OrderPaperToday – On a bright Wednesday afternoon on the 8th of November, 2017 a voice of frustration rang through the hallowed chambers of the Senate; it was the voice of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.
The Abia Senator was lamenting that an amendment bill he sponsored had appeared on the order paper “more than ten times” without being read for the second time.
A “Bill for an Act to amend the Nigerian Institute of Management Act No14 2003 and other matters connected there to” by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa was read for the first time on 18th November, 2015.
It is perhaps understandable that Senator Ohuabunwa was upset that it took two long years for his amendment bill to pass through second reading.
But the case of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta) presents a sharp contrast after his “Bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act 2000 and for other matters connected therewith” was passed within four legislative days.
To put that in a layman’s language, his amendment bill was read for the first, second and third time within one week. The speed with which the bill progressed is more impressive considering the fact that it was passed during the all-important, lengthy 2018 budget debate of the Senate.
The amendment bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017. Six (6) days later, on Tuesday 28th November, 2017 it was read for the second time.
To put that in perspective, it took 721 days for Senator Mao Ohuabunwa’s amendment bill to reach the same stage.
Following the second reading of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi’s NDDC amendment bill, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Niger-Delta, to report back within one week.
However, like the fictional speed star character in American superhero television series titled “The Flash”, the bill was indeed back in a flash as the Committee on Niger-delta led by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi managed to complete its report within one day.
Hence on 29th November, 2017 just a day after the its second reading and exactly a week after its first reading, “the bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act 2000 and for other matters connected therewith” was presented for third reading and passed.
The fact that it was a bill for the Niger-Delta by a Niger-Deltan who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger-Delta might have played a role in its speedy and “flashy” passage.
It is also important to note that Senator Nwaoboshi’s bill is very brief and straightforward. It seeks to amend only one section (section 14) which aims to improve on the revenue of the NDDC in order to enable it cope with its financial challenges and assist it embark on more developmental projects in the Niger-Delta.
The swift passage of such an important amendment bill by the Senate is worthy of commendation and will hopefully become the norm and not an exception.
In the meantime, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa might want to reach out to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi in order to tap into his “flash” speed.