Legislative Autonomy Critical To Democracy Sustenance - Former OGHA Clerk - The People's Voice


Friday, July 8, 2022

Legislative Autonomy Critical To Democracy Sustenance - Former OGHA Clerk

By Jumoke Adeogun, Abeokuta

The holistic implementation of financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly and the judiciary across the federation will boost the operations of the two arms of government towards achieving their constitutional roles, thereby giving them the needed impetus to effect the needed change for the sustenance of democracy.

A former Permanent Secretary/ Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Barr. Demola Badejo disclosed this while delivering his lecture paper titled: “Values, Attitudes and Work Ethics in the Parliamentarism: Issues, Challenges and Panacea” at the maiden edition of the  International Day of Parliamentarism organized by the State chapter of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Badejo explained that it was essential for the legislative arm to be independent in order to fully discharge its constitutional responsibility in a democracy, saying that an independent legislature must attain a new dawn that would enable it perform in line with the high expectations of the populace as the only arm of government responsible for the identification of the needs, yearnings and aspiration of the common man.    
While lamenting the long process and tortuous journey towards achieving independence for the State Houses of Assembly, the former information manager turned lawyer noted, “in this respect, the principle of separation of powers, a basic element in a democracy is yet to evolve fully.

Consequently, the growth and development of the legislative arm, the major difference between a democratic dispensation and military rule, has been stunted over the years because the executive obviously do not want an independent legislature. 

Most Chief Executives would prefer a lame duck House of Assembly. While the situation in the National Assembly is fairly better, the States have the Governors holding on to their jugular by stifling them of necessary funds. I recall how we battled in the past to get Houses of Assembly budgeted funds on the first line charge. Some Hon. Speakers even voted against the initiative, claiming their Governors would have removed them from their positions before they got home from our meeting in Abuja!”

Outlining the challenges facing the Legislature, Badejo, who was also a former State Chairman of NUJ, stated that, “absence of infrastructure has also hindered efficiency and stagnated development of the legislative arm of government in the State. While the executive has moved the Office of the Chief Executive from Oke-Ilewo to Oke-Mosan (1, 2, 3, &4) and the Judiciary has moved from Isabo to Kobape, the Legislature has remained in its 1978 complex, which has become archaic and most unbefitting.  

“Closely related to this is the issue of lack of regular training for legislative staff. As the least developed arm of government through no fault of hers, the legislature (members and staff) need to be exposed to regular training, locally and abroad”.

Counseling the Assembly’s staffers to perform their functions effectively, Barr. Badejo noted that availability of competent, dedicated and professional staff remained of high priority; admonishing them to exhibit loyalty, integrity, humility, honesty, spirituality, selflessness, compassion and kindness in addition to the strict adherence to the public service maxim of impartiality, neutrality and avoid animosity as encapsulated in the “omoluabi ethos”.

In his opening remarks, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, admonished the staff to continue to exhibit respect for the work ethics and the workplace towards sustaining productivity, “knowing fully well that the fine values, ethics and behaviours such as courtesy, integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance and sense of discipline in their collective bid are essential towards achieving institutional goals”.

Assuring them of sustaining a reward-driven institution and enabling environment, Oluomo challenged the workers to upgrade their skills, seek additional knowledge with a view to meeting emerging innovation in the discharge of their legislative duties; saying that today’s knowledge and skills would not be sufficient in confronting tomorrow’s challenges.

“However, at a time like this in the nation’s polity where the structures and institutions of democracy, whether in the developed or developing climes are built and centered around the legislature; workers who find themselves in its service must, as a matter of utmost responsibility be mindful that values, work ethics and attitudes are dynamic factors that determines the workers’ effectiveness. They must exhibit time-tested values, ethos and traditions of honesty, probity, transparency, integrity, hard work and service excellence that are all the attributes of the public service founding fathers”, the Speaker stated.

Earlier in his welcome address, the State Chairman of PASAN, Comrade Ayotunde Ojediran appreciated the members of the association for their steadfastness in the discharge of their duties, adding that the association was irrevocably committed to exploring all avenues to improve on the capacity of its members, who would in turn contribute to the development of the legislative institution

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