SPEAKERS of Nigeria’s 36 state houses of assembly have met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja where they urged him to expedite action on issuing an executive bill that would make their legislatures independent.
Theoretically, Nigeria’s state houses of assembly are supposed to serve as a check on the actions of the governors but in reality, they are just an appendage of the executive. With governors controlling the purse strings in their states, they tend to get lawmakers to do all they want and rather than perform oversight functions, these legislatures are mere rubber stamp assemblies.
Earlier today, the speakers met with President Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja led by the chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, Hon Mudashiru Obasa. Speaking after the meeting, Hon Obasa, the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, said that although the amended 1999 constitution had incorporated the independence and financial autonomy for state legislatures, it was not being implemented in many states.
He explained that a presidential intervention by way of an executive order would fast-track the implementation across the federation. In addition, the speakers also called for the devolution of power to the states and local governments through a review of the Exclusive Legislative List.
Hon Obasa said: “We are urging Mr President to intervene and speed up the implementation. We urged the president to come in with an executive order for this implementation to move faster.”
At the moment, governors not only control the budgets of their legislatures but also receive local government grants. This makes them all-powerful, effectively only creating one tier of government in each state.