There’s Need For Harmonious Ties Between Executive, Legislature –Okoro

T. Hon. Emmanuel Okoro is the pioneer Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly where he held sway from January 30, 1992 to November 18, 1993. His tenure was brought to an abrupt end following the military intervention which scuttled the emerging democratic process that was still in its embryonic state. He was the Chief Adviser to former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghanon Legislative Matters. In this interview with The Acting Political Editor, Lucky Oyibo, Hon. Okoro spoke on the activities of the Fifth Assembly and its performance towards complementing the role of the executive for the infrastructural and socio-economic development of Delta State vis-a-vis the expectation from Deltans of the present government.
To what extent has the Delta State House of Assembly been able to work with the Executive for the unity of Delta State?
Well, to a large extent, I would say that the Delta State House of Assembly has worked harmoniously and it is still working harmoniously with the executive arm of the government for the good governance of Delta State. One would recall that in Nigeria in particular there are so many houses that have frictions with their governors and we are hearing every day the impeachment of one Governor or the other or every day and the removal of one Speaker or the other. But in Delta State, there has been harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislature.
The executive that was headed by our able former Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (CON) had cordial relationship with the members of the Delta State House of Assembly as far as governance is concerned. The lawmakers, too, or the legislators had also being working harmoniously with the former governor as far as lawmaking was concerned all for the progress and development of Delta State.
In the real sense, is financial autonomy practicable in the state?
Well, when we talk of financial autonomy, it is practicable if the executive arm of government wants it to be practicable. In a situation where funds are concentrated on the executives, it will somehow lead to the inactive or the reduction of performance in the other arms of government. We have three arms of government as we all know; we have the executive, and we have the legislature and also the judiciary. The judiciary ought to have been dependant on the executive in getting its funds. But of recent, if you recall very well, I think about a month or two months ago, there was this bill that was sent to the state House of Assembly for financial autonomy to the judiciary which is third arm of government.
But the executive is the second arm of government and the legislature is the number one arm of government and if the judiciary can have their autonomy as funds is concerned, there is nothing wrong for the legislature to also have their own. So, financial autonomy can be practicable if it can be practicable to the other two arms of government, then there is no way it cannot be practicable to the legislature.
How would you rate the performance of the Fifth Assembly in Delta State House of Assembly?
The primary objectives or the primary aims of the legislature are the making of laws to lead to the growth and development of the state. The legislature, as we all know, also carries out their oversight functions in also seeing to the performance of the policies that are being executed by the executive, and to me, as far as I am concerned, the Fifth Assembly has contributed its quota to the making of laws for the good governance of Delta State.
There are a lot of bills that the house has passed in this their tenure. They have passed a lot of bills all to enhance the socio-economic development of Delta State. There are so many of the bills particularly the budget of the state which encompasses all development programmes of the executive that are to implement and carrying out development in the state. This is one of the primary laws that are being made by the legislature for the execution of projects that would be of good benefit to the people. So, the Fifth Assembly has done its best. It has made a lot of laws that are to promote the excellence and the good performance of the state. So, they have tried as far as I am concerned.
Some bills have been passed but implementation has been stunted e.g, the Engineering Monitoring and Control Bill. What do you think is responsible?
The enforcement of a law that is passed, it is not just the legislature to implement, the executive is to implement and the executive implementation is not in one direction. There is a lot of publicity that we have to be made for the people to be sensitized first on the particular law that is made but like I said too, the Monitoring and Control of Engineering bill that was passed, the Governor himself has directors in the executive arm, there are some commissioners that have been appointed in charge of monitoring in most of these projects that are going on. We cannot say in totality that the projects are not being monitored. Many of the projects are monitored. I believe government is working towards the establishment of the board. Even though the board has not been established, but I think the monitoring of those projects is ongoing.
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has be sworn-in as the next Governor of Delta State; do you think he will be able to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of the various ethnic group in the state?
To the best of my mind and ability, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is one of the best things that have happened to Delta State. He is a grassroots man; a man that has been in governance for over the years starting from his councillorship to chairmanship of a local government council; from there to commissioners-a position he has held and also a legislator par excellence in the National Assembly as a Senator and he is grounded with all the crannies of Delta State. I think with his experience in governance, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa will be one of the best Governors that we are also going to have in Delta State and I know that because of his knowledge in all areas of governance in Delta State, he would make Delta State people to smile as far as government is concerned.
So, what are your expectations of the incoming Sixth Assembly?
My expectations for the legislature are to cooperate and work harmoniously with the present Governor. They should work with him just as they have also worked with the immediate past Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, all for the good of Delta State and also to make the people of the state have peaceful governance and have a peaceful atmosphere where things will go on well. And I know that Dr. Okowa, as a man that is ruled with the fear of God and having the Delta people in his heart as he has promised good things for Delta State to happened, Delta State House of Assembly has to cooperate with him and work harmoniously with him so that things would go on easily for the good of the state.
Secondly, the expectations of the in-coming government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa are very high. The expectation is just to make things happen as Dr. Uduaghan make things happened in the state. His own is to made sure a lot of things happened. Uduaghan has touched almost everything in various sectors of governance, education, health, roads and many others. I think the expectations of what the people of Delta want from Senator Okowa is to make sure he improves on those areas and make the people of Delta feel the impact of democracy.
What are your areas of priority for the incoming government?
My area of priority for the incoming government is to ensure that there is security in the state. Secondly, he is to ensure that projects that will have serious impact on the people are carried out in the various sectors of governance.