Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Legislative Autonomy: AKHA, Udom in faceoff

Legislative Autonomy: AKHA, Udom in faceoff
Legislative Autonomy: AKHA, Udom in faceoff

Following the recent signing of the fourth Alteration Bill into law that grants financial autonomy to State Houses of Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Legislative Arm of Akwa Ibom State has not only suffered stiffen treatment but is also receiving strained and cold-shoulder from the Executive Arm of the State as compared to the long cordial relationship the two arms hitherto enjoyed before the autonomy.

It was gathered from a reliable source that the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is at loggerheads with the lawmakers who voted in affirmative to the recently accented “Legislative Financial Freedom”, thereby sowing seed of discord, disharmony and disparities amongst members of the House.

Our reporter gathered that the State Governor out of his grievances against his “victims” has refused remittance of Constituency briefing assistance to the affected legislators while the unceremonious Legislators who voted against themselves got their grants upfroot or immediately after their Constituency briefings and empowerment programmes.

From our sources who did not want their names on print, it is alleged that the State Governor is unbendable on his resolve to penalise the 12 members who said “ YES” to Legislative autonomy adding that Governor Emmanuel has not only sworn but is resolute on out-slotting them in the forthcoming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nominations in their various levels of aspirations, come October, 2018.

It is worthy of note that 34 States out of the 36 States of the Federation voted on the 29 Bills transmitted to them, although Edo State outrighted rejected and Lagos State deferred from the exercise. However, out of the 29 Bills, 15 were passed Including Financial autonomy to State Houses of Assembly, which members of the Sixth Assembly only made thier required input as the Peoples Assembly in furtherance to strengthen democratic practices in the State.

Legislative autonomy which connotes that the amount hitherto standing to the credit of the Houses of Assembly of the respective States, are to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of that State for the interest of the management of the State Houses of Assembly. No more through the Governors and from the Governors.

It is also pertinent to understand that in spite of the Legislative and Judiciary autonomies, the three arms of government in this present administration and in future administrations shall continually work in synergy for the growth, development, and general good of the masses, hence, the need to shield swords of vengeance and create room for the once peaceful partnership between the Executive and Legislative Arms of the State.

Going down the memory lane, on Wedneday, Febraury 14, 2018, Members of the Sixth Assembly had her special plenary session where the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Alteration of Nigeria Constitution 1999, as chaired by the House Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan was presented to the House. Followed by considerations by members of the House by way of votes.

With focus on the fourth Alteration Bill, Legislative autonomy amongst other Alternations considered, a total number of 23 members were present with the Speaker taking the number to 24 Legislators, 12 members voted “YES”to Legislative autonomy while 10 members voted “AGAINST” with one ABSTENTION. However, the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Princess Felicia Bassey, representing Okobo State Constituency and Rt. Hon. Victor Udofia of Ikono State Constituency were absent on this history making legislative day.

House members who voted against Legislative autonomy are: Effiong Bassey, Oron/Udung Uko, Asuquo Archibong, Urue Offong/Oruko, Aniekan Uko, Ibesikpo Asutan, Mark Esset, Nsit Atai, Mfon Ekong, Nsit Ibom, Uduak Ududo, Ikot Abasi Eastern Obolo, David Lawrence, Eket, Nse Essien, Onna, Aniekan Bassey Uruan and Monday Eyo, Uyo.

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