Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, has said the decentralization of power by the Federal Government to State and Local governments would bring rapid development in the country.
He said the devolution of power should not be seen or likened to the disintegration of the country.
Obasa said this in his end of the year speech after the passing into law of the Appropriation Bill 2021 by the House on Tuesday.
His words: “Decentralization or devolution of power from the federal level to the state and local levels will spur rapid development in Nigeria as we have never seen before.
“If we truly practice federalism, it is of utmost importance that we allow the devolution of powers which is its key element.
“The federal government should endeavor to shed weight by transferring some items in the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List to enable states to have a direct responsibility on state police, community police, and prisons among others.
“It is gratifying to note that the Amotekun Security outfit formed in Southwest is working assiduously to address some of the issues in their little way.”
The Speaker also said if the federal government allows each state to manage its police, it would go a long way in curbing insecurity in the country.
Obasa said the monumental increase in the capital expenditure at both the federal level and the fact that the capital expenditure is higher than the recurrent expenditure in the Lagos State’s budget is an indication of the positive change the APC government is preaching and implementing for Nigerians.
The speaker also used the occasion to thank Lagosians, community leaders, and the corporate world for their unflinching supports to the House of Assembly and the APC.
He wished Nigerians and Lagosians in particular a superb and prosperous new year 2021.
He prayed that their lives would be filled with lots of celebrations and happiness in the new year 2021.
Below is the full speech:
END OF THE YEAR SPEECH BY THE SPEAKER, LAGOS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, RT. HON. MUDASHIRU OBASA DURING THE APPROVAL OF Y2021 BUDGET AT THE ASSEMBLY’S CHAMBERS, ALAUSA, IKEJA ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2020
Dear Great People of Lagos and Nigeria,
1. I rejoice with you all as the year 2020 ends in a matter of 2 days, thereby paving the way for another one.
2. I join you all in thanking Almighty Allah who has brought us this far, for continually bestowing His Grace upon us and for guiding our great state, and of course Nigeria, safely through all the challenges of this year.
3. The year 2020 indeed winds up in the next few days; nevertheless, we cannot but take a cursory look at some of the upheavals we witnessed in the course of the year, chief among which was the coronavirus pandemic as well as incessant upheavals unleashed by bandits, kidnappers, protests of different kinds as well as the Bokoharam menace, which all threatened the security of this nation. But we thank God that despite all of these, we are alive till this day.
4. Likewise, I remember the families that have been affected in one way or the other by these nasty happenings. To all the families affected, I commiserate with them and pray that may Almighty Allah replace all their losses. I pray against the recurrence of such in the year 2021.
5. It is worthy of note to mention that the unprecedented events in the outgoing year have dented a big blow on our economy. The harsh economic realities of the year 2020 occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and fall in the value of Naira cannot be overemphasised.
6. However, with the recent release of the budget proposals presented by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola SanwoOlu, which, expectedly, becomes a law today; and that of the President of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari; there are high hopes for Lagosians and indeed Nigerians to enjoy high dividends of democracy even at their doorsteps in the year 2021.
7. The monumental increase in the capital expenditure at the federal level and the fact that the capital expenditure is higher than the recurrent expenditure in the Lagos state budget are clear confirmation of the positive change the APC governments are preaching and implementing for Nigerians.
8. However, it is expedient to alert the government of the day at the federal level that for a desperate situation as presently experienced globally, appropriate and prompt measures need to be taken to find lasting solutions to some of our challenges as a nation.
9. For instance, at a time like this, we should be harping more on restructuring. Nigeria is made up of diverse ethnic groups which have similar goal of moving Nigeria to the next level but at times have different ideas on how to achieve it. No doubt, centralization of power at the Federal level as it exists currently in Nigeria is not the most ideal approach to accomplish genuinely necessary rapid development. Devolution of power from federal government to state and local governments is the way to go.
10. It is obvious to all and sundry that Federal government is simply too far away from the masses and cannot cover the whole country in an effective manner. There is an in-built limitation on what a government so far away from the people can achieve. People in each locale know their area far better than a federal minister or president located in Abuja.
11. So far, we have seen cluster of development around localities where new states are created which boosters the argument that development happens faster when government is brought closer to the people. Rapid development will occur if decentralization is carried out provided current level of corruption in Nigeria is brought to the barest minimum.
12. Presently, Item 39 of the Exclusive Legislative List gives the Federal Government the sole and exclusive power to legislate on mines, minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, and natural gas. At this stage of our existence as a nation, we should more concerned about the Federal Government’s persistence on the sole proprietorship of the natural resources domiciled in the states controlling the resources of this country through this curious Exclusive List. I believe that an ideal thing is for the Federal Government to devolve to the states some of these powers.
13. For the umpteenth time, the need to address some of our security challenges through the formation of state police is very urgent. It is gratifying to note that the Amotekun security outfit formed in the southwest is working assiduously to address some of the issues in their own little way. But with the full support of the federal government by allowing each state to manage its own police, I’m very well sure that it will go a long way to curb insecurity all over the country.
14. If we truly practise federalism, it is of utmost importance that we allow the devolution of powers, which is its key element. As such, the Federal Government should endeavour to shed weight by transferring some items in the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List to enable states have direct responsibility on state police, community police and prisons among others.
15. Permit me to emphasize it here that devolution of power does not mean disintegration of Nigeria. Rather, decentralization or devolution of power from federal level to the state and local levels will spur rapid development in Nigeria like we have never seen before.
16. Meanwhile, I use this medium to call on the rich among us to consider extending love to the have-nots among us. We should try as much as we can to accommodate the less-privileged in our midst. We should endeavour to remember how we started and as such consolidate on that in giving back to our society.
17. Ideally, it is every person’s duty to give back to society as much as they can—in fact, it is a joy. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make charitable donations; any effort makes a huge difference to someone who is in need. If you want to give back to society in the biggest way possible, sometimes the smallest acts are the kindest and richest.
18. I will also like to use this medium in appreciating the efforts of various committees’ chairmen and other staff members of this House who jettisoned their holidays to ensure proper scrutiny of the budget proposal before its passage today.
19. In the same vein, I must commend Lagosians, community leaders and the corporate world for their unflinching supports to this honourable House and our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) nationwide.
20. The steadfastness and support for the APC administrations at both state and federal levels are indeed unparalleled.
21. Let me at this juncture appreciate all the constructive criticisms we have received from all sorts of people. I must confess, they have really helped us to forge ahead. At the same time, those who felt otherwise, we encourage them to see the good job we are doing.
22. Meanwhile, may I urge Lagosians, and of course Nigerians, that while the APC governments at both federal and state levels are ready to improve your standard of living, you should reciprocate same by supporting the governments and ensure that you pay your taxes and dues regularly. We need to know that Lagos largely relies on taxes as its source of revenue. Of course, without them there is no way we can move the state forward. Also, let us all abide by all the government’s directives to combat the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
23. At the same time, I call on Lagosians to be law-abiding and be their brothers’ keepers. Let us all unite together and strive for success and peace.
24. We should be on the lookout for any suspicious movement in our neighbourhood and anyone suspected to be sinister in his/her moves should be promptly reported to the law enforcement agents around. It is my belief that in so doing, we can easily support the state government in ensuring the safety of lives and property.
25. As the new year approaches, may your life be filled with lots of celebrations as well as happiness.
26. I wish you all a superb and prosperous Year 2021.
Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly