By Eric Elezuo
The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, Friday, declared that the executive arm of government must go a step further in its efforts at governance to strengthen democracy and the democratic institutions.
“It is noteworthy to emphasise the need for the survival of the legislature by all means for democracy to thrive and be sustained. And this must be seen as the responsibility of all, most especially the Executive. The Executive must go a step further to ensure the survival of the legislature,” he said.
The Speaker made this declaration during his opening address at the celebration of the third anniversary of the Lagos State eight assembly, with the theme: Strengthening Legislative Institutions: Panacea for Enduring Democracy, which was marked with a special parliamentary session.
Obasa noted that between June 2017 and now, the legislative chamber has passed 13 bills and made 45 resolutions.
He painless itemized the achievements of the eight assembly in its short existence to include the review of the Land Use Charge Law 2018 which was perceived as obnoxious; the enactment of a law seeking to establish the Lagos State Cancer Research Institute to provide for the promotion, aid and coordination of researches relating to cancer and cancer-related illnesses; the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Law 2018, which will ensure that only professionally qualified teachers are employed in the state as well as the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 expected to address issues relating to the challenges of road commuters in the state among others.
He further appreciated the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for his giant strides in the field of governance and provision of amenities for Lagosians as well as supervising the smooth passage of the assembly Appropriation Bills, and gave kudos to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for spearheading the spirit of modern Lagos.
Among prominent citizens that graced the occasion were the vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Oyo State, who was represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Oluseyi Abimbola; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was represented by former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Femi Pedro; Deputy Governor of Lagos, Alhaja Idiat Adebule, former Deputy governor Sarah Sosan, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’aba; ouse majority leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; Lagos Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Adeseye Ogunlewe, All Progressives Congress chairman, Tunde Balogun, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, Abiodun Ogunley, Chief Judge of Lagos State, APC Lega Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; traditional rulers, members of the civil society among very many others.
Full Text of Speech
It is my pleasure and honour to welcome you to this 12th edition of the annual lecture commemorating the Third Session of the 8th Assembly with the theme: Strengthening Legislative Institutions: Panacea for Enduring Democracy.
- We as representatives of the people strongly believe that this is a medium to contribute intellectually to the growth and development of the tenets of democracy which in turn will strengthen and deepen our democratic practice and institutions. We are convinced that the legislature is the most notable symbol of democracy. This is so because that is where the public sees democracy in action, in the form of debates, and consideration of motions, resolutions and bills. And indeed, the Lagos House of Assembly, as one of the key state institutions in a democratic system, has a critical role to play in promoting democracy and good governance.
- Ladies and gentlemen, as it is indicated in the theme of this assemblage, it is noteworthy to emphasise the need for the survival of the legislature by all means for democracy to thrive and be sustained. And this must be seen as the responsibility of all, most especially the Executive. The Executive must go a step further to ensure the survival of the legislature.
- An executive arm that negatively influences the business of the legislature cannot be categorised to be a democrat. Hence, the Executive should play the role of a father who ensures the survival of his child. In addition, the relationship between the Executive and Legislature should be of cordiality. Otherwise, a sign of instability and catastrophe will rear its ugly head.
- At this juncture, as the elected representatives of the people, it is expedient for us to present our scorecard for necessary appraisal by the electorate and for the purpose of setting the records straight. I am proud to say that this House since its inauguration on June 8, 2015 has passed into Laws twenty-eight Bills with over a hundred resolutions.
- In the legislative year under review, we continued to blaze the trail in formulating laws for the benefit of the good people of Lagos State and in the promotion of a truly inclusive, participatory, open and people-oriented democracy.
- Since last year when we met like this, we have successfully passed a total of 13 bills into laws while we have also made 45 resolutions. Some of these laws address issues related to our environment, power and energy sector, health, transport, as well as education. Notable among them is the Lagos State Electric Sector Reform Law 2017, which aims to ensure the protection of consumer interest and compliance with environmental laws. The law is to further strengthen electricity generation, distribution and transmission for improved power supply in Lagos State.
- Also, because of the public outrage on some parts of the Land Use Charge Law 2018 that were perceived obnoxious, your Assembly, in line with its commitment towards inclusive governance, engaged in extensive dialogue with various stakeholders to ensure its proper review.
- Furthermore, the enactment of a law seeking to establish the Lagos State Cancer Research Institute to provide for the promotion, aid and coordination of researches relating to cancer and cancer-related illnesses is part of the ingenious measures undertaken by this House. It will institutionalise the campaign against cancer and improve the health and welfare of the citizenry.
- So also is the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Law 2018, which will ensure that only professionally qualified teachers are employed in the state; and the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 expected to address issues relating to the challenges of road commuters in the state.
- It also gladdens our heart that the passage of our Appropriation Law has been prompt and thorough without any contradictions towards delivering dividends of democracy to Lagosians.
- Distinguished guests, resolution, as a powerful legislative instrument, has been used in tackling various issues that directly affect us as Lagosians. For instance, the need to commence public sensitization on the importance of preserving sites, monument, and locations of historical relevance in the state, necessitated the call to the Commissioner for Education to include studies of our cultural heritage in the school curriculum in Lagos State.
- As we all know that no meaningful development can take place in an unsafe environment, the rapidity of our response to emergencies determines the level of security of lives and property. Thus, this House of Assembly called for the urgent upgrading of all fire service stations in Lagos State with modern firefighting trucks, service equipment and personnel, to enable the Agency combat fire incidents with a view to preventing loss of lives and property in the state during fire or flood disaster.
- In the same vein, we have not relented in organising training programmes for lawmakers and staff, a factor that has improved their legislative and administrative performances. Of course, we will continue to improve on this.
- Permit me also to intimate you with the fact that for the first time in the history of this hallowed chamber, we have been visited by two First Class royal fathers, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Alayeluwa Ooni Enitan Babatunde Adeyeye Ogunwusi OJAJA II and Owa Obokun of Ijesha land, HRM Oba (Dr) Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II. The courtesy visits were as a result of the sterling performance of the 8thassembly and the promotion of Yoruba culture and heritage, in line with our Yoruba Language Promotion and Preservation Law, 2018.
- We have also not relented in organizing annual constituency stakeholders’ meetings simultaneously in all the 40 constituencies of the state, while holding the MDAs to account through intensive and effective oversight activities, as we respond earnestly to the petitions by Lagosians through appropriate Standing or Ad hoc committee.
- Good people of Lagos, we cannot exhaust the details of our achievements so far.
- May I at this moment, however, commend our brilliant and energetic governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode for the good jobs he has been doing which are visible all around the state in which the entire state is more or less becoming a construction yard. Everywhere you go now, you see one or two construction jobs going on.
- No doubt, the secret to the achievements recorded all over in Lagos has been the foundation which was laid by the national leader of our great party, the enigmatic, charismatic and intelligent Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – a sterling example of statesmanship and steadfastness. Of course, his uncommon leadership roles have made it possible for all the successes recorded so far by the Lagos State government, especially this House of Assembly.
- Distinguished guests, on behalf of my colleagues, it is my honour and privilege to welcome back into our midst the Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, whose coming here today into this hallowed chamber, to my knowledge, will be the 3rd time. He has appeared twice before this honourable house as a nominee for commissionership and today as a visiting Vice President.
- Sir, we appreciate your contributions as well as your style as a political leader which has created a new chapter in the political development of Nigeria. Your persuasive nature, total loyalty to the President and commitment to the tenets of democracy have been recognised all over. We commend you sir. It is worthy of note that it was during your administration as the Attorney General of Lagos State that the Office of Public Defender was established for the facilitation of justice system for the poor in the state. In fact, your being here today is to us a homecoming. I thank you for honouring our invitation.
- Your Excellency Sir, through your office, we will like to say a big thank you to President Muhammed Buhari (GCFR) for his magnanimity and a wonderful gift he has given to Nigeria through the recognition of June 12 as a Democracy Day. It was a pronouncement that changed our political perception and will further strengthen our democratic tendencies.
- At the same time, we must also seize this opportunity to ask that you help use your office in making our request known to Mr President as regards granting Lagos State a special status as well as restructuring our political and economic systems in Nigeria.
- Distinguished guests, may I use this medium, however, to congratulate our great party the All Progressive Congress, APC, for the success in the recent congresses from the Ward to State level and up to the Federal, which culminated in the National Convention, ending successfully well to the chagrin of the prophets of doom.
- Moreover, I will like to commend the former state’s Executives for their sterling performance while in office. Evidence of this can be seen in all the elections conducted during their tenure in which our great party, APC, emerged victorious. While wishing them well in their future endeavours, I urge the new Executives to imbibe the winning spirit and culture of the past excos.
- Let me also take this moment, ladies and gentlemen, to recognise the presence of our political leader, our mentor, our guardian, His Excellency, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of the State of Osun who is also the honorary 41st member of this Assembly. Lagos will never forget you for your enormous contributions towards its political stability as well as in the infrastructural development of this state when you served as a Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure.
- Likewise, we appreciate the presence of His Excellency, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State who to us serves as a symbol and promoter of our language, Yoruba. Your Yoruba oratory skills have become so amazing to us all. Your efforts in turning around Oyo State also are well noted. As such, we urge you never to relent on this. I will also never forget your brotherliness and support.
- In our midst, similarly, is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, a man known for his penchant for candour. The fact is there that during your administration, you did not compromise the integrity of the legislature.
- Overall, I thank the good people of Lagos State for their vote of confidence in us and their unflinching support. Indeed, you all have been part of our success story and I enjoin you not to be weary in making useful contributions towards the realization of our dreams for greater Lagos State, especially through prompt tax payment.
- We shall remain undeterred and purposeful in our resolve to take Lagos to a greater height.
- Thank you so much for honouring our invitation today.
- Once again, I welcome you all to this great event and I thank you for listening.
Itesiwaju ipinle Eko, lo je wa l’ogun