Legislative autonomy ‘ll strengthen democracy – Ex-Speaker
By Mary Agidi
If the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari to grant autonomy to the state legislature succeeds, it would strengthen democracy and allow timely and adequate monitoring of government’s activities.
An erstwhile speaker of the Ondo state House of Assembly, Mr. Bakkita Bello maintained this postion in an interview with The Hope.
Bakkita who said the autonomy is belated, however described the willingness of the President to grant it as a welcome development, noting that the independence would have numerous effects on the society.
According to him, if the state legislature have liberty to discharge its duties in accordance with the constitution, it will improve democratic deliverables.
He said: “When I was the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, we made the move then to ensure that the constitution was reviewed and ensure the encompassing of the autonomy of states legislature and their local government arms of the federation.
“But then, it required a two-third majority of the legislature of the federating states; some states did not see why it was necessary then, but now that we’ve come to the age of reality, it’s good for us, it’s good for democracy, and for our people.
He noted that the responsibility to ensure good governance at the state level and providing quality representation to the electorate lies on the shoulders of the legislators, hence, the need for the autonomy to enable them perform as expected.
The former Speaker also said that the autonomy would allow the legislative arm to serve as a watchdog of the executive and the judicial arms of the government in ensuring that they perform their responsibilities according to the law.
“There will be more effects, the independence will guarantee effective legislature/lawmaking, and will equally guarantee timely and adequate monitoring of the government’s business.
“Again, it would allow for objectivity at the legislative level, there won’t be an issue of the legislative going to the executive begging for fund to execute or carry out their responsibilities.
“They will have the resources to engage the people the more, and most importantly, it’s going to be a boom to democratic growth and deliverables in this country”, he said.
Bakkita who expressed optimism that the autonomy would be granted, therefore appealed to the lawmakers to see it as a call to duty and be more responsive in their legislative businesses in representing their people, as well as carry out their watchdog business on the executive.