ONDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY UNDER RT. HON. LANDMARK: The Need To Use 10th Assembly To Rewrite The True Reflections Of Legislature
Let me start by congratulating the Speaker of the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olajidi Olamide (Landmark), on this great feat as the elected Leader (Speaker) of the House, which the 10th assembly will be under his leadership for the legislative activities of the second arm of the government in our dear Sunshine State.
RT. Hon Landmark is one of the few returning lawmakers from the 9th Assembly, and the most ranking lawmaker from the Central senatorial district which qualified him to emerge as the Speaker of the House.
In a buildup to the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, there were allegations and counter-allegations that some people within the circle of the system want to subvert the fundamental principles of zoning arrangement in the state which has been in existence since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, which divides the three senatorial districts among the highest political offices in the state (Governor, Deputy Governor and the Speaker).
The return of Rt. Hon. Landmark to the house in the just concluded State Assembly election in the state and the most ranking lawmaker from the Ondo central senatorial district, which automatically presumed him to be the next Speaker of the House because the last occupant of the office is not returning to the House raised a lot of political and sentimental dust in the state, as some outside the district alleged to have been working to circumvent the principle of zoning formula to their advantage which reflects injustice, unfairness and lack of political balancing and equity in the state.
In a few days before the inauguration of the 10th assembly, social media space agog with news that some lawmakers have perfected the plans to ensure the centre did not get the Number 3 seat, to retain power in their political domain, remove the deputy governor and change the dynamics of the structure as a result of the ill health of Governor Akeredolu, SAN, CON, which almost plunged the state into a state of a conundrum.
In my article immediately after the state assembly election, which is titled “10th Ondo Assembly Speakership Seat”, I explicitly stated in the article that the speakership seat will be retained in the Central till 2025 when the leadership of the state will change in the area of the political zone, in which the South will produce the next Governor, Central the deputy governor and North, the speaker of the house which has been the zoning tradition of the state since 1999, and that it will amount to political thwarted against the central should South or North produce the next speaker of the house.
On June 3rd, the 10th Assembly was inaugurated and the house unanimously elected Rt. Hon. Olajidi Olamide (Landmark) from the Central, who is representing the good people of Ondo East constituency as the Speaker of the House in line with the fundamental principles of zoning in reflection of Justice, fairness, equity, political balancing and sense of belonging, as a form of the doctrine of necessity.
Ostensibly, some state actors and non-state actors may not have been happy about this political balancing in the state due to their selfish interest but the will of the majority in the state has been upheld as a form of justice and equity, which must not be allowed to be debauch by any individuals or political interest group who are against justice in the state.
ONDO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY UNDER RT. HON. LANDMARK:
Section 4 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended, recognises the legislature as the first arm of government, with enormous powers to make laws for peace, order and good government both at the federal and state levels. Under this section, subsections (6) (7) explains the legislative powers of the state under the State House of Assembly, as the key instrument to the effective and efficient running of the state government, under the watch of the Executive.
It must be asserted realistic that the vital functions of the legislature are to make laws, hold the executive through the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to account and go on oversight functions by various committees of the House.
The legislature is the only arm of government that has a direct connection to the grassroots, seen as the true voice of the constituents in terms of representation in government – to speak their interest from the direction of law-making that will formulate programmes and policies of the executive, which will enhance the effectiveness of governance on the lives of the citizens.
Over time, constituents have seen the legislature, especially at the state level as a ” rubber stamp” in the hands of the executive branch, where the lawmakers put the interest of the executive above the interest of their constituents who elected them to be their voice in government. A legislature is an arm of government that serves as a check and balance; and holds the executive accountable for all their programmes and policies, to ensure they reflex the intents and purposes of the government.
Nigerians asserted that the true reflection of the legislature was seen under the 8th National Assembly of Senator Bukola Saraki as the Senate President, under former President Mohammed Buhari when the Senate held the Executive accountable and did not make the business between the legislature and executive as usual, where the legislature strictly scrutinised all activities of the executive without making the business of governance as usual.
The 9th Assembly in Ondo state, under Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oloyelogun was adjudged to be a legislature that failed to reflex the true legislative arm of government, which place primacy on the interest of the executive than the interest of the constituents that got them elected to be their voice in the area of effective and efficient representation.
We must understand that holding the executive accountable through thorough legislative activities and oversight functions is not synonymous with a fight between the executive and the legislature, but the true reflection of the lawmaking body as enshrined in our Constitution, which must be upheld at all times under the independent of the three arms of government.
The Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Oladiji Olamide (Landmark) must draw the line between party politics and legislative activities, that place the interest of the constituents of the 26 constituencies represented in the House under his leadership far above party politics. There is exigency under the 10th Ondo Assembly, to reposition the true reflection of the House that will put the concern of the constituents far above the executive without suspicion of favour; which will truly restore the confidence of the constituents in the lawmaking body of the government.
RT. Hon. Landmark must ensure the 10th assembly under his leadership, carry out legislative activities and oversight functions in line with the principles of the House and activate strong feedback mechanisms from the House for the good people of the state at all times.
Mr Speaker must ensure the lawmakers are accountable to their constituents, especially in the area of conversations on their activities in the House. Also, the 10th Assembly must be made unrolled to the general public, to create rooms for questioning and assessment of the legislative functions.
In the area of lawmaking, Mr Speaker must critically make good laws for the constituents that bring positive impact on the government programmes and policies for the development of the state.
A harmonious and robust relationship between the executive and legislature is key for good governance but that must not deter the House from making the executive answerable to the people through the legislative arm.
Rt. Hon. Landmark must do everything feasible to make the House not a “rubber stamp” in the hands of the executive, where the executive under Mr Governor will be too big for the legislature to hold accountable. Mr Speaker must make the House the voice of the majority higher and heard above the selfish voice of the minority.
Mr Speaker must make the House the platform for the true representation of the people.
I wish the 10th assembly the courage and boldness to discharge its functions effectively to the satisfaction of the people.
Sam Olorunfemi Jr