President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, has called for the active involvement of citizens in the process of governance.
According to Lawan, doing so will substantially deepen Nigeria’s democracy and ensure transparency as well as accountability on the part of lawmakers elected to deliver on effective representation to the people.
A statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, also indicated that Lawan made the call when a delegation from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, UK, and local officials of Inter-Parliamentary Union visited him in Abuja on Monday, October 21.
According to the statement, the visit is primarily to announce the inauguration of the Young Parliamentary Forum (YPF) which has been scheduled for Oct. 22 at the National Assembly.
Members of the forum comprise Legislators at the National Assembly and the State Assemblies also; who are 45 years and below.
Lawan recalled that the passage of the Not-too-Young-to-run Act by the 8th National Assembly was a conscious effort to widen the political space for young politicians to be part of governance.
He, therefore, urged the YPF to embrace opportunities to make sure that Nigerians had representation within the age bracket as provided in the Act after elections every four years.
Speaking on attaining inclusion in governance, Lawan also said “while we emphasise on those elected; I think democracy can only be deepened if there is participation from those who are not in office.
“Those of us who have been elected of course represent people, but we can do little really; if there is no participation in the governance process by those who elected us.
“Hardly ever are we understood on what our roles are by those who elected us.
“They think we are sometimes supposed to behave like the executive arm of government.
“There is a need for those who are not elected to also be properly on board; those of us elected should be checked just as we check the executive arm of government.
“People should be interested in what we do. Those who elected us should continuously give advice and ask questions; and where there are questions, we should be able to provide explanations. This is very important.
“I will continue to advocate that we bring political education down to the primary school level.
“We shouldn’t be looking only at those already in office. What will make out democracy work for us is citizen participation.”