By Ayo Fadimu
Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo has identified capacity building programme as a major veritable means of equipping the Legislative arm towards protecting the nation’s democracy, hence lawmakers and career staff of the Legislature must improve their knowledge on the processes and procedures required in lawmaking towards ensuring a vibrant legislative arm for national development.
Oluomo stated this in his welcome address at the capacity building workshop for members of the State House of Assembly organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) held at the TCC Ogere Convention Center, Ogun State.
Stressing the importance of training at enacting viable legislations by the 9th Legislature under his leadership, the Speaker added that such trainings alongside consultations and advocacy measures would be explored to ensure the successful take-off of the Financial Autonomy granted to the State Legislatures by President Mohammadu Buhari as contained in the Executive Order 10.
The Speaker commended the organiser on behalf of other lawmakers across the nation, saying they that the organisation had consistently availed participants highly beneficial skills at their various fora especially on legislative practices and procedures as obtainable across the world.
In his remarks, the Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, pointed out that the State legislators must begin the process of building internal capacity within the Assembly, preparatory to full autonomy by understanding its implications on legislative administration and parliamentary business as lawmakers and career officers needed to understand the various roles and responsibilities that the autonomy seeks to put on them.
Tasking the lawmakers to put in place the needed internal structures, mechanisms and invest in strengthening the capacity of members and staff in anticipation of full autonomy, while continuing to dialogue with their colleagues and the Executive Arm on how best to operationalize the Constitutional provision of autonomy, the Director-General stressed the need for the understanding of public financial management and budget process as well as the requirements for transparency and accountability in the management of resources.
“We operate a presidential democracy that emphasizes the total independence of all arms of government as a way of promoting checks and balances. The crafters of our constitutions wanted to ensure that the body that approves is different from that which implements and that which adjucates. These functions cannot be conflated in the executive. To perform its core mandate, therefore, the legislature should use its autonomy and dedicate sufficient funds to hiring competent people into the legislative service and strengthening the capacity of members and staff on a regular basis,” Prof. Sulaiman opined.
In his speech, the Resident Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Dr. Vladimir Kreck, said in the nation being a Federation entity, it was expected of the State Legislature to play a more decisive role in the governance of the State, hence the need to orientate participants on the need to be more proactive in the exercise of their duties for the promotion of good governance in Nigeria.
Papers delivered at the training programme included: “Legislative Agenda and Benchmarking the activities of the State House of Assembly, Overview of Legislative Practices and Procedure, Management Models of Parliaments and State House of Assembly Service Commission, Financial Autonomy of State Houses of Assembly and LGAs in Budget Budget Management Processes , Legislative Code of Conducts and Ethics”, amongst others.