State Assembly Autonomy, Not Feasible – Lawmaker | Independent Newspapers Limited
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State Assembly Autonomy, Not Feasible – Lawmaker

Posted: May 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By David Odama, Abuja

A member of the Delta State House of Assembly, Tim Owhefere, has said that unless there is a constitutional back-up, the states assembly cannot enjoy autonomy from the state executive arm of government.

Owhefere, who spoke Monday in Abuja at the four-day induction course for state legislators, said states assemblies would remain subordinate to the state government because there are no definite constitutional provisions that make them legally separate and independent from the state government.

Owhefere, who was reacting to the call for autonomy for state assembly by the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said autonomy cannot be secured for the states assembly because the 1999 Constitution as amended does not expressly provides for their independence.

“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 releases 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 state assemblies will remain rubber stamps to the executive arm of government,” he said noting the change will only occur if the constitution is amended to that effect.

On the tussle between the Federal Government and the National Assembly over the amendment to sections of the 1999 Constitution, Owhefere observed, “You cannot force the judgment of the Supreme Court. I wonder why it took the Presidency so long to object to the amendment considering the huge sum of money expended on this project.

“Recall that the 36 houses of assembly met and voted on this amendment and to just wake up one morning to say that you are uncomfortable with the amendment, leaves much to be desired. I mean it doesn’t tell well of our democracy and if you look at all the amendments everything was designed to strengthen the very foundation of our democracy.”

Also, on the recommendations of the National Conference, the lawmaker lauded the report but regretted that it will like others be consigned to the dustbin.

“History has overtaken them again. It is going to be like every other report that we have seen in the past because the man who engineered it is gone,” he stated.