Stakeholders in Kaduna state have appealed to members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly to vote in favour of the Local Government financial and administrative autonomy, State legislature and Judiciary financial autonomy bill, among other bills transmitted to them for resolution.
The stakeholders which include members of the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) Nigerian Union of Local Government employees (NULGE) Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Civil Society organizations (CSOs), among other critical stakeholders expressed that if these bills are passed, many of the challenges ranging from; insecurity, unemployment, poverty among others, bedevilling the state and the country at large would be addressed.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of a one-day session with the stakeholders to influence the consideration and ratification of Constitutional Amendment, organized by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a ukaid funded programme, in Kaduna, lead member, Mr Yusuf Goje of Coalition of Associations for leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED), added that the passage of the bills will go a long way in contributing to ensuring inclusive development in Nigeria and also contribute to sustaining our democracy.
They argued that many of the States House of Assemblies is unable to perform their constitutional responsibilities independently because of the lack of administrative and financial autonomy.
According to them, “It is not a hidden fact that this country is bedevilled with numbers of key challenges that boarders on insecurity, unemployment and poverty, and it is our collective believe that LG autonomy is one key area through which these challenges can be addressed because of the social disaster that we are currently confronted with in Kaduna and the country at large
“We also need to note that one of the critical things that we need to strengthen this country are institutions; thus it speaks directly to the autonomy, especially financial autonomy of both States house of Assembly and the Judicial Institutions. This is key because when these institutions are independent they will play their constitutional role of checking and balancing what the Executive Arms of government are doing.
“Similarly, we also note some instances where the judiciary in some cases are not been able to effectively carry out their responsibilities because of some certain factors that we know speaks to their autonomy, especially financially, so we feel that if these bills are passed it will make these institutions more independent, they will have control over their resources and be able to perform their constitutional responsibilities effectively.
The group, however, noted that their advocacy for the passage of these bills is not only to the Kaduna House of Assembly, but to all the other assemblies across the country, noting, “we need two third of this House of Assemblies, that is 24 State house of Assembly, for it to be assented to by the president.
In his welcome address, the state lead, PERL, Mr Abel Adejor said that for the bills is expected be passed by the Senate, comprising 72 Senators and House of Representatives, with 240 members as well as two third of the state assemblies, which is 24 out of 36 states, hence the need for critical stakeholders to lobby for the passage.
He said, “Reach out to your members of state Houses of Assembly, tell them to vote in favour of an amendment of the constitution for autonomy for the legislative and local government areas.
“We must ensure we lobby all the key stakeholders.
“We are doing this to ensure our lobby members of our state assembly to vote yes,” he said.
He further added that out of the 68 bills advocated by PERL, only 44 passed and are set for amendments.
“44 out of the 68 bills passed in amendment, some were dropped, like that the state’s creation, and the most important bill PERL is looking at is the legislature and legislative bureaucracy, which seeks to recognize the state’s assembly legislative service commission just like the civil service and judicial service commissions to provide operational modalities.
“PERL like in previous years, is working with critical partners and stakeholders to champion advocacy for the ratification of the critical bills by the state houses of assembly, especially the bill that would increase the functionality of the LG systems through financial and administrative Autonomy as well as other bills
“The media play an important role in shaping and guiding discourse on constitution review and explaining how it affects the citizens”, he said.
Also, the State partnership facilitator, PERL, Istifanus Akau, said the objective of the meeting was to engage critical stakeholders to lobby and influence the ratification of the bills transmitted to the Kaduna state House of Assembly
He added that it was aiming to engage platforms and professional groups, including the media to influence the State House of Assembly representatives to make informed decisions in favour of the bills transmitted to the House.
“Advocacy visit to the State legislators and other critical stakeholders to influence the ratification of the bills transmitted to the State House of Assembly, and to agree on strategies for continuous advocacy for the passage of the bills by the Kaduna State House of Assembly”, he said.