By Emmanuel Aziken
The President of the Senate, Chief David Mark has charged Speakers of State Houses of Assembly to liberate the National Assembly and their legislative houses from the apron strings of the executive through the review of the 1999 constitution .
Speaking at the 4th Conference of Presiding Officers of Nigerian Legislatures, (COPON) in Abuja, Senator Mark also tasked the Speakers to imitate the National Assembly in its monitor of the Federal Government budget. He said that state legislative houses must equally check the utilization of their State budgets to ensure that the utilization of the budgets truly reflect the needs and priorities of the people.
The conference was to herald the Senate national retreat on constitution review.
Noting the import of the constitution review on the legislature, Senator Mark said: â€The ongoing review of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides ample opportunity to ensure the financial autonomy of the Legislature at all levels, entrench fiscal federalism and create constitutional role for traditional rulers,â€™â€™ Senator Mark said.
He nevertheless charged the Speakers not to use the opportunity of the constitution review for partisan brinkmanship or consideration of mundane matters.
â€œWe must not endanger patriotism and ceaseless faith in our beloved country at this point of our progress. I therefore need to emphasize that the task to alter the Constitution is a collective endeavour and we must not falter.â€™â€™