NASSLAF CHAIRMANSHIP ASPIRANT EXTOLS THE SENATE PRESIDENT, CHAIRMAN, NASC AND CNA
In his declaration Speech, he encouraged fellow Aides to be diligent in their duties.
Please find his speech below.
DECLARATION OF INTENTION TO CONTEST FOR THE POSITION OF THE CHAIRMAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LEGISLATIVE AIDES FORUM (NASSLAF) OF THE 9TH ASSEMBLY
By ARIERHIE PATRICK OKUNEH Esq
ON THE 29TH JULY 2020
Our theme for this election “Restoration #NoAideLeftBehind#” was quite easy to arrive at. The collective burning desire of the generality of Aides to restore the dignity and welfare of Legislative Aides of the National Assembly to its glory and my love and desire to bring that restoration to fruition was the reason our theme was easy to arrive at, and the driving force for my intention to offer myself to serve as the Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum of the 9th Assembly.
In 1999 when the National Assembly was inaugurated, like every Assembly it was intended that legislative aides be appointed to assist the legislators in their assignment of nation building through representation, law-making and oversight. To ensure those legislative aides derived joy from their jobs and enjoyed a good welfare package, a group of aides constituted themselves into a forum to pursue these benefits. Thankfully, after series of meeting and negotiations their efforts started to yield results. Salaries were fixed subsequently; allowances were introduced and NASSLAF elections were conducted to elect leaders who will protect and push for further benefits.
Collectively Aides aspired to build good relationships, lives, and future from serving the nation and their bosses in their various capacities. Some aides had even strived and returned as legislators while many others have been appointed into various local, states. national and international organizations. Aides life mattered then.
Today the narrative is different, our dignity rapped, our trajectory distorted, and aides now cry and moan because we have been deprived and ripped of all benefits we enjoyed and we can barely aspire like any other worker in a country we all call ours. The 8th Assembly was a disaster to aides, “we must not go back to Egypt”, but in this 9th Assembly there will be restoration. Restoration for our welfare, our benefits our training and our aspirations.
As I aspire to contest, my team and I ask all aides who thirst for restoration of our lost glory to join hands with us to achieve our three cardinal goals:
Welfare for all #NoAideLeftBehind#
Constitution amendment to accommodate all aides; and
Taking NASSLAF to greater height does not need a rocket scientist. It only demands an honest leader with a good team. A leader with empathy and passion for humanity. One who can unite and galvanize the Aides, engage with the authorities and negotiate better bargain for our welfare and advance relevant and contemporary courses for the development of the capacity of Aides.
It is for these reasons that I offer myself to serve. I work in the office of the Deputy President of the Senate. I am lawyer with bias for legislation. My predisposition to legislation has kept me around the National Assembly since 2001, first as a Political Assistant to the Special Assistant to the Delta State Governor, and then as Legislative Aide to legislators in different capacities and as Consultant to legislators and private organizations. I am a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP). I had also served as the Assistant Elections Coordinator of the European Union in the 2015 Elections. In my private capacity I have developed courses for the development of the capacities of Aides. I presently manage a WhatsApp group, Legislative 101, where I impart on my colleagues, knowledge that I have been privileged to garner over the years. I have contributed in a small way depending on the time available to me, my little quota to the advancement of the NASSLAF for the welfare of Aides. But today I indicate my interest to serve by leading. And leading by example.
We must change the narrative of the present and build a better image of the legislative Aide by our conscious effort to develop ourselves to assist our principals to achieve their goals. We must ensure to seek every help necessary to improve the welfare of Aides beyond the present where Aides moan and groan their non recognition and disregard for their dignity.
Who says Aides cannot create a facility to guarantee small loans for themselves?
Who says Aides cannot have a constitution that accommodates all aides to vie for positions they desire in NASSLAF?
Who says Aides cannot develop a handbook and reference materials purposes of matters that pertain to our association?
Who says our welfare cannot be guaranteed?
Who says we can’t restore our past glory?
Soon we will have before us our choices to choose between light and darkness, progress and regress. But I urge you once again not to go back to Egypt.
I am here therefore, to put my integrity to bear, my competence to serve and my compassion to ameliorate our sufferings. Together we shall build an association that we can be proud of, where no Aide is left behind, in the distribution of our entitlements, the payment of our Salaries, Arears and DTAs and development of our capacities.
No more shall any Aide be left behind.
As we strive to advance the conversation of our welfare therefore, let us all endeavor to be punctual and regular at our duty posts, diligent in our assignments, temperate in our utterances but united in our cause. Let us put on the cloak of humility, integrity and service to our bosses and superiors, and kindness to our colleagues.
I appreciate in no small measure the Leadership of the National Assembly led by His Excellency the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan and all legislators for their resolve to setting the National Assembly in a new pedestal that is in alliance with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, disposed to nation building and is favourable to yearnings of Staff and Aides. I thank my Boss, leader and elder brother, His Excellency the Deputy President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and his entire staff for, the support that has brought me thus far.
I thank the Chairman and Commissioners of the National Assembly Service Commission for their successes in their short time in office. I congratulate the acting Clerk of the National Assembly and the Management Staff of the National Assembly. In the same breath, I thank the Zonal Leaders who have piloted the affairs of NASSLAF till date, for their efforts and dedication. I thank you my colleagues, comrades in the struggle for a better welfare package for Aides.
I thank you for your attention and for taking time to grace this occasion. May you truly be rewarded.
In conclusion therefore, I Arierhie Patrick Okuneh hereby declare my intention to serve you in the esteemed position of the Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF).
God Bless you all
God Bless NASSLAF
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.