By Yemi Adeleye
The Conference of Speakers of the State Legislatures of Nigeria has elected Mr Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly as its new chairman.
NAN reports that the conference elected new executives at its 2018 Second Quarter Conference held between Friday, Aug. 3 and Sunday Aug. 5 in Ikeja, Lagos.
Obasa took over from the outgoing Chairman of the conference, Alhaji Isamaila Kamba, the Speaker, Kebbi State House of Assembly.
Reading the communiqué at the end of the conference, Mr Ahmed Guni, the Chairman, Electoral Committee and Communiqué Drafting Committee said that the conference deliberated on a number of national issues and conducted elections.
Guni, the Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly said: “Among other things, the conference reviewed and adopted the report of its special committee set up to facilitate an efficient and effective implementation of the financial autonomy law for the state legislatures and the judiciary.
“The conference also deliberated on a wide range of topical national issues. The conference equally elected a new set of national executives that will run the affairs of the conference.
“At the end of the elections, Rt-Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly emerged the new conference chairman.
“The office of the Deputy Chairman went to the Speaker of the Taraba House of Assembly Rt-Hon. Peter Abeldiah, while the Treasurer went to the Speaker of Delta State, Rt.-Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori.
“The Financial Secretary was clinched by the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Prince Kolawole Matthew,” he said.
According to him, to represent the six geopolitical zones, the conference has vice chairmen: Mr Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, Speaker of Rivers (representing South-South) while Mrs Rita Maduagu, Speaker of Anambra (representing South-East).
He said that Prophet Oloyelogun David, Speaker of Ondo State representing the South-West.
Guni added that Mr Sanusi Rikiji, Speaker of Zamfara (representing the North-West); Mr Balarabe Ibrahim, Speaker of Nasarawa State (Representing the North-Central) while Mr Kawuwa Damina, Speaker of Bauchi (representing the North-East).
He said that the conference also resolved to call on the Federal Government to direct relevant government agencies to ensure prompt implementation of the new constitutional provision granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and state legislatures.
The conference equally called on the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria to ensure meaningful engagement with the executive arms in their respective states in order to have a seamless implementation of the new law with a view to state legislature and enhancing democracy in Nigeria.
Guni said that the conference also called on the National Assembly to expedite actions on the proposed constitutional amendment to established state police in Nigeria with a view to complementing the efforts of the Nigeria police on security.
The chairman, who noted that the conference also called on political leaders to put national interest above any other interest, urged the Nigeria police to be professional and apolitical in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.
He said that the conference called on police to desist from invading and occupying legislative houses in the country.
According to him, the conference commiserates with the people of Zamfara and all other states variously attacked by gunmen.
In his acceptance speech, the new conference Chairman, Obasa, who described his election as a great honour and privilege, promised to serve the interests of the conference.
Obasa said: “This mandate is a sacred one and I intend to do everything within my power to protect its sanctity.
“It is a mandate which brings about a burden, the burden to serve, not only my colleagues but the entire people of Nigeria who have honoured us with their votes at our respective constituencies to promote and protect their interest and welfare,” he said.
The speaker urged all state legislators to come together and work for the protection of the sanctity of the parliament, saying that parliament remains the bedrock of democracy.
Obasa, who frowned at attacks on parliaments, said that he would work for the protection of the rights of the legislature and cooperate with other arms of government for the growth and development of the county.
“I assure you that we will not keep quiet, fold our hands and watch our rights being trampled upon. We will be gentle but firm in our demand for our rights, resolute but not deliberately antagonistic.
“The parliament is the last option for democracy and it is our duty to protect it for the survival of democratic values and ideals,” he said.