By Binebai Princewill
Senior legislative aide to Hon. Julius Pondi, member representing Burutu Federal Constituency, House of Representatives, Hon. Tonkiri Apu has called on critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta region, particularly well meaning individuals in Tuomo and Ijaw nation at large to lobby members of the national assembly for quick passage of the bill seeking to establish Federal College of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Tuomo in Delta State. The Liberator Newspapers can report.
Hon. Tonkiri made the call recently while addressing journalists at his Warri residence, stressing that his boss, Hon. Pondi has done his best by initiating the bill to the level it is, adding that more work needed to be done by people of the area to encourage Hon. Pondi, sponsor of the bill.
In his words: “Recalls that, a Bill for an Act to Establish Federal College of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Tuomo in Burutu L.G.A, Delta State charged with Responsibility to provide full-time courses in Fisheries, Aquaculture Studies; and for Related Matters (HB. 557) was sponsored and laid before the floor of the green chambers of the National Assembly on the 19th day of March, 2020 by the honourable member representing Burutu Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Julius G. Pondi.”
According to Apu, this very important Bill that got its widespread commendation is suffering and struggling to survive in the Nigeria National Assembly for clear lack of support and legislative lobbying among critical stakeholders in the area.
The legislative aide continued, “For a Bill such as this to be enacted into Act of parliament, it must passes some unavoidable stages. And these stages are; Presentation and First Reading – on the Presentation and First Reading, only the short title of the Bill is read by the clerk and no question is proposed. Second Reading;- this stage is primarily concerned with the principles of the Legislative proposal. It is in this stage that the merits and demerits of the Bill is debated. Committal Stage; – on the completion of the second reading debate, the Bill stands referred to the appropriate Standing Committee for detailed consideration and report to the House. Report Stage; – at the completion of the work of the Committee of the Whole House, the chairman reports the Bill to the House. Re-Committal and Third Reading; – at this stage, the Bill can be reviewed in its final form after the shaping it may have received in the Committee of the Whole House.
“Now, this all important Bill has passed Second Reading and it is now in the committal stage, and this particular stage requires committee public hearing, whereby people (Individuals, Civil society Groups, NGOs, Traditional Rulers, Students Bodies etc) are expected to come out and speak on how important the establishment of Federal College of Fisheries and Aquaculture is to the wellbeing of the people. This is where the support and lobbying comes to play. As people of Burutu Local Government Area, most particularly the people of Tuomo Kingdom, it required of us at this stage to galvanize support in a way of lobbying, by telling those concerned how important this institution is to the people and that, we the people need the said institution like never before.
“It pains that, the very passionate gesture and effort by the young vibrant and outspoken Federal lawmaker to ensure that his people has the needed development is beginning to dwindle for lack of interest on the side of the people, Apu lamented.
According to him, the establishment of the Federal College of Fisheries and Aquaculture is the best thing that is about to happen to the people of Tuomo Kingdom, Burutu L.G.A and the Izon Nation in general, but I am afraid, if proper concern is not shown by our people, this life changing Bill will not see the light of the day in the National Assembly.
Apu also said, “we have the people in Burutu Federal Constituency, particularly in Tuomo Kingdom who have the capacity to make sure this very important institution comes to stay. The honourable member representing Burutu Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Julius G Pondi needs the support of the people in this regard and he has beautifully done his part as a representative. Now I think the ball is in the court of the people of Burutu and Tuomo Kingdom in particular where the said institution is to be cited to give it a finishing touch. Those that we believed to have connections and influence, this is the time for you to show to your people that you have such connections and influence.
“I therefore, call on all well meaning indigenes of Tuomo Kingdom, the Burutu Local Government Area and the Izon Nation in general, most especially the traditional institution, politicians of affluent and influence, business men and women to please rise to their responsibilities in order to mobilise to the National Assembly or else we say a farewell to this important Bill.” Apu asserted.