The Lagos State House of Assembly has called on the Nigerian Governors Forum to recognize and activate the Executive Order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2020, granting autonomy to the state legislatures and judiciaries.
Speaking against the backdrop of the ongoing strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) over the non-implementation of the executive order by the various States Houses of Assembly, the House said the workers were pushed to the wall to embark on the strike.
The matter was raised under a matter of urgent public importance by Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) during plenary on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
The House then called on the Governors Forum to implement the Order, implement in full scale the provision of the constitution as amended, recognizing the independence of these arms of government.
“We want to commend all the Governors that have served in Lagos State from 1999 to date, including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and the incumbent Governor Babajide Olusola 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 call on Conference of Speakers to have the political will to defend their autonomy and we are commending the Lagos State House of Assembly for defending the tenets of democracy,” Yishawu said.
Mr. Yishawu stated that the strike went beyond money but that it was about the need to uphold democracy.
The lawmaker stated that the concerned staff would not be able to operate appropriately without autonomy, adding that the state government had nothing to fear since they would still give the three arms of government what they deserved based on the provisions in the budget.
Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, thanked the lawmakers, PASAN, and JUSUN for their love for democracy.
Mr. Obasa also thanked the lawmakers that served in the Assembly when the bill on the autonomy of the state assembly was passed into law and thanked all the governors that have served in the state since 1999, from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to incumbent Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
“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, and they should start from the states.
“Devolution of power and restructuring should start from home. If that is not done, it would be wrong to tell the Federal Government to share power with states. We appeal to the Governors Forum to start working on the autonomy of the legislature and the judiciary.
“Without the legislature, there is no democracy. The Governors Forum should do everything in agreement with the parliament.
“The houses of Assembly should know their rights. We have always had visionary leaders in Lagos State and we want to commend the state house assembly for standing by democracy,” he said and directed the Clerk of the House to write commendation letters to PASAN and JUSUN for sustaining the democratic institutions in the country.
Some other lawmakers took turns to speak on the matter.
Mr. Desmond Elliot (Surulere 1) commended Lagos State and the Assembly Speaker for ensuring that Lagos State enjoys autonomy.
Mr. Elliot said that JUSUN and PASAN were right over the strike, saying that lack of autonomy would weaken the other arms of government.
Mr. Victor Akande (Ojo 1) said that it was appalling to subject any arm of government to ridicule or the whims and caprices of the executive.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had said that where any state government failed to do otherwise, the accountant general of the federation should deduct the money from the source.
Also speaking, Hon. Femi Saheed (Kosofe 2) said that it was a thing of joy when President Muhammadu Buhari announced the autonomy of the judiciary and legislature in May 2020.
Mr. Saheed stressed that the judicial and legislative arms of government had the right to be independent, saying that this would make them work as expected.
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The House Leader, Mr. Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu 1), said that a state’s budget consisted of those of MDAs, legislature, and the judiciary and that this became operational once the Governors signed it.
“The strike has been on for quite sometime 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,” he said.
Mr. Setonji David (Badagry 2), in his contributions, said that there could not be true democracy if one arm of government is lording it over others and that there is no freedom if the judiciary is not independent.
“The former American President, Donald Trump, did not want to leave office, but he had to go due to the independence of the judiciary and the legislature.
“We must change our constitution because it is lopsided against the people. The Governors should free the legislature and the judiciary,” he said.