The lawmaker respresenting Ibadan North Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Olaide Akinremi, popularly called Jagaban has told the Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF) to respect the sanctity of the legislature, adding that the Infectious Diseases Bill introduced by the Speaker, Rt.Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is in the best interest of masses.
The 36 state governors under the aegis of the NGF have criticised the Bill, saying it lacks proper “consultation” of governors and should be “stepped down.”
But Akinremi in a statement he personally signed on Friday, said the beauty of democracy is the provision of rights for every member of the state to actively participate in governance at all points and times of decision making, adding that in making this more pleasant and effective, every brand of democracy has its own operational structure, which guides everybody’s rights, benefits and limitations.
“The NASS is an independent body and is not answerable to the Federal or State Government, but to the people who voted us. This is a known and accepted fact. So, it is ridiculous to expect the NASS to take orders or seek permission from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum or any other arm of government before our duties are carried out as representatives of the people.
“The stance of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum over the Infectious Diseases Bill is expected to be in the interest of the masses. Unfortunately, its resolution to challenge the Bill, and asking (as a body) that the Bill should be stepped down is not only disturbing, it is unconstitutional and absolutely unhealthy for our democracy and nation at large.
“The Infectious Diseases Bill is not a constitutional amendment, which procedurally involves state Houses of Assembly. It is disappointing therefore, that a former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, who is the current Vice Chairman of the Forum supports this restive move of the NGF. Do we therefore assume that our much respected former Speaker has suddenly forgotten the autonomy albeit codes of the NASS?” the lawmaker said.
Akinremi said if the President could respect the sanctity of the legislature as he has always done in the best interest of “our democracy and nation, what is the motivation for our governors, especially former honourable and distinguished members of the NASS to attempt an undue interference with the internal workings of the NASS?”
He added: “It is ignoble for any former legislator to blatantly or surreptitiously (as the case may be) defy the provisions of Section 60 of the Constitution, which gives NASS authority to regulate its own legislative activities.
“The said Bill has already been committed – via a collective decision of the House to a public hearing in the best interest of the populace who gave us this mandate through their votes. As such, if any governor, in his capacity as a citizen of the country has any opinion concerning the Bill, he should appear at the public hearing as a citizen to submit his memorandum for consideration.
“The simplest of minds who have been following the polity of the 9th Assembly can tell by the handwriting on the wall that the governor of Sokoto State, who is popular for his strong opposition to the emergence of the incumbent Speaker is only trying to discredit the well meaning efforts of the Speaker. One needs no prophet to tell what the source of false allegations and propaganda of $10m bribery. This is not the time of electioneering where various political shenanigans can be ignored. This is a time to serve the best interest of Nigerians and shun every form of political bitterness, deceit and partisanship.”
The lawmaker said the ninth Assembly is a united and independent house in the best interest of the people and the nation at large, noting that “this Joint Task Vision, obviously, is beyond party affiliations and other possible differences, and it will succeed.”
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