LAGOS ASSEMBLY THIS WEEK
By: Okunade Adekunle
The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, (Rt) Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has debunked the media report that the conference of speakers had adopted local government autonomy as part of the proposed amendments of the constitution.
Obasa, who also expressed reservation on the ongoing 1999 constitution amendments by the National Assembly, argued that failure to include devolution of powers to states would render the exercise as worthless.
The Speaker said this during plenary session when the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, presented a report over the just concluded conference of speakers’ forum in Yola, Adamawa State.
Obasa however disclosed that the forum did not pass such resolution on autonomy of local local government as reported in some media, adding there was not such discussion during the meeting.
“We did not discuss anything relating to autonomy to local government. We were only given the privilege to go back homes and get the feelings of our people,” the Speaker said.
While reiterating on the general amendments to the constitution, Obasa maintained that the proposals would have only favour the National Assembly and not the interest of the people.
“The States have nothing to rejoice without devolution of powers. It is not something we should be cheerful about especially now that people are clamouring for restructuring.
“The National Assembly should do something meaningful; something that will be acceptable to Nigerians. The amendments proposed so far are not something we should be talking about now. We will register our grievances,” the Speaker noted.
In his report, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Sanni-Eshinlokun had earlier disclosed that the conference started last week Thursday and was concluded on Saturday.
The Deputy Speaker also added that out of the 33 items that were proposed for amendments, only 22 would be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembles for debate.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Uchenna Ubosi, was reported ( Not in Western Post) to have said that the Conference of Speakers had resolved to support the autonomy for Local Governments and State Assemblies.
LAHA: Bill to Strengthen Use of Yoruba Language in Lagos Schools Now in Final Stage, Defaulter Risks N500,000 Fine
From all indications, the use of Yoruba Language in all schools within and across Lagos State may be enacted as a law soon by the Lagos State House of Assembly as the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Hon. Olamrewaju Ogunyemi read the committee’s report on the proposed law during the plenary session during the week.
The major purpose of the bill is to strengthen the use of Yoruba Language in all the schools operating in the state.
In the Bill entitled, “A Bill for a Law To Provide for the Preservation and Promotion of the Use of Yoruba Language and for Connected Purposes.”, all the laws in the state would be translated into Yoruba Language.
According to the Bill, which has passed second reading, it would be compulsory for all primary and secondary schools in the state to include teaching of Yoruba Language as a core subject at all levels.
The bill also provides that all state- owned tertiary institutions are to incorporate the use of Yoruba Language in the General Studies (GNS) courses.
Part of the bill reads, “The use of Yoruba Language shall be an acceptable means of communication between individuals, establishment, corporate entities and government in the state if so desired by the concerned. It shall not be an offence for a person to speak Yoruba Language by the state government.”
To ensure compliance, It was added in the bill that any school that fails to comply with the provisions of Section 2 of the law commits an offence and is liable on first violation to issuance of warning and on subsequent violation be closed down and also pay a fine of N500,000.
While speaking after the plenary session with newsmen, Ogunyemi stated that the committee might change a provision in the bill that it would take effect after two years of its passage as most of the members wanted it to start immediately after it is signed into law by the Governor.
The Education Committee Chairman stressed further that the Lagos State House of Assembly is passionate about Yoruba Language, which is why it adopted the language for plenary on Thursdays.
“The National Policy on Education provides that the language of an environment should be spoken in schools, which is why Yoruba Language is being adopted in Lagos schools. After the passage of the bill into law, it would become compelling for schools to speak Yoruba Language. We want to preserve the language for generations yet unborn”, said Ogunyemi.
Asked if the private schools were carried along in the process, Ogunyemi stated that they were part of the foundation of the bill and that they were at meetings the committee held across the education districts in the state.
Ogunyemi pointed, “Private schools would have no choice than to key into the project as the school owners have been properly mobilised and the state Ministry of Education would ensure compliance.”
IPOB Lacks Popular Appeal, Must Not be Tolerated — Lagos Lawmakers
As both Federal Government and the agitators of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have shifted their battle to the Court of Law, reactions still continued on the agitations of the group as some lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly argued that agitations of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), lacked popular appeal, must not be tolerated and be totally rejected by all and sundry in order to ensure the continuous existence of Nigeria as a united entity.
They argued further that agitations were not unexpected in a democracy, advising that all aggrieved sections of the country should employ democratic means to articulate their demands rather than violence.
The lawmakers advised the Federal Government to show more patience and courage in tackling the menace of IPOB.
According to the lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 1, Hon. Olusola Sokunle, stated that the agitation process and system lacked democratic ingredient that is expected of a popular struggle, saying that the agitation was strategically designed to champion personal interest.
Sokunle, Who is the Chairman, House Committee on Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, explained further that IPOB if not quickly curtailed as it was done by the federal government it may end up becoming a draconic and dreadful group which may cost the country its unity and existence.
He however, urged elders and leaders in the South East to sensitize their youths on the necessity for the continuous existence of Nigeria as an indivisible entity.
In his comment, Hon.Tunde Braimoh, representing Kosofe Constituency 2, stated“The problem of IPOB is a very serious issue but, it is not exactly unexpected in a democracy. However, people want to mistake right for liberty and there is no freedom that is absolute, there is no freedom that is not qualified, and there is no freedom without an end.. This present agitation of IPOB however, lacks popular appeal and the premises on which they are agitating now cannot be compared with the premises created before the outbreak of Nigeria’s Civil war.”
Braimoh added, “Not even one local government or state in the Eastern Geo-political zone supported this agitation. The agitation lacks popular base. Even if it has popular base, there is a constitution in place which proscribes secession or setting up any government in consistent with the one set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is marked as treason and felony.”
According to Braimoh, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, national discourse and discussion should continue in a democracy.
He stressed“There is an opportunity to talk now that the National Assembly, political parties and groups are proposing restructuring. Any aggrieved section have lawful opportunity of national discuss to articulate and ventilate whatever grievances and ideas they have right now”.
Braimoh, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, noted that the country had several agitations on either to be together or not.
The lawmaker said that when the Southern Cameroon left, every other parts of Nigeria chose to stay together.
Braimoh, who said that the Federal Government was a bit hasty in proscribing IPOB as a terrorist group, commended the government for realigning itself to the tenet of the constitution.
Describing the activities of IPOB as provocative, the spokesman for the Assembly urged the Federal Government to be more proactive in handling the matter.
Also, Hon. Abiodun Tobun, the Chairman, House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, stated that the call for disintegration would not pay any group saying “If we separate, there will still be agitations”.
Tobun added “Agitation is welcome in a democracy that is why so many people even from the South East, even from the community of Nnamdi Kanu deny being part of the agitation for Biafra. We are in a democracy where people have the freedom to express their mind but it has to be democratic approach. If it is not, it will be term treason. We should sit at a roundtable and resolve all issues leading to agitations,”
Another lawmaker,Hon. Setonji David, representing Badagry 2, noted“As a people, we have a mutual understanding to live together, so if a part doesn’t want to continue, I think it should be discussed rather than to take law into owns hands. I don’t believe any part is interested in secession, however, what is lacking is justice, fairness and equality and where these do not exist, there can’t be peace and patriotism.”
David, the Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, said that there were so many advantages in staying together in unity as one indivisible entity.
“Those clamouring for Biafra have not seen what war is, they have not experienced war. Those who saw the civil war definitely are not part of this drum of war. We should discuss if we need changes and the change we come,”said David.
2017 Budget: Ambode Seeks Lawmakers Support on Re-Ordering
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, during the week wrote to the House of Assembly seeking its support for the re-ordering of the 2017 Budget.
Ambode made the request in a letter he personally signed, and which was read on the floor of the House by the Clerk, Mr. Azeez Sanni during plenary.
In the request letter, a total sum of N42.028 Billion made up of N31. 105 Billion from capital expenditure and N10.922 Billion from recurrent expenditure would be re-ordered if the proposal is approved by the Assembly.
The letter reads: “ The re-ordering would help in upscaling road construction and rehabilitation to improve connectivity. The re-ordering would be spent on purchasing 700 buses for Lagbus in line with state transportation reforms, upgrading of equipment for the state emergency authority and improving security equipment for better surveillance. This will however, not affect the total budget of N813 Billion passed for 2017.
The letter reads further: “The 2017 budget has performed 64% by the middle of the year, adding that the re-ordering was necessitated by the review of the priority of the state government. It is now expedient to re-order the budget to address some of the critical expenditures to enhance efficient delivery of services.We want to provide world class infrastructure to the people of the state. The proposed re-ordering is expected to increase the tempo of good services and address the priority of the state government.It will address main fiscal strategy and sustain expenditure profile, it will drive capital expenditure by improving the capital recurrent ratio.”