NIGER HOUSE: SWEET ROMANCE WITH TALBA
BY WOLE MOSADOMI
The trend of 'absolute loyalty' by the state legislature to the executive branch is likely to continue. Towards the ending of the last House of Assembly the relationship had matured into a romantic affair and it is not surprising that the present House of Assembly has picked up from the romantic note where the last House stopped.
Under the immediate past House of Assembly all Executive bills sent were looked into and passed almost without amendment. The budget of the state also presented to the House for the past four years years were approved with dispatch and this cordiality gave room for smooth operation and paved way for accelerated development in the state.
Another political chapter has now begun in the state with Hon. Mohammed Tsowa Gamunu as the Speaker. He was formerly vice chairman, Edati Local government and a third timer in the Legislative business having completed eight years in the House.
With just about two months at the helm of affairs, the same note of cordiality has now been struck by the Gamunu led House.
One major factor that has always contributed to the cordiality between the two arms of government is the dominance of the ruling party, PDP in the House. For example, in the 1999 general election the House of Assembly was dominated by PDP which had twenty six seats while the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP had the remaining seat.
*Gov Aliyu Babangida
In the 2007 elections, PDP was in the majority with fourteen seats, AC two while the ANPP had eleven seats. Despite this narrow disparity PDP had over its ANPP rival, proceedings in the chambers proceedings went smoothly as there was no rancour within the House and with the Executive.
The PDP's control over the present House is equally domineering with the party having twenty-four of the twenty-seven seats while the latest opposition party in the State, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC got a miserly three despite its loud showing during the campaigns.
After the last election, eleven of the old legislators returned while sixteen are new members. Though most of the members are new, some of them are not new to administrative proceedings as they have been in the corridors of power for many years and can quickly adjust to legislative proceedings.
Among the ranking and new legislators are some very vocal members who are likely to bring vibrancy, maturity and new life into legislative proceedings.
Hon. Isah Kawu Bida cannot only be regarded as the most vocal in the sixth legislature, but is now seen as an upright legislator worthy of emulation. Kawu had been very vocal against what he saw as wastage in governance and always suggested a way out.
As a way of practically demonstrating his quest for transparency and accountability, he rejected a Prado Jeep given to all legislators by government, shunned the America trip organized for the state legislators to understudy the American parliament in session, and reportedly rejected some largesse paid into his bank account by government while others collected.
For his constituency project fund, he set up a committee from his constituency to identify projects, quantify their monetary values and the same committee equally handles the execution.
Other members both old and new to watch include the impeached speaker, Mohammed Mohammed Alkali who will want to prove that though he is no more the speaker, he can still defend his constituency, criticize, speak for the voiceless and still play his constitutional role even by identifying with government or not.
Others are new entrants, Barrister Adamu Usman who was the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice who will want to prove that his coming to the House is for a purpose and it is to make a positive impact on the people. Hajiya Sa'adatu Kolo had been championing women causes and had been coordinating female soccer in the state and has also floated some NGOs to actualize her dreams.
Those that will also draw the attention of the people include the longest serving legislator, Haruna Labaran who will no doubt want to show the stuff he is made up of and will therefore want to steer the House aright in the event of a derailment.
Also to be watched is Hajiya Jummai Jafaru who is regarded as 'Mother of all' in the House will also want to be a force to be reckoned with.
The execution of constituency projects is one of the constitutional provisions for the members and during the sixth Legislature, some projects were executed by the members but much still need to be done for the electorate who are the direct beneficiaries of the projects.
Speaking following his inauguration, the new Speaker Gamunu expressed his willingness to follow the same path of cordiality as trudged by his predecessors.
'We cannot achieve much in an atmosphere of crisis and disharmony and we must therefore choose to trade the path of progress by making good legislators that will enable the Executive perform its role with relative ease. The last Legislature was able to achieve numerous successes due to the complete understanding by the state governor because he is a leader that believes in the independence of the legislature,' the new speaker observed.
He however alerted the governor on an area that may likely cause friction if there is no perfect understanding between the two arms saying, 'the chief servant knows that oversight function of the Legislature are always carried out in good faith. It is not an avenue for Legislative witch hunting but rather to correct seeming shortcomings so that collectively we can forge ahead. We are happy to have you back as the governor of the state and hope the same spirit of mutual trust and respect for one another will continue to flourish to enable us improve upon what has so far been recorded.'
With the hand of fellowship and friendship extended from the Legislature to the Executive, it is expected that the next four years of governance in the state will be harmonious and thus maintaining the trend of cordiality and romance between the two arms.