Governor Okowa discussing with Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sulaiman (middle) and Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori at the Speakers’ conference. in Asaba.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State today received a standing ovation for making Delta a good reference point for financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.
The ovation came when the Chairman of Conference of Speakers, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sulaiman, who is also Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly urged participants to stand up in acknowledgment of the good deed of the governor at the opening at the second Quarterly meeting the Conference of Speaker of the Houses of Assembly holding in the Event Centre, Okpanam Road, Asaba.
Sulaiman said: “Your Excellency, Delta State is one of the few states in Nigeria that have become good reference points whenever we talk about financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.
“This is so, because of your support for the implementation of financial autonomy for both the state legislature and judiciary as granted by the 4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We believe that the industrial actions embarked upon by both the JUSUN and PASAN in the last two months would have been needless if other states had shown same support as you do Your Excellency. We are however not surprise at your passion and support for the independence of these arms of government.
“Your Excellency, being a senator of the federal republic, you have simply demonstrated through your rich experience that one of the ways our democracy can endure is by strengthening the relevant institutions.”
He stated in his key note address that the relationship between the executive and legislature should be governed by trust, mutual respect and deference, with each bearing in mind the tenets of separation of powers as required in the presidential system of government.
The governor remarked that the executive and legislative arms in a presidential system of government had critical roles to play in promoting good governance, ensuring political stability and fostering sustainable economic growth.
According to him, the first step to building sustainable partnership between the executive and legislative arms of government for effective service delivery is for both organs of government to work with the consciousness that separation of power is imperative for good governance.
“Each must realise that the principle of checks and balances as constitutionally provided for, is to prevent abuse of power, which, if allowed to fester, will ultimately circumvent the rights and will of the governed.
“It is exigent that both see themselves as complementary partners working towards the same goal, which is the development of the State for the greater good of all.
“Trouble looms when the executive arrogates to itself the power to do as it wills or the legislature takes undue advantage of its oversight function to twist the arms of the executive for selfish ends.
“Where the relationship is characterized by mutual distrust, suspicion, friction and conflict, it leads to crisis and failure of the government to deliver on its policies and programmes.
“However, where both arms see themselves as partners and understand the spirit and letter of the principles of the separation of powers, the inevitable outcome is effective policy formulation and implementation, which leads to excellent service delivery,” he said.
Okowa urged the legislature to take its oversight function very seriously and ensure that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) deliver on government’s policies and programmes.
He called for appropriate consultations between the executive and legislature in matters relating to politics and policy formulation.
He attributed the success of his administration in the last six years to the warm relationship between the administration and the legislature which had been one of respect, cooperation and trust.
He added that his administration had promoted rural-urban integration while ensuring that urban centres remained livable through growth and renewal, with the construction of 799 road projects comprising 1,577.8 kilometres of roads and 908.8 kilometres of drainage channels.
“As a result of the Asaba Storm Water Drainage project, residents of Asaba and the capital territory are no longer apprehensive of the rains because the massive flooding that used to overwhelm the city has been substantially mitigated.
“The ultra-modern Central Secretariat Complex in Asaba, initiated by this administration, is almost completed. It is second only to the Federal Secretariat in Abuja, in size and layout.
“Undoubtedly, our massive investments in road and physical infrastructure have ushered in a period of boom for contractors, artisans, petty traders and suppliers in the construction and allied industries,” Okowa stated.
Welcoming the speakers to the conference, Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly and Deputy Chairman of the Conference, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, said that in the comity of states, Delta enjoyed relative peace, in spite of insecurity pervading parts of the country “because we are a praying state’’.
“We must give thanks to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the steps he took to secure the state,’’ he stated.
Oborevwori said that participants at the conference would discuss issues bothering the nation and proffer solutions for peace, order and good governance in the country.
He said that the Delta House of Assembly had been enjoying autonomy since 2019 and called for further strengthening of the executive-legislature relations in the country.