DELTA State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has told States’ Houses of Assembly to ensure the passage of Constitutional Amendment Bill when sent to them by the National Assembly.
Okowa who stated this when he received the Conference of Speakers of States’ Legislatures in Nigeria led by its Chairman and Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, at Government House, Asaba, Friday night, said as states’ legislatures, the onus was on them to pass the Constitutional amendments in the interest of the nation.
He said maintained that the nation was in dire need of the amendments to provide equity, justice and fairness in the affairs of the country.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Saturday, called for appropriate consultations between the executive and legislature arms of government in matters relating to politics and policy formulation.
Okowa who made the call in keynote address at the second quarter meeting of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures held in Asaba, said the legislators must have the necessary support staff required to intelligently interrogate policy issues and proffer expert advice.
He said: “On the other hand, the executive must also have an assemblage of knowledgeable liaison officers well-grounded in the fine art of political negotiation/lobbying, which is an integral part of democratic government. When both arms imbibe this culture of professionalism, consultation and lobbying, what you have is a strong, credible partnership that guarantees a stable polity and excellent service delivery.
“It is a thing of joy that Nigeria has had twenty-two years of unbroken democratic rule. Also worthy of note is that we have made significant progress in executive-legislature relations, especially after the initial hiccups in the early years of the Fourth Republic.
“The first step to building sustainable partnership between the executive and legislative arms of government for effective service delivery is for both organs of government to work with the consciousness that separation of power is imperative for good governance.
“Each must realise that the principle of checks and balances as constitutionally provided for, is to prevent abuse of power, which, if allowed to fester, will ultimately circumvent the rights and will of the governed. Hence, the relationship between the executive and legislature should be governed by trust, mutual respect, and deference, each bearing in mind the tenets of separation of powers as required in the presidential system of government.
“It is exigent that both see themselves as complementary partners working towards the same goal, which is the development of the State for the greater good of all. Trouble looms when the executive arrogates to itself the power to do as it wills or the legislature takes undue advantage of its oversight function to twist the arms of the executive for selfish ends”.
The Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, and Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Mr Abubarkar Suleiman, said Delta State has become a reference point in any discuss on financial autonomy being the first state to commence its implementation.
Suleiman maintained that the recent nation wide strike embarked upon by Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, would not have occurred if other State governors were proactive to the implementation of the financial autonomy to the states Houses of Assembly.
Deputy National Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures and Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, said they have been enjoying financial autonomy as a House long before now.
Oborevwori said the State Legislatures Forum was “an integral part of Nigeria’s political architecture and the primary of the legislature at all levels is to make laws and promote policies for peace, order and good governance.
“I therefore wish to sincerely urge us to seize this opportunity to ensure that the outcome of this meeting will help to shapen policies that will engender stability and peace in our country.”