Constitution: Speaker makes case for State Houses of Assembly
By, Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar.
The Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon John Gaul Lebo , has said that the country’s constitution is one of the undoing of State Legislatures.
Lebo made the remark at the just concluded one day Consultative Meeting of House of Representatives Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Conference of Speakers held in Abuja.
He argued that the provisions of the Constitution kept the Houses of Assembly at the mercy of the governors, thereby making it impossible for a wholesome independence of State Legislature.
Lebo contended that the framers of the 1999 constitution even as amended did not take to cognizance the necessity of an outright independence legislature hence the manipulation and abuse of the parliament by state governors.
He however observed that the Houses of Assembly deserved to be totally independent from the Executive through constitutional granting of financial autonomy to it adding “otherwise the rubber-stamp appellation ascribed to the State Houses of Assembly would continue”.
He urged the National Assembly to help rescue state Assemblies from the clutches of governors by not only supporting the call for financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly but also ensure that constitution was amended to that effect.
The Speaker also harped on integrity management which he said remained critical to the reputation of any House of Assembly, adding that “members of the Assembly would not be abused or debased if they refused to compromise standard by not asking for kickbacks from members of the Executives or the organised private sector”.
Appalled by this negative tendency which had rubbed the integrity of the Assembly in the mud, he advised members to live above board so as to continue to preserve the integrity of the House as well as earn its due respect from all and sundry.
The event which featured former Senate President Dr Ken Nnamani and the immediate past Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly Rt. Hon Larry Odey, among others, also had Speakers of State Assemblies and National Assembly in attendance.