Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Friday evening, urged lawmakers across the country to eschew all acts that can constitute clogs in the wheel of progress based on party differences, saying the whole essence of politics is to serve the people and give back to the society.
Speaking while declaring open the Second Quarterly General Meeting of Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria held at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, Governor Ambode said politicians across party lines must be constantly reminded that the essence of politics which is also enshrined in the Constitution is the protection of lives and property and welfare of the people.
He said it was gratifying that in the wake of movement of people across political parties in recent times, speakers of the 36 State Houses of Assembly in the country were in Lagos to discuss issues of national importance, just as he expressed optimism that the lawmakers would come up with further measures to deepen democracy and advance the welfare of the citizenry.
According to the Governor, “As politicians, we must ensure that the electorate continues to believe and trust in the principles of equity and the rule of law. No arm of government must be a clog in the wheel of progress on the basis of partisan differences and that was why I said that it is very significant that irrespective of our party lines, irrespective of what has happened, we are still here to find a common-ground to discuss national issues that relate to autonomy, that relate to State Police and that is the message that we have been sending in the last three and half years.
“The whole essence of us being called politicians is to be able to give service to our people. When we do the road, bridge or the hospital, it does not ask whether you are PDP or APC neither does it ask whether you are Ibo, Hausa or Yoruba before you can climb on the Third Mainland Bridge.
“So, the whole essence is to ensure that we give back to our people and like I would always say and always agree, there are only two reasons why we are in this business of politics which are also enshrined in the Constitution – protection of lives and property and welfare of our people and so no matter what strategy or path or geographical landscape we use, what is important is that we should be able to achieve those two objectives and I believe strongly that this conference and meeting will focus on those objectives and ensure that we are able to arrive at something very lucrative to our people,” he said.
He said no arm of government can exist without the other, and as such, there must be collaboration and mutual understanding across party lines for effective governance to take place.
“Legislature is vital to the sustenance of democracy. Its stability, equity and economic prosperity through the effective performance of legislative duties and oversight functions cannot be overemphasised.
“There is no arm of government that can exist without another. So, it is very clear in our mind that there is need for collaboration, mutual respect and understanding across party lines for effective governance to take place,” Governor Ambode said.
While commending all the Houses of Assembly for the role they have been playing to ensure good governance and deepen democracy in the country, the Governor also congratulated them on the newly assented law granting financial autonomy to the Legislature and also the Judiciary, saying the development would further guarantee the independence of the two arms of government in line with the principle of separation of powers.
He said before the new law was passed, the Lagos Assembly had been enjoying financial autonomy, which according to him, had also been responsible for the high-capacity delivery of services by his administration since inception, adding: “As you move round our State in the course of this meeting, you will appreciate the modest achievements we have recorded as a result of the harmonious relationship that exists between the executive and the legislature in Lagos State.”
Speaking earlier while leading his colleagues on a courtesy visit to the Governor, Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa said they were at Lagos House to inform the Governor of the fact that 36 Speakers across Nigeria were in Lagos to deliberate on key issues of national development including financial autonomy and State Police.
Obasa specifically thanked the Governor for his huge support which made the hosting of the meeting possible, as well as the harmonious atmosphere for Executive-Legislative relationship in the State.
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Also, Chairman of the Conference and Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Mr Ismaila Kamba commended Governor Ambode for the massive infrastructural development across the state, saying the name of the Governor had been written in gold in the history of governance in Lagos.
“Anywhere you are in this country, you know the effort the Governor is making in building bridges, building roads and enhancing security. We are aware the Governor has further bought hardware of security so that this centre of excellence will continue to live and answer its name as the centre of excellence,” Kamba said.