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Enugu Lawmakers’ Preparation For Sixth Assembly

Posted: Jul 6, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu Enugu

Less than one month after the inauguration of the Sixth Enugu State House of Assembly, the members seem to have put behind them the dust raised by the appointment of principal officers for the House in order to forge ahead.

Ubosi

Ubosi

Last Monday, the 24 members of the House converged at Nike Lake Hotel Enugu for a retreat/induction workshop to prepare them for the business of lawmaking.

The 24 members at the retreat, who were all elected on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s platform, included 15 ranking members and nine first timers.

The ranking members are Mathias Ekweremadu (Aninri), Sunday Udeh-Okoye (Awgu North), Nelson Uduji (Awgu South), Ubochi Edward (Enugu East 1), Joseph Ugwumba Agbo (Enugu East II) and Ogidi Anthony (Igboeze North II).

Other ranking members are Ugwueze Mathew (Igboeze South), Emeka Ogbuabor (Isiuzo), Aniagu Iloabuchi (Nkanu West), Nwamba Chinedu (Nsukka East), Nkechi Omeje Ogbu (Nsukka West), Ikechukwu Ezeugwu (Udenu), Johnbull Nwagu (Udi North), Uzogbado Donatus  and Kelvin Ukuta (Uzouwani).

The new comers are Philip Nnamani (Enugu North), Paul Okenwa (Enugu South I), Ugwu Mary Onyinye(Enugu South II), Chima Obieze (Ezeagu), Ezeani Ugochukwu (Igbo-etiti East), Akadu James (Igbo-Etiti West), Ugwuanyi Ethel (Igbo-Eze North I), Nnajiofor Paul (Nkanu East) and Ene Chukwuka (Udi South).

Addressing the lawmakers at the retreat/induction workshop, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi urged the lawmakers to join the executive in the arduous task of taking development in the State to those in the rural areas.

Ugwuanyi who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Lolo Cecilia Ezeilo, reiterated the resolve of his administration to create more urban areas in the state with a view to boosting economic growth.

Speaking further at the workshop organized for the lawmakers by the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI), Ugwuanyi urged the legislators to join the executive arm in the arduous task of taking succor to our people in the rural areas. The Governor ad harped on the need to develop the rural areas stressing that to achieve the target, “requires the necessary sacrifices on the part of all of us.”

He also urged the assembly members to develop workable strategies for the prosecution of the agenda of the government through promotion of effective synergies between the executive and legislative arms of government in the State.

In an address at the occasion, Speaker of the House, Hon. Edward Ubosi said the workshop would equip members with the legislative skills that would make them legislators for proficiency and productivity.

Contributing, Clerk of the House, Sir Christopher Chukwura stressed that the induction workshop was a follow up to the recent legislative studies organised by the National Assembly with the National Institute for Legislative studies for all state legislators in the country held in Abuja recently.

He urged the legislators to pay adequate attention to the lectures mapped out in the programme stating it would help them imbibe the necessary democratic tenets required of legislators.

One of the resource persons, Prof. Emmanuel Omeh of the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC) called the executive and the legislature to have symbiotic relationship with one another to ensure good governance.

Prof. Omeh said the relationship between the executive and the legislature should not be a cat and dog relationship for the overall good of the people.

According to the don, what obtains is a separation of powers among the three arms of government but not a clear division or a demarcation of functions.

He explained that in carrying out their functions, at times the role of the executive can encroach on that of the legislature but made it clear that should not cause friction.

Omeh suggested that for there to be a cordial relationship, each should engage in lobbying to see that what they want to be done could be achieved.

The don lamented the relationship between the executive and the legislature become problematic because people have the impression that there should in-fighting between them but pointed out that with dialogue and lobbying, whatever friction would be sought out.

He further explained that the functions of the two arms of government are spelt out in the constitution for enhanced governance but should not call for friction but understanding.

Prof. Omeh advised the legislators to try at all times to have constant consultation with their constituencies pointing out that they should set up functional constituency offices.

He suggested the assembly members should from time to time have meetings with their constituencies to know the heartbeat of the people.

He stressed that, “through interaction with the people, they will inform the people on the workings of the government and get information in return from for better legislation and good governance.”

Presenting a lecture titled, “Committee System in Legislature,” the Director/Head of Department, Legislative Matters, Enugu State House of Assembly, Dennis Dunu canvassed for adequate funding of house committees of various states houses of assembly.

Dunu described the house committees as the engine room of the legislative assembly and posited that they should be adequately funded to carry out the onerous task of legislation.

He said that there were various challenges confronting committees of state assemblies but pointed out that inadequate funding of committee stages tops the most.

“Committees are poorly funded. No committee can function effectively without adequate funds for the day to day administration of matters,” he laments.

As a result of paucity of funds, Dunu said it is always difficult for house to engage the services of experts or consultants in legislative matters.

He noted that sometimes as result inadequate funding of committee stages, logistics and transportation becomes a problem.

“Many committee secretaries do not have means of transportation for their work.  This constrains some committees to abandon or fail to execute certain important assignments.

“Many legislatures do not engage many hands to carry out secretariat work of their committees. This has put certain level of pressure on the committee secretariats.

“Some basic modern equipment are still lacking in committees such as computers, internet facility, modern library and offices. This is hampering the work of the committees in no small way,” Mr. Dunu said.