By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Following the recent inauguration of the 8th Oyo State House of Assembly, a Political Scientist, Dr. Gbade Ojo, has set agenda for the newly elected-lawmakers in order to have a robust parliament that will impact positively on the people of the state.
Dr. Ojo, who is a Senior Lecturer and a one-time Head of Department of Political Science at the University of Ilorin, spoke at the inaugural workshop held for the newly- elected lawmakers at the Mic Com Golf Hotel, Ada, Osun State.
The workshop was aimed at acquainting the newly-elected legislators with the necessary skills required to carry out their constitutional duties.
While delivering a paper titled “Separation of Powers and Good Governance: A Rear View Mirror,” Dr. Ojo opined that the three arms of government, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary must imbibe the spirit of power separation in the interest of the polity.
Ojo, who was the immediate-past Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Political Matters, further stressed that the theory of separation of powers is no doubt a theory of “divisionism,” stating that separation of powers forbade overlapping membership, thereby compatible with the tenets of democracy.
He maintained that political liberty could only be endured if the three arms of government are separated both in personnel and functions, adding that each arm of government must serve as a check on the excesses of the other.
“This theory states in an unthinkable terms that those who are in the legislature should not be in executive, neither should they participate in judicial processes. What it means really is that those who make the laws should not be the set of people who will implement the laws,” adding that if judges were members of parliament, they would be subjected to party passions and the interpretation of the law would be coloured by the recollection of the debates in which they had taken part.
He noted that separation of powers is justified by preventing concentration of power in one person or group of persons, which naturally might lead to tyranny and oppression, which according to him, might result in personalized power where rulers rule for their own interest.
Dr. Ojo highlighted three ingredients of good governance to include wisdom to discern the real interest of the people, goodness to endeavour always to pursue them and strength of power to carry this knowledge and intention into action.
“From the aforementioned, good governance means the manner in which power is exercised by governments in the management and distribution of a country’s social and economic resources. The nature and manner of this distribution makes governance a bad or a good one,” he observed.
Exploring the nexus between good governance and democratic consolidation, the political expert quoted UNDP in its 1997 reports, which came up with a catalogue of what it takes to sustain a democracy, which are popular participation, democratic sustenance, government legitimacy, transparency, ability to develop the resources and method of governance, promotion of gender balance, among others.
He, however, said for a government or any of its organs to be assumed or perceived to have qualified as passing “passing good governance test,” it must be responsible and responsive, while maintaining that good governance could not be achieved if organs of government do not cooperate.
“What is required in a federal system of government is nothing but an organic or cooperative federalism,” Dr. Ojo stated.
Lawmakers at the workshop spoke to WESTERN POST on their plans and agenda for the state, especially on the contribution of the legislative arm towards national development.
One of them, Hon. Olawunmi Oladeji (LP), representing Ogbomoso North, said one of her foremost priorities as a lawmaker would be to create employment opportunities for youths in her constituency.
She stated that she would be committed to her campaign promises, saying she would attend to the needs of the people, especially in the area of job creation.
For a returning member, who is also the Speaker of the newly-inaugurated 8th Assembly, Hon. Micheal Adeyemo (APC), representing Ibarapa East, his constituency should expect more from him in the area of delivery of dividends of democracy.
He said he would fulfil the promises he made to his people during his campaign and would not let them down.
He also promised that the 8th Assembly would continue with the good policies the 7th Assembly. “As we know, all aspects of government involve continuity because it is not easy for a government to finish all its policies and projects within four years.
“The 7th Assembly has done well and we hope that the 8th Assembly will surpass that,” the speaker said.
Also speaking, a returning member, who is the new Majority Leader, Hon Kehinde Subir (APC), representing Ibadan South-West 1, called on the 8th Assembly to adopt some policies of the 7th Assembly.
For him, bringing dividends of democracy closer to his people is part of the agenda he has set for himself
According to Subir, the laws are for good governance of the country and the state and if adopted, it would put things right in the country and at the state level.