By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law an Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the Legislature and Judiciary across the 36 States of the Federation.
The lawmakers also applauded Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria for his untiring efforts with other state assembly speakers, in making sure the financial autonomy eventually saw the light of the day.
The commendation was made when a motion was moved during plenary session on Monday by Hon. Noheem Adams, Deputy Majority Leader of the House who noted that the effort of the Federal Government is to strengthen democracy through the implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and the Judiciary.
While allaying the fears of the state governors, Adams said that, the autonomy is to fortify the principle of separation of powers and ensure true independence of the three arms of government in the Federation.
He further spoke on the notable achievements of the Speaker, “You have made history and your name is been invoked in today’s democracy in all the States of the Federation for your laudable achievements and in the move towards the implementation of financial autonomy for the Legislature and Judiciary.” He said.
Other members also voiced their support for the Speaker and other parties involved in the passage of the financial autonomy law.
Hon. Tunde Braimoh (Kosofe 2) stressed that the financial autonomy has ensured that the legislative arm of government is equipped with the wherewithal to achieve its oversight functions.
In his view, Hon. Victor Akande ( Ojo 1) acknowledged the effort of the Speaker and all others who stood their grounds to ensure that the financial autonomy came to limelight.
Hon. Rasheed Makinde ( Ifako Ijaiye 2) emphasized that the autonomy shows democracy is coming of age and it recognizes the legislature and judiciary as independent integral arms of the government.
“The fact that we have been given the autonomy does not mean we want to engage in power tussle with the executive, but share financial independence in line with tenets of democracy.” He said.
Hon. Abdusobur Olawale ( Mushin 2) said ” I use this opportunity to thank President Buhari for signing the Executive Order and also to commend our Speaker for his effort in ensuring that the order was signed. It is a welcome development as it will help to strengthen the principle of separation of power and our democracy”.
In his contributions, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) noted that over the years, the public perception of government has always encompassed the executive without giving cognizance to the judiciary and legislature despite being the representatives of the people.
“Thank you Mr. Speaker for your doggedness and resolve at ensuring that this happens.”
“We also want to thank Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for endorsing you. Asiwaju has spotted out someone who has the resolve to push matters and the governors should not see this as a form of opposition or diminishing their power but a move to ensure that the three arms of government work together independently and interdependently without any sentiment or rancor.” he reiterated.
In his contributions, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) who commended the Speaker, said, “you did not mind that your State had gotten the autonomy and you ensure this is extended to other States. Your labour has not gone in vain and through you I congratulate other Houses of Assembly”.
However, the Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa stressed that the executive should not see it as a sign of confrontation or means to whittle down their power, but will still maintain their title as Heads of Government.
Obasa thanked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, for his roles that eventually resulted in the signing of the order by President Buhari just as he commended his colleagues in the various Houses of Assembly for their steadfastness at all times.
“This was achieved through the collaboration of everybody. The benefit of this might not be seen now but later in the future. Governor should not see this as a confrontation. What is next is consultation among the arms of government”, he said.
The House therefore resolved to write commendation letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate, House of Representatives, Nigerian Governor’s Forum, Attorney General of the Federation, Senior Special Advisor to the President on Legislative Matters and the Conference of Speakers.
It will be recalled that Buhari recently signed an executive order granting financial autonomy to state legislatures and judiciaries months after Speaker Obasa led a team of his Speaker colleagues on a visit to the President at the Aso Rock Villa where he made the demand.
The Executive Order 10 signed by Buhari makes it compulsory for the 36 states to always include the allocations of the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.