Rise above individualitc short -tem interest, focus instead on our children’s future – pro Abubakar O. Sulaiman, Director -General, NILDS
Rise above individualitc short- tem interests, focus instead on our children's future - Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman, Director - General, NILDS
Rise above individualistic short-term interests, focus instead on our children’s future – Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman, Director-General, NILDS
Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman, Director-General, National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies has challenged Nigerians and the parliament community to rise above individualistic short-term interests and focus instead on our children’s future and those after them.
The Institute have organized a two-day workshop for Clerks, Deputy Clerks and Directors, Legal of State Houses of Assembly for the new year, 2023.
This workshop is specifically targeted at providing refresher knowledge to Clerks, their deputies and legal directors on some of the essential requirements of their work during a legislative transition.
The responsibility of managing transition rests with them, and it is crucial that they understand the essentials of concluding one assembly and starting another. In addition, they will have to deal with issues of finalizing legislative business, payment of severance, and inducting and inaugurating members-elect.
To do this effectively, the topics at this workshop are framed to familiarize them with the relevant aspects of administrative and legislative processes and procedures.
The blend of resource persons to include some Clerks from among their ranks who have relatively more experience on specific issues such as operationalizing autonomy is laudable and intended to encourage experience sharing. The practical sessions on the inauguration of a new Assembly will also provide them with hands-on knowledge of the various steps and their role as Clerks. To encourage them to participate fully and pay close attention to the rubrics. This is important considering the expected high rate of legislative turnover in 2023.
The Director-General congratulated them for their determination and commitment in facilitating the consideration and passage of the Constitutional Alteration Bills, which have been transmitted to the President for assent in line with provisions of Section 9(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
He was particularly delighted that of the 27 states that forwarded their resolutions on the bills, several are their partner states: Adamawa, Benue, Cross River, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Osun. I strongly recommend more activism for pending bills, especially the Bills on Local Government Financial and Administrative Autonomy. The two related Bills stand at the very core of our democracy, and we have a solemn patriotic duty to our country to ensure their passage, he said.
He also said, it is not flattering to us as a people that twenty-four years since the transition to democratic rule, we are still debating the merit or otherwise of such fundamental issues. All aware of the pressure from some governors to scuttle this significant reform. Still, I challenge us to rise above individualistic short-term interests and focus instead on our children’s future and those after them.
The Bill on Local Government Financial Autonomy seeks to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and provide for a special account into which shall be paid all allocations due to Local Government Councils from the Federation Account and the Government of the State and for related matters. Fifteen (15) states have considered and approved the Bill, namely, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun and Osun. On the other hand, ten (10) states have rejected the Bill, and these are Benue, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Rivers and Yobe. Two (2) other states, Adamawa and Bayelsa, abstained, while nine (9) states – Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara are yet to transmit.
He admonished all present to do everything to stop history from repeating itself all over. Recall when State Houses of Assembly voted against their own financial autonomy at the behest of their governors. Today, many of those lawmakers are living with the guilt of that poor choice. It is my contention that State Assemblies are yet to recover from that initial setback. While Nigeria has made tremendous progress in strengthening our democratic processes, as attested to by the Electoral Act, 2022, States also have an obligation to continuously support the efforts being made at the centre and contribute to nation-building.