BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
ILORIN—Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Abdulrazaq Atunwa, has said that democracy cannot thrive in Nigeria unless the state assemblies are granted financial autonomy.
Atunwa explained that the present development where the state’s assemblies are made appendages of the executive which provide financial lifeline for them to perform their constitutional obligations to the electorate is totally unacceptable.
The Speaker, however, noted that though Kwara State has robust relationship with the executive but that his interactions with his colleagues confirmed that the problem is prevalent across the state assemblies in the country, stressing that this is unfortunate.
He said: ”Democracy cannot progress in Nigeria, unless financial autonomy is granted to state assemblies. We are all responsible to the people, so the state assemblies must be granted financial autonomy”.
“The present scenario whereby the state assemblies survive at the mercy of the executive would never allow democracy to thrive in Nigeria. Whatever that is worth doing at all is worth doing very well,the path to a rewarding democracy is to encourage checks and balances within the system,”
“We can not continue with the present structure in Nigeria,and expect democracy to progress,no it cannot,the earlier financial autonomy is granted our state assemblies the better.
Atunwa,who recalled that the assembly has just concluded its oversight function of inspecting all ongoing projects across the state said the exercise was meant to ensure that the state’s fund are judiciously spent.
He also said that the ministries and parastatals which will soon appear before the house must be prepared to defend their budget because wastefulness would not be encouraged.
The Speaker however said that during the appearance the assembly will not hesitate to jerk up the budget where necessary so as to further deliver dividends of democracy to the people of kwara state.
Speaking on the communal war between Offa and Erinle,the speaker said the two monarchs have a serious role to play in calling their subjects to order so that peace can reign in the areas.
He expressed sadness that dialogue which ought to be adopted at the inception of the crisis to prevent the tragedy must now be considered after the loss of many lives and properties.
Atunwa therefore canvassed for dialogue as a means to ending all disagreement saying that in any communal war,there is no victor and no vanquish but that the left over carcass of war would be there for generations to see.