At first glance, political representations in a liberal democracy such as Nigeria is a straight forward concept; in every four years at the national level there is an election where citizens from a defined geographical area, be it at the local or state level, choose from a range of candidates. They choose citizens of that area and elect a few to represent them at the national level as the true representative of the people in the House of Representatives from that defined geographical area.
Agreed that both theoretically and in practice, it is more complicated but the achievements of Hon. Abdullahi Ibrahim Halims, representing Ankpa federal constituency, Kogi state, in so short a time at the House of Representatives has made the argument about the complications more complicated.
While representative democracy is normally poetically defined as a government of the people, for the people and of the people, for Honourable Halims, he is the embodiment of what the people’s representative should be.
These complications we talk about actually relate to the actors rather than the institutions. Halims sees representation as a set of procedures or rules that selects people to formulate or legislate the public interest in an accountable way. And that is what he is doing in the National Assembly.
Hon. Halims is one representative who believes that representation is basically the accountable aggregation of interests and that basic interest is that of the people. The constitution and standing orders of the House of Representatives as they stand today, circumscribe the functions and powers of the legislature and the actors within it.
The recent motion introduced and read in the House by Hon. Halims on the urgent need by the federal government to resume work on the completion of the Bagana/Guto bridge that links Kogi state to Nasarawa state, which was unanimously approved and supported by the whole House, is typically Halims in action.
The expectations and duties of Honourable Halims as the representative of the Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro people are extensive, encompassing several roles that make his assignment a full time job in itself.
Upon his election to the House, Halims developed approaches to his job that serve a wide variety of roles and responsibilities for his people’s sake. Many of his motions are developmentally oriented.
He sees constituency projects as a quick avenue to attract federal projects like the approved road construction linking his constituency. If not for this motion and projects, majority of federal constituencies would not have projects due to the lopsided nature of projects that get into the budget.
Constituency projects are not peculiar to Nigeria alone and Halims is an avid supporter of this concept just as he believes it should be supported rather than scrapped.
He believes the constituency projects in Nigeria should be institutionalised because it is working for his people. Thus, he is a strong advocate for an institutional framework for the implementation of the constituency projects just like in Kenya.
It is instructive to note by way of educating the general public that Hon. Halims only supports the idea that a lawmaker only identifies the needs of his constituents and recommends same to the executive during budgeting.
The proposed road by motion approved for his constituents will not be handled by Halims but by contractors assigned and approved by the Federal Execute Council.
It is obvious that many Nigerians do not understand the work of the legislature as their impact are not mainly direct. But since Halims joined the unique class of elected Nigerians about a year and half ago to provide quality representation that would enhance the economic and social life of his people, many would attest that his impacts have been direct.
Hon. Halims has become phenomenal and makes it a duty to sponsor bills and motions, quality motions for that matter. Motions that have impacted his people’s quality of life.
His latest motion on the completion of the Bagana/Guto bridge project will, when completed, provide many impacts to his constituents and indeed the other Nigerians living in the stretch of length the road will take. This is called development in its physicality.
Halims is renowned for having a knack for legislating. The way and manner he eloquently presents his motions, it can be argued he was cut out to become a legislature. Halims, it must be noted, did not sponsor motions and bills just for the numbers as an examination of their quality and the positive impacts it would have when it becomes law will reveal that truly he has his people and, indeed, Nigerians at heart.
The motion on the road project is the type of robust motion and bills he would continue to sponsor in his remaining years in the National Assembly.
Today, we can proudly say that Hon. Halims is one among the very few lawmakers who are shaping the eighth National Assembly.
– Musa Musawa writes from Abuja.