By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is billed to declare open the 16th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (Africa Region) event Tuesday in Abuja, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun said Monday night.
The conference which holds at the ECOWAS parliament is organized by the Nigerian National Assembly
Briefing Journalists, Lasun who chairs the organizing committee said that the conference was a biannual event that brings together speakers and presiding officers of various parliaments in Africa to cross-fertilize ideas on issues of common interest.
He however said that the conference would not disrupt the normal sessions and proceedings of the House.
According to him, the House would commence voting on the constitutional amendment reports as well as the consideration of a virement request made by the Acting President on the 2017 budget.
He said: “The conference is exclusively for Speakers and Presiding Officers. As I speak now, there is a 3 member committee and the meeting is going on in the office of the Speaker – finalizing for the programme and planning for the future country that would host the conference.
“The Speaker is the chairperson of the conference, at the same time, he is the one representing West Africa on the executive body which is supposed to be made up of 4 members including himself.
“Tomorrow (today) our normal plenary session will go on and I’m likely going to come back here and preside.
“But before we adjourned last week, we made everybody aware that we are going to vote on the report of the Constitution Review Committee, so on Wednesday and Thursday, almost all the programmes of this conference will be shifted to afternoon, that indulgence has been granted to us. So, we will be here to do the normal voting on the constitution and, of course, as the chairman of the Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, I have to be on ground to present the report and answer questions on the floor, and since both of us cannot be absent from duty, the Speaker too has to be there to preside over the consideration of the report.
“Don’t forget too that besides voting on the constitution amendment, we are also going to deliberate on the virement proposal for the 2017 budget. So we have taken care of all these arrangements from our end just as our colleagues at the conference have also granted us that indulgence”.
Themed ” the presiding officers in a changing society”, the conference is expected to attract delegates who are expected to discuss various topics such as “Presiding Officers and the Principle of Non-Partisanship”; “the Presiding Officers and the Challenge of Managing an E-parliament”; to What Extent can Parliament Coexist with Non-State Actors in Policy Formulation and Legislation, and “Parliamentary Budget Offices, Towards Enhancing Legislative Capacity for Oversight and Scrutiny”, amongst others.