Resist Executive Interference, Mark Tells Legislators | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Resist Executive Interference, Mark Tells Legislators

Posted: May 12, 2015 at 8:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ignatius Okorocha  and David Odama, Abuja


Senate President, David Mark, on Monday, in Abuja, charged members of the state assemblies to resist all forms of executive interference and stop being mere rubber stamps of executive decisions.

Mark expressed regrets that some state legislatures have become rubber stamps in the hands of governors. He said this was concomitant with lack of financial autonomy by state lawmakers.

He gave the advice in his keynote address to declare open a five-day induction course for fresh state legislators.

He stated that;  “tt the national level, the legislature has continued to assert its independence and resist executive interference.

“Thus, the legislature has achieved institutional stability and transformed from being a ‘mere rubber stamp’ of executive decisions and policy initiatives into an institution that now enjoys a reasonable degree of legitimacy and respect.

“I am aware of the weaknesses in the resource positions of many, if not all the state assemblies.

“Most state assemblies face challenges such as lack of adequate facilities, low quality of support staff, inadequate capacity building activities and Executive dominance and interference.”

He urged them to borrow a leaf from the National Assembly, which has achieved institutional stability and transformed from being a ‘mere rubber stamp’ of executive decisions by resisting the executive interference.

Said he: “The legislature in Nigeria has a chequered history. But in all its travails, the parliament has stood on the side of the people and intervened at the most critical moments to salvage the system from imminent collapse.

“I have always maintained that the most important legacy of the legislature in the last 16 years is its commitment to lawmaking, oversight functions and representation to ensure good governance. The legislature has also come to be recognised as a watch dog of the executive and an important link between citizens and the state.

But member of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Tim Owhefere, said that unless there was a constitutional backup, states assembly could not enjoy autonomy from the state executive arm.

His words: “If there is no law backing autonomy, it can’t change. You cannot insult a man who needs to give you money every week. The state assembly will continue to be a rubber stamp to the executive arm of government so long as the executive release the cash.

“If there is no law on ground to define and shape autonomy for the state assembly, the situation will remain the same. So, if there is no autonomy for state assembly all states assembly will remain rubber stamps to the executive arm of government.”