FG Should Fund State Assemblies Directly —Adegboyega


The chairman, Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Otunba Kunle Adegboyega, who represents Ewekoro state constituency has been speaking on problems facing the house vis-à-vis its no love lost stance with the state governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Fondly called Texaco by his teeming followers, he opens up on several issues, especially the cause of the clash between the legislative and executive arms in the state

Q: How would you rate the Ogun State House of Assembly?
A: Judging from what my colleagues and I have done so far, I will say I appreciate the present House of Assembly for being vibrant and independent. Most of what we are clamouring for now will be a legacy for generations yet unborn. For example, what our forefathers like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo were clamouring for then are things we are benefiting from now, long after their demise. By the time some generations will come, the present Ogun State House of Assembly will be remembered for its incorruptible stance and genuine independence.

Q: The present House is divided, we have G-15 and G-11, how has this affected legislating in the House?
A: I think it has only made us to really know the values and intents of individual members. Some of us believe that the utmost power belongs to God, while some believe somebody can make them something. When you ask some people what their name is, they will want to make a phone call to clarify if they should mention their name, while some will give you their names without any consultation. The division in our House of Assembly only goes to show the different sides of human beings. For me, it is a welcome development.

Q: Is it true that there is division in G-15?
A: No, there is no division in G-15, even in G-9, they have their differences. We are bound to disagree on certain issues but at the end of the day, we abide with the majority on our decisions. We argue our points out because we don’t want to be seen as mediocre.

Q: What is the genesis of the problem between the House and Governor Gbenga Daniel?
A: I think the most important thing is trust which is not there. Immediately we impeached Mrs. Titi Oseni, the executive arm did not feel comfortable with our new leadership in Tunji Egbetokun. In fact, the first thing that was said was that we had done it right, but they did not want the man we elected there. Government did not really trust the leadership of the House and we members did not trust any other person than Egbetokun. So that had been the foundation of the problem, they prefer to impose the leader they trusted on us but that cannot work.

Q: We understand that the House of Assembly is being choked with fund by the executive, is this true?
A: It is an in-thing all over the country. Since the democratic set up with the existence of the legislative arm, the executive has refused consistently to fund it so that it will not grow or become too powerful to perform its checks and balance role. It is always very easy to checkmate corruption if you have a vibrant legislative arm. For example, EFCC will wait until the money is spent, ICPC will wait until you have done the wrong thing, but the legislative arm will monitor such money immediately it is allocated through its oversight functions. In order to gag us or slow down our job, the executive refuses to give us our legitimate fund, we never asked for anything extra. That is why we are clamouring that fund should be paid directly from the Federal Government’s coffer and this should be amended in the constitution. The refusal of the state governments to give Houses of Assembly their funds is a ploy to paralyse their activities, however, we can never be cowed from performing our constitutional role.

Q: What was the problem between the House and Governor Daniel over the 2010 budget?
A: Yes, there was a delay in the signing of the budget because that was the first time the Ogun State House of Assembly would cut down the budget and it took them by surprise that we were slapping the authority in compliance with our constitutional duty. We made sure that every money we were going to pass was justified but he has since signed the budget into law the way we approved it.

Q: It was learnt that you lawmakers refused to honour a meeting at the instance of the governor, why?
A: Since the crisis started, we have held more than 50 meetings with the governor without any headway. There was one we attended with General Ibrahim Babangida in attendance and another which Prince Bola Ajibola also attended. Holding of meetings is not the issue, but for both sides to adhere to the accord reached. If both sides stand by the accord, then things will move because the major thing the House of Assembly is fighting for is its independence. We do not go to their exco meeting to tell them how they should do their things, so they should not dictate to us in the House of Assembly, we are not rubber stamp.

Q: How do you think this crisis can be resolved?
A: The issues on ground will be resolved if the party in the state is independent. If the Ogun PDP executive was independent, the crisis would have long been resolved and since the party within state is not able to resolve the issue, I think it now lies with the national body of the PDP. While we were fighting for our own independence, political issues were brought into it. You can imagine the House of Assembly inviting a local government chairman to come and give account of his stewardship, only for him to go to court to seek an order restraining us and trying to stain the judiciary. When the time comes, we will throw everything open.

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