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Opinions of Monday, 18 May 2009

Columnist: Akalaare, Adombila

No office for our honorables

NO OFFICES FOR OUR HONOURABLES…, what about “job 600”?

“Honourable “so so and so, Member of parliament for this and/or that constituency. Great and desirable! This brings dignity, recognition and authority to the bearer of this rare title. But should it end in words or continue with practices?

The title “Honourable” addressed to our MPs shows the value and importance we attach to their service as the country’s legislators and also as representatives of the people. This honour as may be expected should have affected at least all their official duties and its immediate environs. To conceive this, however, is to be deceived. Quite disappointing as it appears, these “Honourables” are without offices-rooms in which they can conveniently sit and make informed analyses of issues before and after sittings.

One would have thought that, parliament (the legislature) which is perharps the most important arm among the three “arms of government” in any democratic dispensation would have been given the needed attention. Among this could be the provision of convenient offices for all members and not only the few leadership of the “house” as is the case now.

The issue of MPs not given offices has been a sharpen thorn in the country’s legislature since time immemorial. As such, the issue demands practical and immediate measures to help curb the seemingly unrealized problems it brings to legislative duties.

As it is now, preliminary discussions of “matters of the day” before normal sittings which for the purpose of convenience and its accompanying effectiveness should have been done in a conducive office is rather done at the foyer/lobby of parliament. Of course, one can equally decide to do his/her study of “documents of the day” at his/her leader or whip’s office. Another option apart from these ridiculous opportunities is to do the preparation in their various residences or probably in their individual four wheel drives.

The situation is perharps heightened when “Honourables” are seen at the foyer/lobby lunching at the full glare of the probably hungry visiting public who think it is “pay time”. With their eagle eyes peeked at the honourables, they trace them as they morsel from their whitish take-always into and then back. Very unfortunate!

Disheartening as the situation may be, our legislators have been able to cope with this embarrassing condition since the return of the country to constitutional rule, seventeen years ago. Kudos to our legislators especially those to celebrate their twentieth anniversary in the house come 2012.

Meanwhile, as the quietism on this sensitive issue has been existing all this while, a three (3) elevator, ten (10) floor edifice containing about six hundred (600) office-like rooms and several wash rooms at just a stone thrown from parliament has been left to ruin with its innovative style of the 1960s.

“Job 600” as it is often referred to is one result of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s creative thinking and was meant to house the then African Heads of states attending the first O.A.U. now AU summit in Ghana. The project according to history could not achieve its intended purpose and has since then been left to its fate.

This creative and lucrative national asset is currently accommodating crows. This is after a final warning designated 24th December, 2007 as deadline for probably, squatters to vacate the place. “Job 600’s” nearness to the current parliament house makes it worthy refurbishing for our MPs as office rooms. Its spacious six hundred rooms when renovated could provide conducive and convenient offices for our two hundred and thirty (230) honourables as well as the other officers in the “house”.

This could at least reduce the continuous inconvenience our MPs have been subjected to and its subsequent limitations on legislations and the work of the house in general. The country’s meager resources that were squeezed into this project will not also go wasted should this move be made practical.

Till this is done, our “Honourables” will continue to answer to their titles and yet perform their sensitive duties without offices. The lobby/foyer of the “house” and their individual four wheel drives will continue to perform this role.

The inconvenience and its consequent ineffectiveness, I am not the one to mention.

Adombila Akalaare. Box 112, Winkogo, Bolga.