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Ochei, Tambuwal Parley; Reps Urge Financial Autonomy For State Legislature

Source: SAINT MUGAGA, THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
R-L: SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, RT HON. AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL AND SPEAKER, DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, RT HON VICTOR ONYEKACHI OCHEI DURING OCHEI'S VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TODAY, JUNE 23, 2011.
R-L: SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, RT HON. AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL AND SPEAKER, DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, RT HON VICTOR ONYEKACHI OCHEI DURING OCHEI'S VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TODAY, JUNE 23, 2011.
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ABUJA, June 23, (THEWILL) – The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Onyekachi Ochei and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal met on Thursday afternoon at the National Assembly Complex where they both agreed to work together to strengthen the legislative arm of government.

Ochei, who lead a team of members of the Delta State House of Assembly to the House of Representatives on a courtesy call on the Speaker, said the purpose of the visit was not only to congratulate the Speaker on his election but to also strengthen the legislature and forge an alliance that would put the legislative arm of government at par with other arms of government.

The Delta Speaker in his address harped on cooperation between state legislatures and the National Assembly and suggested the creation a liaison office where state legislatures and the National Assembly can express themselves especially on several issues and called for the amendment of the Exclusive Legislative list of the Constitution in order to offer states opportunity to make inputs to laws being made by the National Assembly on matters that they hitherto, had no powers to legislate on as this according to him will “reduce the rancour between them.”

During the visit, Ochei revealed that for the first time since the creation of Delta State, three former Delta State House of Assembly members are now serving their constituents in the National Assembly, adding that it was indeed a new dawn for the legislative arm of government.

L-R: DEPUTY SPEAKER DELTA HOUSE BASIL GANAGANA, SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPS AMINU TAMBUWAL AND SPEAKER DELTA HOUSE VICTOR OCHEI.

Welcoming his visitors, Rt. Hon Tambuwal also congratulated Ochei on his election as Speaker and pledged support for his office and the entire the Delta State House of Assembly.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives said that granting financial autonomy to the State Houses of Assembly would help in strengthening the independence of the legislature at the state level.

Tambuwal said granting the state legislatures financial autonomy to enjoy first line charge from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation will go a long way in strengthening the parliament at that level.

“It was unfortunate and ironical that that particular amendment was turned down by some of the state Assemblies. I therefore urge you to take steps to accepting the request when next we send it,” Tambuwal said.

The Speaker cautioned the lawmakers against engaging in unconstitutional change of leadership saying, “the understanding is for us to engage ourselves constructively. You may use your oversight function to call them to order.”

Recall that in July last year, the state Assemblies endorsed the amendment which granted the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commissions financial autonomy by putting them on the consolidated revenue fund of the federation but rejected theirs.

He promised that the House of Representatives would work with the legislative arm of government at the state level in order to strengthen democracy and deliver on good governance.

The lawmakers thereafter went into a private session where journalists were not allowed access.