20th March, 2012
Members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly have confessed that they are always guided in their activities and operations by the Lagos State House of Assembly which they see as their role model.
They also declared that if their state would ever develop, it must be through what they are able to learn from the Lagos State House of Assembly in the coming years.
The members of the Sokoto Assembly are on a working visit to Lagos to learn from their colleagues down the western part of Nigeria the methods and challenges faced in the process of passing bills into laws.
They are particularly concerned with the Public Procurement Law which would come into force in Lagos in the next two weeks since it was post-dated by Governor Babatunde Fashola, who has given assent to the bill.
Chairman of the Sokoto House of Assembly Committee on Finance and leader of the delegation, Murtala Wauru, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues and the entire delegation from his state, said they were in Lagos as part of the methodology adopted by their committee in carrying out the assignment of establishing same laws in Sokoto state.
“The aim of this visit is to strengthen the cooperation between the Sokoto and the Lagos state Houses of Assembly.
“We are here today to share from you the number of bills you have passed, the ones we have passed and the challenges we have faced.
“This is because you are always a reference to us whenever the need arises,” he told the Lagos lawmakers.
Another member of the Sokoto Assembly, Barrister Bello Mohammed, said the visit was a follow up to a previous visit to the Assembly.
“In order to ensure good governance, there are no two ways about it because of the dwindling economic fortunes of the country,” he said.
He asked about challenges faced by the Lagos lawmakers during the process leading to the passage of laws.
He said he was asking because of the political issues and influences that may have been involved during such period.
“We are really committed to partnering with you to achieve the best.
“We have seen Lagos as a role model and people are saying a lot of good things happening in Lagos in terms of good governance, development and security,” Mohammed said.
The members of the delegation all agreed that Lagos state has remained their case study.
“We decided to put behind us our political differences in order to move our people forward.
“Lagos of today is not what we used to know as Lagos, so we must also strive to make Sokoto of tomorrow different from what it is today and we can only achieve this through co-operation with Lagos State Assembly,” one of the members added.
The Leader of the Lagos State Assembly, Ajibayo Adeyeye, in response to their inquiries, said the Head of Service is prepared to sensitise the Lagos lawmakers on the implication of the Public Procurement Law.
According to him, the law had to do with award of contracts and situations where the public would like to deal with government. It also shows the transparency with dealing with members of the public.
He said the bill also provides for guidelines in the hiring of consultants and the methods to deal with them just as it gives sanctions where people flout the laws.
Mufutau Egberongbe, a lawmaker at the Lagos Assembly, commended the members of the Sokoto Assembly and said that relationships like this would continue to foster unity and standardisation.
He said the law would ensure tax payers’ money is judiciously spent so as to reduce corruption.
Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Information, Security and Strategy, Olusegun Olulade, said he was impressed with the collaboration, adding that it showed that the Sokoto State House of Assembly members are really interested in service to their people.
Olulade said though the lawmakers from Sokoto are members of a different political party, their mission to the Lagos Assembly shows that for people to move the country forward, they must jettison politics.
The visit of the Sokoto Assembly members was sponsored by USAID.
Adeyeye said in Lagos state, the lawmakers organise public hearing on all the bills before them. He said all the laws too are published in any widely circulated newspapers.
“Apart from the open invitation we give to the public, we also invite relevant stakeholders to take another critical look at the bill,” Adeyeye said.
Ipoola Omisore of the Lagos Assembly advised his colleagues in the Sokoto Assembly to ensure they do not hurt the public in the process of passing the law.
He said some people see the Public-Private Partnership as ‘Private Pocket Partnership,’ adding that they should take that into consideration.