OrderPaperToday– The National Assembly website, which ought to be a one-stop-shop for all things related to the Nigerian parliament, is currently filled with unforgivable omissions and wild errors.
The website is expected to contain credible information which can be used for research, academic or informative purposes.
Over the years, the annual budget for the National Assembly has increased to adequately cater to the proper management of the parliament, including its staff and other miscellaneous items required to keep the National Assembly running smoothly.
In the current 2018 fiscal year, the National Assembly has a budget of N139billion, an increment from the N125billion received in the previous year.
Despite these increments, it appears that not much attention has been paid to a key tenet of the legislature (that is the website) as some information on it appears to be outdated, wrong or missing. This means that the website is not being updated as regularly as it should be, unfortunately.
The National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) is purportedly tasked with monitoring and providing information on the site and, according to their objectives, they are expected to provide “improved and relevant” information to the public.
“To stock and improve the quality of relevant information, for members of the national and state assemblies and the general public through the dissemination of research output and the organization of consultative fora for the public sector, as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society,” their website reads in part.
It looks like they are not performing their tasks as expected because, in a mini investigation conducted by OrderPaper Nigeria, the website contains several mistakes and outright misleading information.
A thorough examination revealed that lawmakers who died since 2016 still appear on the list of current legislators.
Musa Baba Onwana Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency from Nasarawa state, Elijah Adewale of Ifako Ijaye federal constituency from Lagos state, replaced with Nuruudeen Akinwunmi and Bello Sani of Mashi/Dvisi federal constituency from Katsina state, all died in 2016 but are still listed on the website.
Other deceased lawmakers, such as Abdullahi Mohammed who represented Kware/Wammako federal constituency, Senator Ali Wakili of Bauchi South Senatorial district, the deputy majority leader of the green chamber, Umar Buba Jibril, as well as Senator Mustapha Bukar of Kaduna North who died between 2017 and 2018 are yet to be removed from the website as well.
The only deceased lawmaker who was replaced is Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died on the 23rd of April 2017 and was replaced by his brother Senator Ademola Adeleke, after a senatorial re-run. This is probably because of his replacement’s popularity and penchant for dancing.
Additionally, federal legislators who have long left the chambers still appear on the website. Lawmakers such as Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, an APC member of the House of Representatives for Damatura/Gujba/Gulani/Tarmuwa in Yobe State, and Okechukwu Eze, a PDP member of the House, representing Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia in Anambra State. Khajida was screened as ministerial nominee by the National Assembly and has been Minister of State, Foreign Affairs since 2015.
Lawmakers who defected since 2017 and those involved in the recent gale of defections, their new parties are yet to be reflected on the website.
They include, Bukola Saraki, Godswill Akpabio, Nelson Effiong, Andy Uba, Suleiman Naziff, Isah Misau, Barnabas Gemade, John Enoh, Ovie Omo-Agege, Bayero Nafada, Muhammad Shittu, Suleiman Hunkuyi, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Dino Melaye, Mohammaed Lafiagi, Monsurat Sumonu, Abdul Aziz Nyako and a host of others.
Members of the House who also switched to different parties do not have their profiles updated either.
In the same vein, there is the curious case of a lawmaker who did not defect but has a wrong party attached to his profile. Senator Atai Aidoko, elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is shown as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the website. A wildly misleading error.
Finally, lawmakers who emerged victorious from legal battles have not been listed as incumbent legislators either. One of such legislators is Charles Dan-Asabe who replaced Kurmi Gashaka in Taraba State and another is Senator Victor Umeh who represents Anambra central senatorial district and was sworn in since the 18th of January 2018.
In conclusion, while we note that it is a tedious job to keep updating the NASS website, especially with the current tide of defections, it is important to remember the millions of taxpayer money spent each year to ensure that situations like this do not occur. A website as important as the legislature’s should not be left with stale or erroneous information for as long as ours has been.