Don’t Hold Sessions in Council Chambers, Mark Advises State Legislators 

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 The President of the Senate, David Mark, on Monday advised state legislators against allowing the interference and dominance of the executive in the course of their legislative duties.
Mark gave the advice while declaring open a five-day induction course organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) for members-elect of states’ Houses of Assembly in Abuja.
He said that the advice became necessary in view of general impression that state legislatures were appendages of governors or the executive.
He urged them to borrow a leaf from the National Assembly, which had achieved institutional stability, had transformed from being a ‘’mere rubber stamp” of executive decisions.
“At the national level, the legislature has continued to assert its independence and resist executive interference.
“ Thus, the legislature has achieved institutional stability and transformed from being a mere rubber stamp of executive decisions and policy initiatives into an institution that now enjoys a reasonable degree of legitimacy and respect.
“We are not quite where we want to be though, but can we say the same of state legislatures?
“ I recall that when the first constitution amendment was done, the state houses of assembly did not have the political courage to muster enough votes for their financial autonomy.
“You must avoid holding your sessions in the council chambers of the government houses.
“It is ignoble to use the Mace outside the chamber or borrow local government legislative council Mace to conduct your affairs or resort to self-help by using your Mace to perpetuate violence,’’ he said.
Mark also advised the states’ new lawmakers to conduct their sittings in line with provisions of the Constitution and extant rules of the House.
On the spate of recent impeachments across the country, he urged legislators to tread carefully, reminding them that impeaching an elected official involved serious legislative process, which must not be abused.
“Impeachment is not designed for a few days exercise; where it becomes the last resort, it must be painstakingly conducted within the hallowed chamber of the parliament.
“This should be in accordance with the extant rules of the House and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is not to say that there should be no collaboration between the executive and the state legislatures on matters of public good,” he added.
He advised the new legislators to take advantage of the induction to craft laws that would address the structural deficiencies of the nation’s economy.
“I certainly expect healthy, stimulating and enriching debates in the days ahead, as we settle down to work and examine different issues from different perspectives,’’ the president of the senate added.
He charged them to emulate the sportsmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan in promoting a political culture of tolerance.
“This must be a lesson to all politicians that our first loyalty is, and must be to the state.
“It is also imperative to state that President Jonathan has not gone to any election tribunal. I enjoin politicians to imbibe this example,’’ he said.

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