One of the goals of democracy is equitable distribution of human and material resources. A responsible democratic government must seek to give all the people, all the constituencies, a sense of belonging. The legislature, to say the least, is an arm of government that is in vantage position to ensure this.
It is, perhaps, on this note that the Ekiti State House of Assembly had to go the extra mile of amending the existing laws regarding the composition of one of the most important boards of government, indeed, one that is responsible for running the affairs of the Assembly, the state House of Assembly Commission, recently.
The lawmakers found out that with the existing law, the instrument that past administrations had used to constitute the board of the commission, there was lopsidedness, whereas, they felt that each of the senatorial district of the state had to be represented on the board by, at least, a member. The legislators reasoned that there was no part of the state that has not been blessed with resourceful and capable hands that can function in any given capacity, hence, the need to get all constituencies on board.
At that particular sitting of the House, it was Leader of House Business, Honourable Olatunji Akinyele, who moved the motion for the amendment to the Ekiti State House of Assembly Commission Law, CAP E19, Laws of Ekiti State, 2010. It was the fourth amendment to the Law.
The motion was seconded by Princess Titi Owolabi, representative of Ikole Constituency II.
According to Akinyele, the Bill directly affected the House of Assembly. He added that the commission coordinated the entire staff of the Assembly, saying that the amendment would enhance the efficiency and service delivery of the Assembly, apart from enhancing balance, as each of the three senatorial districts would be given representation.
He said it would enhance proper constitution of the board as well as the career of its officials, thereby seeking speedy passage of the law.
Other members of the House, including the chairman of Committee on Information, Honourable Gboyega Aribisogan (Ikole I); Dr Babajide Omotosho (Oye I); Deputy Speaker, Honourable Segun Adewumi (Ekiti West II); and Honourable Wale Ayeni (Ikere I), spoke in support of speedy passage of the amended Law.
Aribisogan opined that the state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, deserved to be commended for noting the defects in the Principal Law, adding that constituting the Commission’s board with the Law would have made the House run foul of the law.
“Equity, fairness and transparency must be upheld at all times. We have to be mindful of the senatorial districts. One of the main advantages of this amendment is that the lopsidedness of the past has been brought to the fore and is going to be addressed. Every senatorial district will now have a representative on the board,” he said.
The Bill, entitled; A Bill For A Law To Amend the Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission Law (CAP E19, Laws of Ekiti State, 2010) And Other Matter Incidental Thereto, addressed Section 2 (5) of the law, seeking to substitute it.
“Membership of the Commission: Subsection (5) of Section 2 of the Principal Law is hereby substituted with a new Subsection (5) as follows:
“(5) Basis for appointment of chairman and members – At least, one member of the Commission, including the chairman, shall be drawn from each of the three senatorial districts.
“Citation: The Law may be cited as Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission (Fourth Amendment) Law, 2015,” the document stated.
After passing through the third reading, the document was unanimously passed into Law by the Assembly.
Speaker of the House, Right Honourable Kola Oluwawole, while speaking after the House sitting, noted that the House had made up its mind to follow the rule of law in all it was ever set out to do, adding that the step was taken to give all citizens of the state a sense of belonging where they needed to be represented.
Thereafter, the House went on to screen the nominees for the position of chairman and members of the board. Those screened and approved were former Speaker of the House and a former acting governor of the State, Right Honourable Tunji Odeyemi (chairman); another former member of the House, Honourable Bode Adewole; Mrs Lanre Fajuyi and Prince Muyiwa Fadahunsi.
Oluwawole observed that both the executive and legislative arms of the state government had looked into the records of the nominees meticulously before they were approved for the positions, adding that none of them was a stranger to the workings of the House of Assembly.
It is trite to state that such action as was taken by the Ekiti House before approving members for a board as important as this is worthy of emulation. Taking action on the spur of the moment on issues that will affect the common man can only do the nation’s democracy in. It is taking meticulous look at issues and allowing the rule of law and due process to guide actions that can deepen democratic culture.
Kudos, therefore, should go to the members of the House. Members of the public will surely expect the House to continue on this noble track.
. Gbadamosi is Special Assistant (Media) to the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kolawole Oluwawole