Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday canvassed for stronger and autonomous states as a means of eradicating poverty in the country.Osinbajo stated this while delivering a lecture titled, “Stronger States and Eradication of Poverty,” at a special parliamentary session in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State.
The event, which took place at the chamber of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa had dignitaries like the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, his counterparts from Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Oyo who was represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Oluseun Abimbola, while former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was represented by ex-Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Femi Pedro.
Others included, House of Representatives Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC National Legal Adviser, Hon. Babatunde Ogala, APC South West Women Leader, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, Rights Activist, Femi Falana, Secretary to the state government, Tunji Bello and other exco members, Body of Permanent Secretary, traditional rulers, APC Lagos chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun.Although the topic for the lecture was ‘Strengthening legislative institutions: panacea for eradicating democracy’, the Vice President however narrowed the topic down to ‘Stronger state and the eradication of poverty.
As against the general belief that the creation of a conducive environment for business by the government for business to thrive to checkmate mass poverty, Osinbajo said poverty can be eradicated by having strong states with strong judiciary, executive and legislature who would channel the resources of the state to create wealth for the citizens and eradicate poverty.
According to him, “The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens. To achieve this there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources.”He cited the feat achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who as Premier of then Western region recorded achievements that were acknowledged world wide and most of which has remained enduring relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.
Osinbajo submitted that although he supports devolution and restructuring but that even without restructuring it is possible to create stronger states without any major constitutional changes.He cited how collaboration between the the three arms of government in Lagos right from the reign of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the present governor the state has been able to win series of cases at the Supreme Court which has given more powers to not just only Lagos state but which has benefited so many other states as well.
According to him, the Lagos Assembly has pushed the frontiers of federalism by passing laws which has strengthened federalism in Nigeria.He advised that for outstanding economic growth there is need to focus more on education, healthcare and provision of jobs through delibrate programmes and pumping of more resources to these sectors to benefit the majority of the citizens.
The Vice President disclosed that the present government is working round the clock to create an environment for business to grow especially a micro credit scheme for those at the lower rung of the economic ladder to lift them out of poverty.He commended the Lagos state government for creating exemplary institutions for economic growth and development.
Osinbajo also made a case for state police to tackle present security challenges confronting the nation, saying that “local policing is very important as part of security architecture”.
Giving his remarks Governor of Lagos State, Ambode praised the leadership of the state Assembly for team dynamics and infrastructural development within the Assembly.
According to him the three arms of government in the state have always worked together and have strived to show a good example of tenents of democracy and what growth and development should be “and with that collaboration we will take Lagos to where it is supposed to be”.Earlier In his welcome address, Speaker of the Assembly, Hon.Mudashiru Obasa, said in three years, the Assembly has passed 28 bills into law and over 100 resolutions on education, health, power, transport, security and environment for the well-being of Lagosians.
Obasa commended Ambode for a good job he is doing which is visible all over the state “he has turned the whole state to one construction yards.While stressing on the important role of the Assembly in democracy, Obasa said the executive should ensure the survival of the legislature by playing the roke of a father and ensuring cordial relationship to avoid instability and anarchy.
For Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Na’aba who spoke as a discussant pointed out that “because we have killed internal democracy, we don’t have quality leaders.”He recalled his ordeal as a the Speaker, where according to him was challenging as a result of his stronghold on ideals democracy, saying, “legislators must be ready to die to defend democracy.”
Na’aba expressed his pleasure for inviting him to speak by the leadership of the Lagos Assembly, adding that “Let me thank you for resurrecting me from death.”On his part, Aregbesola who is an honorary member of the State Assembly, noted that the vice president has been a good representation of the progressives.
He described him, “as not just brilliant but he is versatile, dynamic and efficient.”While commenting on the vital role of legislature in a democracy, Aregbesola said, “a Parliament is a panel of grievances where every member pour out his orr her mind.”He suggested parliamentary democracy for Nigeria to confront numerous challenges facing the country.
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