Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt, Hon. Olakunle Oluomo has identified capacity building programme, as a major veritable means of equipping the Legislative arm towards protecting the nation’s democracy, hence lawmakers and career staff of the Legislature must improve their knowledge on the processes and procedures required in lawmaking.
Oluomo stated this in his welcome address at the capacity building workshop for members of the State House of Assembly, organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), held at the TCC Ogere Convention Center, Ogun State.
Stressing the importance of training at enacting viable legislation by the ninth Legislature under his leadership, the Speaker added that such training alongside consultations and advocacy measures would be explored, to ensure the successful take-off of the Financial Autonomy granted to the State Legislatures by President Mohammadu Buhari, as contained in the Executive Order 10.
The Speaker commended the organiser on behalf of other lawmakers across the nation, saying the organisation had consistently availed participants highly beneficial skills at their various fora, especially on legislative practices and procedures as obtainable across the world.
In his remarks, the Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, pointed out that the State legislators must begin the process of building internal capacity within the Assembly, preparatory to full autonomy by understanding its implications on legislative administration and parliamentary business, as lawmakers and career officers needed to understand the various roles and responsibilities that the autonomy seeks to put on them.
Sulaiman tasked the lawmakers to put in place the needed internal structures, mechanisms and invest in strengthening the capacity of members and staff in anticipation of full autonomy, while continuing to dialogue with their colleagues and the Executive Arm on how best to operationalise the Constitutional provision of autonomy.
He stressed the need for understanding of public financial management and budget process, as well as the requirements for transparency and accountability in the management of resources.
“We operate a presidential democracy that emphasis the total independence of all arms of government as a way of promoting checks and balances. The drafters of our constitutions wanted to ensure the body that approves, is different from that which implements and that which adjudicates. These functions cannot be conflated in the executive. To perform its core mandate, therefore, the legislature should use its autonomy and dedicate sufficient funds to hiring competent people into the legislative service and strengthening the capacity of members and staff on a regular basis”, Prof. Sulaiman opined.
In his speech, the Resident Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Dr. Vladimir Kreck, said it was expected of the State Legislature to play a more decisive role in the governance of the State, hence the need to orientate participants to be more proactive in the exercise of their duties for the promotion of good governance in Nigeria.
Papers delivered at the training programme included; “Legislative Agenda and Bench marking the activities of the State House of Assembly, Overview of Legislative Practices and Procedure, Management Models of Parliaments and State House of Assembly Service Commission, Financial Autonomy of State Houses of Assembly and Local Government Areas in Budget Management Processes, Legislative Code of Conducts and Ethics”, among others.
Head Information Unit, OGHA