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Senate President, David Mark, on Monday, reviewed the activities of the parliament at the state levels in the last 16 years of Nigeria’s democratic experience and lamented that members of the legislature at that tier of government have reduced themselves to stooges of their governors.
Mark stated this at the opening of a week-long induction programme organised for newly elected state lawmakers by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, in Abuja.
He noted with concern that the general impression of Nigerians was that the state legislatures have remained an appendage of the governor offices.
He lamented a situation whereby the State Assemblies could not have the political courage to muster enough votes for their financial autonomy when the first constitutional amendment was done, was a sad development.
He said, “As law-makers, you must avoid holding your sessions in the Council Chambers of the Government Houses.
“It is ignoble to use the Mace outside the Chamber or borrow Local Government Legislative Council Mace to conduct your affairs or resort to self help by using your Mace to perpetuate violence.
“You must conduct your sittings in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the extant rules of the House. As State legislators you must restrain yourselves from the excessive use of the constitutional provision that empowers you to impeach either your speakers, executive governors or their deputies.
He argued that impeaching a public elected official remained a very serious legislative process that must not be abused or taken for a joke.
Mark said, “Impeachment is not designed for a few days exercise. Where it has become the last resort, it must be painstakingly conducted within the hallowed chamber of the parliament in accordance to the extant rules of the House and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The senate president canvassed for a synergy between State Assemblies and the National Assembly, adding that a strong partnership was also required between the executive and the legislature in order to achieve Nigeria’s developmental goals, increase transparency, accountability and curb corruption.
He also said there was the need for a collaboration between the executive and the state legislatures on matters of public good.