The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has expressed concern over the “unholy romance” between state legislatures and state governors.
According to him, such relationships had constrained the state lawmakers from performing their constitutional duties effectively.
This is even as he noted the need to re-examine the role of state legislatures.
Speaking at a retreat organized for members of the Gombe State House of Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, Dogara lamented the dependence of state legislatures on the executive noting that it hindered the former from performing its constitutional duties.
The speaker who also reiterated the role of the legislature in managing resources of states, charged the lawmakers to seize the opportunity presented by the process of constitution Amendment to endorse their independence as recommended by the National Assembly.
“I dare say that the relationship between some state legislatures and state executives is too smooth for comfort and is giving majority of our people a level of concern and is on that account that we decided to offer autonomy to state legislatures.
“The responsibility of managing resources is vested on the legislature. All monies accruing to a state from whatever source are not meant to be spent except in consequence of appropriation by the house. And the constitution apart from giving you this overwhelming Powers of appropriation, still gives you the power to ask questions if in your opinion, the money is not judiciously utilized.
“It is our responsibility to ask questions and when we do, certainly some people will not want to answer and that will lead to dispute. So, we are bound to disagree with the executive. If we do our job effectively, we will experience that situation but the truth is that is how it should be.”
He noted that if most state legislatures effectively discharged their responsibilities, the country would be better.
“The role of state legislature needs to be re-examined. I say this without fear or favor. If most of the state assemblies were effective in the discharge of their responsibilities in terms of oversight and appropriation, Nigeria will be better.
“From federal allocation, more money is transmitted to the states than the center hence, the need for us to look at it more seriously.
“I am not advocating that state legislatures go up in arms against state executive, no. We can he confrontational without being combative”, he submitted.
The speaker further hinted that the proposed amendment to the constitution will soon be transmitted to the thirty six state Houses of Assembly for concurrence and charged the lawmakers to seize the opportunity presented by the process to endorse their independence as recommended by the National Assembly.
“It is on the account of this concern we decided to offer autonomy to state assemblies. We have offered, it is for you to take it. It is important you endorse it and other proposals for good governance. It is about democracy, it is about openness and good governance at local level”, Dogara stated.
Earlier, the speaker of Gombe State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasir Abubakar Nono said the retreat themed “Effective lawmaking for good governance” was borne out of the need for the lawmakers to keep abreast with lawmaking processes that will foster good governance and concretize the unity of the country.