor of law, Patrick Lumumba, has called on Nigerian lawmakers to make a choice between being honourable or horrible members, now that they have been given a chance by the Nigerian people.
Lumumba, a leading voice against corruption in Africa and former Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja during the launch of the House of Representatives’ Green Chamber’s magazine.
“You must ask yourself, now that you have been given the honour and privilege of serving Nigeria, are you, honourable members or horrible members?”
According to him, the services they render to the people while they are lawmakers would determine if they are honourable members, adding that “we want to see honourable members, not horrible members.”
He reminded the lawmakers that they are the “successors of Nigeria’s great leaders,” asking them to reflect on what they have done for the country.
Lumumba also told the lawmakers to reflect on whether they are “the midwives of the good things for Nigeria or are you midwives that kill the children of the creator.”
President Muhammadu Buhari commended the House for launching the Green Chamber Magazine which is aimed at bridging the gap between the House and the public.
Buhari hoped the magazine would combat the scourge of fake news as it affects the House.
Represented by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Buhari said that the public would be better informed on the activities of the House.
The president said that it would also enable the House to tell its own story and take charge of its own narrative.
President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan also commended the House for the initiative.
Lawan, represented by the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, said that the initiative was in line with the vision of the 9th Assembly which was to ensure good governance.
He said that the magazine would enable the legislature regain the trust of the people in government.
Lawan urged the House to ensure a feedback mechanism to enable the National Assembly hear directly from the people.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said Nigeria had long benefited from the work of dedicated media professionals.
He described media professionals as “men and women possessed of incredible talent and abundant courage”.
He said that they risked life and limb to tell stories that exposed malfeasance and abuse and held the powerful to account.
“What we have come here to do today, is to unveil for the entire world to see, a platform that is dedicated to the practice of a true and noble journalism, acting always in the best interests of the people.
“It is about rejecting the temptation to use the power of the word for evil, when there is so much good yet to do.
“We have come here to show that in spite of the economic pressures brought on by the advancements in new media, it is still possible to do journalism with integrity.
“This is by eschewing the false promise of click bait headlines and fake news editorials,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that the Green Chamber magazine was not a propagandist or a media outfit that existed to massage the egos of lawmakers.
According to him, the vision for the Green Chamber Magazine is that through this platform, the 9th House of Representatives may contribute to the enthronement of a journalistic tradition that is grounded in the ideals of honest reporting and focused on making real the old promise of open government.
Gbajabiamila, therefore, charged reporters, researchers, writers and contributors to the magazine to absolutely seek truth without fear and exercise good judgment always in the best interests of the Nigerian people