Constitution Amendment Will Improve Governance At Grassroots – Dogara


BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara says the on-going Constitution Amendment exercise has afforded legislators the opportunity to improve on governance from the grassroots to the top in order to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

This is just as he said that the growing level of discontentment and disenchantment by the generality of Nigerians will be greatly reduced when local government systems are made to work effectively.

The Speaker, who stated these at a consultative meeting for building consensus among the conference of Speakers, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Leaders of thought on Local Government and State Houses of Assembly autonomy, said the amendment exercise could not have come at a better time than now when there is loud and deafening calls across the nation for restructuring and deepening of democratic systems and processes.

He urged lawmakers to leverage on the ongoing constitution review for better governance structures, adding; “as leaders, we must use every opportunity to find ways of strengthening Nigeria’s unity through effective governance and delivery of public goods and services that will lead to an improvement in the livelihoods of the average Nigerian.

“If we can make the local government system work effectively, most of the discontentment and disenchantment among the rural population and the generality of Nigerians will be greatly reduced.

“The Constitution amendment process provides an opportunity for the National Assembly, in collaboration with the State legislatures, to enhance our governance architecture, strengthen our democratic institutions, entrench equity and social justice in our polity and most importantly put Nigeria on the part of greatness that Nigerians crave for.”

He said in the last aborted Constitution alteration exercise by the 7th Assembly, all the State Houses of Assembly voted to support autonomy for the State Houses of Assembly, having learnt from the bitter experience of the 2nd Alteration Bill where the State Houses of Assembly on their own turned down autonomy for State Houses of Assembly.

Reiterating his position that financial autonomy for local governments and State Houses of Assembly will bring good governance and dividends of democracy to the states and rural areas, Dogara said; “Indeed, financial autonomy for the State legislatures is one of the most important ingredients for good governance at the State level.”

The Speaker stressed the need for continuous dialogue and consensus building in democratic governance, saying it provides a platform for thorny and divergent views to be discussed, harmonised and addressed amicably.

According to him; “Democracy in practice, is a process through which government actors and citizens’ representatives continuously dialogue constructively in order to build harmony and consensus on critical and competing issues and interests.

“Consultation is a very critical element of any democracy because it provides a platform for thorny and divergent views to be discussed, harmonised and addressed amicably.”

Speaker Dogara commended leadership of the State Houses of Assembly, DFID and PERLS for the partnership and support in the previous amendments, and called for same as the legislature strives to find lasting solutions to the bottlenecks that have inhibited the ability of Nigeria to achieve its true potentials.

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