Gyang Bere, Jos
The Conference of Former Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria (COFSSHA) said it went through hell to secure autonomy for State Houses of Assembly.
Chairman of COFSSHA and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, disclosed this yesterday when the body awarded and honoured three of its members who were elected Governors and Deputy Governor in the 2019 election, members appointed Ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari, Commissioners and Advisers by various state governors.
He noted that the present Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly cannot claim absolute credit for fighting for the autonomy of the State Houses of Assembly autonomy, saying former Speakers played a critical role.
“Most former Speakers lost their seats in the struggle for the autonomy of state legislatures, we went through hell to secure the autonomy, some Speakers were fighting with their governors for this purpose,” he said.
“All of us have supported the issue of autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, but beyond the call for autonomy, the synergy, check and balance and collaboration between all arms of government is what we should strive to build because of the interest of our people.
“COFSSHA was established primarily to ensure that the reservoir of knowledge and experience acquired by the former Presiding Officers of State Legislatures is not wasted but deployed for the building and sustenance of our democratic experience.
“We cannot shy away from making our contribution to national discourse such as the one relating to strengthening the State Houses of Assembly in such a manner that they will work independently but in collaboration with the Executive and Judiciary to ensure good governance and development in our States.
“We must continue to lend our voices to various issues in our polity in order to ensure that the democratic culture is deepened and our people truly experience and harvest the dividends of democracy.”
Lalong noted that there is a strong synergy and collaboration between the Executive and the Legislature because of his experience as former Speaker and now a Governor.
He said that he has supported the House of Assembly to function without any interference and it has supported the Executive to deliver on its rescue mission.
“May I therefore congratulate our award recipients for tonight and pray that this will spur them and others to do more in building the legislature and our democracy as a whole while serving our people with the best of intentions and energy.”
The Awardees included: Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, Executive Governor of Plateau State; Rt. Hon. Ahmed Fintiri, Governor, Adamawa State; Rt. Hon. Use Oko Chukwu, Deputy Governor, Abia State; Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Hon. Minister of Transportation and Senator; Dr. Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora, Minister of States, Health; among others.