The Delta State Government has been told to honour the position of the founding fathers of Nigeria’s democracy by amending Section 13 (1) of the law establishing the Delta state House of Assembly Service Commission to conform to the National and other State Houses of Assembly Service Commissions in the country.
The government was also told to give due attention to human capital development by ensuring capacity building of both the members and staff of the Legislature.
These positions were made today, Tuesday, 6th June, 2017 by a delegation of members representing the South-South geo-political zone in the National assembly Service Commission led by Dr. Paul Oweh when they paid courtesy calls at separate times on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Government House, Asaba, and the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori in his office at the Assembly complex, Okpanam Road, Asaba.
Oweh who was accompanied by Hon. Joseph Okpa Oru, a member of the NASC, Mr. Olusanya Ajakaiye, NASC secretary, and Mr. James Ekeji, a deputy director in the South-South zonal office told Governor, the Speaker and other principal officers of the House of Assembly that they were in Delta state as part of their routine duties to Delta state House of Assembly that falls among the commission of the states they are representing at the NASC.
He explained that this kind of visit provides synergy and forum for the symbiotic relationship needed to grow and nurture the legislative service, pointing out that in the two days they have been in Delta State, that it was necessary to bring to the attention of the Governor and the Speaker their observations.
Dr. Oweh said: “It was observed in the course of our interaction with members of your State Assembly Service Commission that Section 13 (1) of the law establishing it gave the power of the appointment of the deputy clerk and the Clerk of the State Assembly to the Speaker and Principal Officers of the House of Assembly.”
He said that from the study of the Act establishing the National Assembly and other State Assembly Service Commissions, that the appointment of the Deputy Clerk and Clerk of the Assembly should be domiciled in the Service Commission like every other appointment of the staff of the Assembly. The move, he further argued, will not only ensure loyalty to the Service and secure the office of the Deputy Clerk and Clerk of the Assembly, but will also insulate the service from politics and political interference.
He Buttressed his submission, by calling the attention of the hosts to the position adopted by the political founding fathers of the First Republic, namely, Sir Ahmadu Bello of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC), Malam Aminu Kano of the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), Eyo Ita of the National Independence Party (NIP and E.M.I Endeley, all of blessed memory who jointly signed a pact on this important issue of insulating service from politics with the following statements:
“We fully support the principle that all public services questions including appointments, promotions, transfers, postings, dismissals and other disciplinary matters should be kept completely free and independent of political control.”
Against this backdrop therefore, Oru implored Governor Okowa and Speaker to use their good offices to support the amendment of Section 13 (1) of the law establishing the Delta State House of assembly Service Commission so as to conform to the national and other State Houses of Assembly Service Commissions.
On the need to build capacity through human capital development of members and staff of the legislature, Oweh said: “We are in a globalised world and in order to attain the world standards and best practices, the members and staff of the Legislature should be exposed to both internal and foreign training.
“The staff of the Legislature is the memory of the Service as most often than not members of the Legislature are changed every four years. Therefore any money spent on such training will not be a loss to the State.”
Responding, Governor Okowa said his administration was committed to capacity building of its workforce to grow a productive civil and public service, pointing out that despite the current recession in the country his government would continue to train and re-train its workforce for a more productive state.
Okowa said: “Times are very challenging due to the economic downturn in the country and many states are struggling to pay salaries but, that does not stop us from beginning to initiate ways and means of building on the capacity of our staff not just those in the House of Assembly Service Commission but also at the civil and public service.”
At the House of assembly, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori while thanking the delegation for their visit said their coming was good because the National body is at the head and the states learn from them. “I believe that your coming will bring progress to us”. He then asked that they should try by ensuring that the benefits that Delta State House of Assembly ought to enjoy are given to it.
Oborevwori assured that the staff of the Assembly will get their entitlements, pointing out that on the issue of the Clerk and Deputy Clerk, he would not want to dwell on it now because “I am trying to stabilize. We will look at that Section whether it is doable.
“We are elected here to make laws and when the time comes, we will know whether it is doable,” Oborevwori declared.