By Gbenga Akanmu
Lawmakers of the Lagos State House of Assembly have rejected a recommendation from a report by theÂ Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Committee (RMAFC) leaving out Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly from receiving pensions.
The legislators made their views known at the submission of the report by members of RMAFC led by Otunba Oladiji Ariyibi.
In his comments, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, noted that to perform its oversight function effectively and efficiently, the legislature ought to be well remunerated and insulated against any lure from the Executive, warning that failure to act in this regard may pose serious danger to the Nigerian nation.
On the review of the salaries and emoluments of public office holders, the Speaker told RMAFC that the House was opposed to some aspects of the report which make provision for payment of pension to the President, his Deputy, Senate President, his Deputy and House of Representatives Speaker, his Deputy and the Governors and their Deputies while leaving out Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the Statesâ€™ Houses of Assembly.
IkuforijiÂ was of the opinion that members of the Legislature must be treated handsomely at all levels to ensure an enduring legislative democracy in the federation. The presentation from RMAFC, which took place inside the legislative chamber of the Assembly, was witnessed by all the members of the House who were unanimous in their rejection of the Commissionâ€™s recommendation.
The Speaker also spoke of the need to restructure the polity in order to make the dream of the nationâ€™s forefathers realizable.
According to him, the Legislature holds the key to the survival of democracy in any country of the world. He argued that the government, particularly at the federal level and few individuals are only contented with the present structure in order to ensure Nigeria does not move ahead in the democratization process. Ikuforiji, who noted that Nigeria is not yet practicing democracy, appealed to all stakeholders to jettison selfish interest, embrace true federalism and genuinely work towards making Nigeria a great democratic nation.
Responding, Otunba Ariyibi, a Federal Commissioner assured the House of his commissionâ€™s recognition of the Assemblyâ€™s effort to create a better environment for the people and sustain democracy in Lagos State, saying nothing will be done to undermine lawmakers in the country. He however promised that the Commission will do justice to the observation of the House on the report.