By Richard Thomas and Okunade Adekunle
The Houses of Assembly in the six states of the southwest region of Nigeria have harmonized and adopted reports to have a common Standing Order and House rules to checkmate indiscriminate impeachment of Speakers and Principal Officers.
The lawmakers at a meeting of adoption of the rules in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital tagged “Validation and adoption of harmonised standing orders for Southwest Houses of Assembly rules and standing orders” said that the adoption of the rules would deepens democracy and checkmate the excessive executive.
The Chairman, Speakers Conference in Nigeria and the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa who spoke on behalf of his colleagues said that the decision to harmonize the house rules was beyond politics but it is for the progress of the region.
At the meeting were the Speakers of the Houses of Assembly in the Southwest States, Deputy Speakers, Majority leaders, and selected members of the Houses.
According to him, this is beyond politics alone but a way to develop our democracy in the southwest. Having same rules in the state Houses of Assembly in the region will beautify our democracy because there can’t be democracy without parliament.
He said, “It will also remove the acrimony being witnessed in the past where few people try to remove the speaker or change the system in the parliament. Once we have conformity in our rules, nobody can do something otherwise and get away with it. It will also checkmate the excesses of the executive in influencing the leadership of the houses of Assembly without conforming with the provisions of the law because there is no way you try to change the rule of the House without considering the effect of such on other House.
“The new rules itself has a measure to checkmate Impeachment because you cannot act alone in isolation, if you do, we in the other part of the southwest state can come together and say no, you have not follow our rules.”
The Majority Leader of Osun State House of Assembly who doubled as the Chairman southwest legislative reform implementation committee, Hon. Timothy Owoeye, said that the aim was to exchange ideas and programme for the progress of the region.
“Today, we are harmonizing our standing rules of the houses of Assembly in the region. We are making a landmark achievement as far as legislative business is concerned. Apart from that we are working with the executive to achieve the southwest developmental agenda which has the legislative backing. So, we are coming together to speak in one voice.
“This has not happened in the history of the southwest before. We are also looking at having an arena where the houses of Assembly in the southwest will come together to have a big dream to have a unified medical centre or mechanized farming system which will be able to feed the entire region. This has nothing to do with party affiliation but governance.”
Also, the deputy speaker, Oyo state house of Assembly, Hon. Musa Abdulwasi said “Our discussion boarders on revalidation and harmonization rules of proceeding that will regulate the procedure of the houses of Assembly in the southwest. As a matter of fact, what we are trying to do is to reincarnate the legacy left behind by chief obafemi Awolowo and other doyens of our modern politics in the South-West.
“We are trying to subject all the houses of Assembly to comply with the same rules that will govern the affairs of the state so that whatever happens, in Oyo will be happening in Ogun, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti and Osun, that is what we are trying to do. This is because we are the principal stakeholders in the struggle in the integration of the southwest. If we are talking about integration, we are not talking about the economy integration alone but political integration. We are looking at the situation whereby we have something strong and uniform in the region.
“This document makes the procedure to remove the speaker rigorous as it is to remove a governor, so nobody cannot just jump into the chamber and serve the speaker with notice of impeachment. It is not possible under this rule. You can only impeach the speaker with signature of one-third of the members of the house”.