Autonomy For State Assemblies: What Deltans Should Expect

The Speaker of the Delta State House of
Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori,
had upon resumption of one of its plenary
last year, announced the receipt of the
Fourth Alteration Bill 2017 from the Clerk of the
National Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Lori.
According to the letter, both chambers of the
National Assembly had passed the bill on July 27,
2017, adding that its transmission to states was
in line with section 9; sub-section 2 of the 1999
constitution. The alteration sought to reach a
resolution in sections 2,4,5,6,8,9,14,15,16,20,21,
22, 24, 27 and 28 of the 1999 Constitution.
As part of the process of amending the 1999
Constitution, the Delta State House of Assembly
adopted financial autonomy for state assemblies.
The Section (4) provides for the funding of state
Houses of Assembly directly from the consolidated
account.
A move as significant as this one certainly triggers
questions and opinions in public polls. One of such
question must be hinged on the import or essence
of the bill, the position of the state legislature
when or if the autonomy is achieved, and what the
electorate; the very soul of government stand to
benefit. And if autonomy is what it takes to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, why
not?
In some quarters some have advocated that
they are granting the houses financial autonomy does not guarantee an open check to misbehave.
Basically, autonomy for State Houses of Assembly is for
effectiveness, independence, reducing bureaucracy and
also for the house to show responsibility. But then, with
the autonomy, the need to be able to show discipline
and managerial agility to carry on also becomes a
desideratum. Freedom calls for responsibility. The house
leadership needs to show good faith and the zeal to be
able to carry out the responsibility will be against you.
The autonomy is all centered on financial autonomy.
To allow the house have a first line charge to be able to
take care of our own, plan and have our own budget.
However, in view of the synergy enjoyed between the
Delta State executive and Legislature, what difference
will autonomy make?
Relatively, there is no difference in sight. The only
thing now is how the house can effectively take care
of its own responsibility and effectively do things with
better speed. There has been synergy between the
executive and the legislature in Delta State and they
have shown responsibility. They have shown discipline
and resilience; they have shown that they are vibrant
and that they can take care of their selves.
In view of this, house of assembly autonomy might not
make any difference but calls for more responsibility
on the part of the principal officers led by the Speaker
who will happen to be ‘the Chief Executive Officer of the
House of Assembly’.

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