By Peter Amine
The Conference of Former Speakers of State Houses of Assembly (COFSSHA) has thrown its weight behind the call for autonomy of state houses of assembly in the country.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who is also COFSSHA Chairman, said that the autonomy would enhance checks and balances among three arms of government.
Lalong spoke on Friday at the COFSSHA award ceremony and dinner to honour members of the association who had been elected governors and deputy governors and those appointed ministers.
“We cannot shy away from making our contributions to national discourse such as the one relating to strengthening the State Houses of Assembly.
“It should be done in a manner that they will work independently but in collaboration with the executive and judiciary to ensure good governance and development in our states.
“All of us have supported the issue of autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, but beyond the call for autonomy, there should be synergy, checks and balances.
“Collaboration between all arms of government is what we should strive to build because of the interest of our people,” he said.
The governor said there was synergy and collaboration among the arms of government in Plateau because of his experience as a former speaker and now a governor.
He added that he had supported the House of Assembly to function without any interference and in turn it had supported the executive to deliver on its mandate.
Lalong recalled that COFSSHA was established to ensure the reservoir of knowledge and experience acquired by the former presiding officers of State Legislatures was not wasted.
Mr Friday Itula, Chairman organising committee, said the election of COFSSHA members as governors, deputy governors and ministers was in recognition of their contributions to national development.
Itula commended Lalong for an outstanding leadership that had contributed towards achieving the objectives of the association.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were given to Lalong, Gov. Ahmed Fintiri of Adamawa and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.
Other awardees include, Mr Ude Chukwu, Deputy Governor of Abia, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State Health and David Iho, former speaker, Benue State House of Assembly.