By Adekunle Williams
Ikeja, April 27, 2021 The Lagos State House of Assembly has urged state governors to implement the Executive Order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, granting autonomy to state legislature and judiciary.
This was the house’s resolution on a motion moved under Matter of Urgent Public Importance by Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa II), at the plenary on Tuesday.
Naija247news reports that the house moved the motion against the backdrop of the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN).
The strike was sequel to the non-implementation of the Executive Order by the state governors.
The lawmakers said that the striking workers were pushed to the walls, leading to the strike.
They, however, urged the governors to implement the judiciary and legislature autonomy in full scale, according to the provision of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
Yishawu, moving the motion, commended the former governors in Lagos State for implementing and sustaining the financial autonomy of the judiciary and legislative arms of government.
“We want to commend all the governors that have served in Lagos State from 1999 to date, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode.
“Also, the incumbent Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for implementing and sustaining financial autonomy of the legislature and the judiciary in the state.
“We want to commend PASAN and JUSUN for standing by democracy through their peaceful strike.
“Also, we want to urge the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures to have the political will to defend their autonomy,” he said.
Yishawu said the strike was beyond money, but was about the need to uphold the tenets of democracy.
Contributing, Mr Desmond Elliot (Surulere I- APC), commended the state government and the Speaker of the Assembly for ensuring that the state enjoyed the autonomy.
Elliot said that JUSUN and PASAN were right on their decision to embark on strike, adding that lack of autonomy would weaken the other arms of government.
Also, Mr Victor Akande (Ojo I), said it was appalling to subject any arm of government to ridicule or to the whims and caprices of the executive.
Akande said the president had said that where any state government failed to do otherwise, the Accountant-General of the Federation should deduct the money from the source.
In his remarks, Mr Femi Saheed (Kosofe II), said it was a thing of joy when the President announced the autonomy of the judiciary and legislature in May 2020.
Saheed said the judicial and legislative arms of government have right to be independent, adding that this would make them to work effectively as expected.
Another lawmaker, Mr Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu I), also Leader of the House, said: “The strike has been on for quite some times now, and the governors have not seen the impact on the masses.
“Some people ought to have been freed by the court, but they are still in prison due to the strike, while legislative activities have been grounded in many states,” Agunbiade said.
Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, however, thanked the lawmakers in the assembly, PASAN and JUSUN for their love for democracy.
Obasa also thanked the lawmakers that served in the assembly, when the bill on autonomy of the state assembly was passed.
The speaker appreciated all former governors and present governor of Lagos State.
According to him, we may not have total autonomy in the assembly, but we still enjoy it more than others.
“We are talking about restructuring and devolution of power, they should start from the states.
“Devolution of power and restructuring should start from home. If that is not done, it will be wrong to start telling the Federal Government to share power to the states.
“We appeal to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to start working on the autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary.
“Without the legislature, there is no democracy. The NGF should do everything in agreement with the parliament.
“The Houses of Assembly should know their rights. We have always had visionary leaders in the state, and we want to commend the state House Assembly for standing by democracy,” he said.
The speaker, therefore, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Lekan Onafeko, to write commendation letters to PASAN and JUSUN for sustaining the democratic institutions in the country.