Legislatures can’t work well without autonomy –Amb. Ugokwe
By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi
Citizens in the country have been enjoined to commit themselves in rendering services that will benefit the teeming populace in the society, Amb. Dr. Jerry Sonny Ugokwe has advised.
Amb. Ugokwe was speaking at an event on Sensitization of Citizens on Financial Autonomy for the state House of Assembly organized by DFID-Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) in collaboration with Organisation for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) and funded by Endowment for Democracy (NED) held at Grand Central Hotel in Kano recently.
Ugokwe, who spoke on ‘An Overview of the Functions of the state Legislature in Nigeria,’ reiterated that it is high time for the citizens of the nation to learn to serve rather than being served.
He said they should strive hard to pursue issues of benefit to all and sundry rather than being selfish, stressing that they should learn to give rather than taking.
He urged legislatures to live up to expectation, saying that the autonomy of the state House of Assembly would be of immense benefits to the citizens, pointing out that their independence would also give them a better chance to perform their duties effectively.
In another paper he presented tagged: ‘The Concept/Principles of Financial and Administrative Autonomy for State Legislatures – Implications for Service Delivery,’ Amb. Ugokwe, said the role of the lawmakers includes enacting, repealing and amending laws, confirmation of appointments, removal of some laws/public and judicial officers and oversight functions among others.
He said if the legislature is autonomous, there would not be interference on how the lawmakers should conduct their jobs from the executive or rather the state governors.
According to him, the autonomy of the legislature will deepen and sustain democracy, propel a better society, enhance attainment of dividends of democracy to the people and strengthen good governance.
He noted that throughout the nation, only four state assemblies are enjoying financial independence.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Team Leader of PERL, Malam Jibrin Ali Giginyu told the participants that the objectives of the session were to provide a platform for partners to reflect on the mandate of the legislature in the country’s presidential democracy as well as to enable them to review the challenges faced by the legislature, efforts made towards addressing them and collectively agree on mechanisms of enhancing its functionality.
Giginyu further said the event was intended to enable the partners to reflect on the concept of autonomy/independence (administrative and financial) of the legislature and agree on measures for building consensus between the executive and the legislature on the implementation of financial autonomy for the state House of Assembly.
Malam Giginyu also joined Amb. Ugokwe to co-present the above topic.
According to him, if they are financially autonomous, the legislatures would be able to do their oversight functions effectively.
He added that service delivery would also improve if there is financial autonomy to the legislature.
The event went into a panelist discussion on advocacy strategies and recommendations for implementation of the financial autonomy for Kano State House of Assembly, with Prof. A B Ahmed, Abdulrazaq Alkali and Mustapha Isa of Mambayya House as panelists, while Senator Bala Adamu moderated the discussion.
In his vote of thanks, the Executive Director of OCCEN, Malam Abdulrazaq Alkali, hoped that the tempo would be sustained in order to continue to move the society forward, describing ECP-PERL as wonderful partners.