The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged State Houses of Assembly to save the Local Government Area system in Nigeria from imminent collapse through its instrument of law making.
The speaker made the appeal at the opening of a one-day round-table with Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Lagos yesterday.
Declaring the round-table open, Gbajabiamila, represented by Mr Idris Wase, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said a revitalised local government system would bring about effective governance.
He said that for a more robust 9th Aassembly, there was need for State Houses of Assembly to invest in knowledge acquisition by running short and long term courses in areas such as budget implementation and related programmes so that through oversight engagements, they could insist on real value for money on contracts awarded for the well-being of citizens in whose mandate they stood.
Gbajabiamila disclosed that the National Assembly would commence its process on the work of its constitutional review committee.
“In that process, there will be need for synergy between the NASS and State Houses of Assembly.
“There is need for caution. The caution lies in our collective efforts to ensure that the work of lawmakers, be it in state or national, do not suffer any infringement.
“We must not only be seen to be working but work in a way that our work will speak for us. Of particular note is the need to point out the sanctity of the National Assembly do not suffer any infringement,” Gbajabiamila said.
He commended the organisers of the round-table, saying the timing was apt given that the 9th National Assembly was just concluding it’s preparation for proper take off in its four years duration.
In a goodwill message, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria, urged relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts toward implementation of the constitutional provision of financial autonomy to state legislature and judiciary with a view to strengthening democracy.
“It is well over a year that President Muhammadu Buhari gave assent to financial autonomy for both state legislature and judiciary in the last constitution review,” the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly said.
Obasa, represented by Mr Abel Peter Dia, Taraba Speaker, urged the lawmakers to be active participants in the round-table.
Also, the Oyo State Speaker, Mr Adebola Ogundoyin, said the lawmakers as democrats want the laws implemented which was part of the reasons for the round-table.
“There are a lot of local government areas issues. We intend to resolve them once and for all and all arms of government.must sit to agree on the implementation,” he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Director of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, organisers of the round-table, said the conference was the first since the 2019 election.
He said the lawmakers had enormous responsibilities to the Nigerian people in the spheres of ensuring good governance, providing a forum for grassroots representation and oversights.
Delta Reps Bicker Over Bill On Proposed Federal Poly
Two federal lawmakers from Delta State, South-South Nigeria, have thrown up disagreement over where a proposed federal polytechnic should be located within the State.
This followed a presentation of a bill for an Act seeking the establishment of a federal polytechnic Orogun in Delta Central Senatorial zone, which was forwarded from the Senate to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
While the said Bill was said to have been sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central, there was a similar Bill sponsored by Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai representing Ukwani Federal constituency which is in Delta North.
The Bill which was seeking the establishment of the same federal university with its location in Kwale, Delta North was passed by the House and sent to the Senate for concurrence in November 2019.
It, however, couldn’t get a Senate concurrence following the rejection by the red chamber, prompting Rep. Ossai to kick against the House concurring the current version changing the school’s proposed location and seeking the nod of the House.
Trouble began three weeks ago when Ossai, who chairs the House Committee, raised a point of order alerting the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila that the Bill so listed on the order paper as emanating from the Senate for concurrence was actually sponsored by him and passed by the House, but was rejected by the Senate when it was forwarded for concurrence.
APC Urges Credible Election In Nsukka LG
Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Joseph Ugwuoke,in Nsukka Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State, has urged Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to ensure that February 29 local government poll is credible.
Ugwuoke made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Nsukka, yesterday.
He said that ENSIEC should allow the will of the electorate to prevail during that election by conducting an election that would be described by all as free and fair.
“The commission should ensure the votes of the people of Enugu State count in that election.
“I urge ENSIEC to give every political party an equal level playing ground during the election and resists any attempt by any politician to use their staff to commit electoral fraud.
“The state electoral umpire should ensure that the staff and ad-hoc staff exhibit high level of transparency and honesty during the exercise so that only candidates that have mandates of the electorate will emerge victorious,” he said.
Group Advocates Stronger Representation Of Women In Governance
The League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV), Bauchi State Chapter, has advocated for stronger recognition of women issues through increased representation at all levels of governance.
The Chairperson of the league in Bauchi, Hajiya Fatima Zakari, made the call at a town hall meeting of stakeholders in Bauchi, yesterday.
She said stronger recognition of women’s issues in policy was required through increased representation in national, state and local governance.
According to her, if women are elected into governance, it will play key role in addressing critical issues affecting them and their broader communities,“such as education, water management, health and domestic violence, among others,” she said.
Zakari said that women representation in governance would promote greater equality in politics and support stronger representation of women issues in policy.
The chairperson expressed optimism that NILOWV was gaining ground in the state with more women understanding the need to actively participate in governance and decision making.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, Hajiya Aisha Bama, the Secretary, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Bauchi State chapter, appealed to government at all levels to acknowledge the contribution of women in the society.
She reiterated that involvement of more women in political leadership would raise public awareness of their involvement in politics.
Participants were drawn from the traditional institutions, civil society organisations, security agencies and organised private sector, among others.
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