The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character, Idris Wase, has promised to work towards ensuring that the composition of government agencies reflects the federal character to promote national unity.
Wase, who gave the assurance at the inaugural meeting of the committee in Abuja, said the committee would be diligent in its oversight duties to ensure there is equitable distribution of employment across the country.
He said the committee was better equipped with adequate legislative backing to dispense its core mandate.
He also noted that the Federal Character Commission would appear before the committee on Tuesday, to brief it on the commission’s level of compliance with the equitable spread of employment across the board.
He said, “We will only do justice and continue to do the right thing. I want to say that we should take this as a priority. First, colleagues I want to refer you to section 14(3) of the Constitution, it says the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or any of it’s agencies.
“This is the main thrust of our committee and our function does not just end at the national level. This is where we have to start our work immediately. We want to believe maximally that by next week Tuesday, we should have another meeting with the Federal Character Commission,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
He added, “We have offices in all the states of Nigeria and they are supposed to be monitoring this particular section that I quoted. Unfortunately, not much is being done and that provision is in Section 14(4) which says, ‘The composition of the government of a state, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the federation.
“It means the function that the federal character is supposed to be doing is also to be concerned about how government businesses are carried out, how employments are carried out. This is the mandate that we must ensure this time around, that our various state offices carry out such and we will carry out our oversight on them effectively and efficiently.
Continuing, he pointed out, “I will also read to you the federal character as a commission, what they are expected to do for the nation, which we are supposed to oversight. Taken from the constitutional provisions that I just read, it says the federal character commission shall comprise the following members, a chairman, and one person to represent each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The chairman and members are to be appointed by the President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate.”
He pleaded with his colleagues to ensure that they do their best, believing that they are better equipped and capable of handling what is enshrined in the constitution.
“There is no time for us to go to bed, and there is no time for us to rest,” he stated.