By Adebayo Abdulahi
The 8th Legislature of Kwara State was inaugurated on the 9th of June, 2015 and Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali Ahmad was unanimously elected Speaker. Since inauguration, the Kwara State House of Assembly has been at the front compared to other State Assemblies in Nigeria. The quality of legislation under his leadership has endeared kwarans and indeed Nigerians to the activities of the House.
The House ensured that legislative interventions in strategic matters of governance stimulated economic transformation. Legislative assignments were carried out with thoroughness and dedication, robust debates. Public hearings on bills and other salient issues were fast tracked while laws were enacted geared towards addressing security challenges and promoting good governance in the state.
The 8th Assembly has raised the bar with the passage of 46 bills into laws in the last four years of it’s existence; a feat never recorded in the history of legislature since the creation of Kwara State. These bills are channeled towards improving healthcare delivery system, addressing security challenges, promoting transparency and accountability and improving the wellbeing of the citizenry.
As a departure from the norm, where lawmakers await bills from the executive arm for consideration, the 8th Assembly took upon the challenge and set the ball rolling. As at date, 14 out of the 46 bills so far passed by the House were sponsored by lawmakers and have already become laws operational in the state.
The private members bills passed into law are: People with Disabilities law, Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme law, Kwara State Public Procurement Law, Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, Ilorin Township (Prohibition against the Manufacture, Sale and Consumption of Liquor in Certain Areas) Law, Kwara State Prohibition of Dealing with Human Parts Law.
Others include; Kwara State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, International Aviation College, Ilorin Law, Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension)(Amendment) Law, Kwara State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Law, Kwara State Legislative Funds Management Law, Kwara United Management Corporation Law, Kwara State Freedom of Information Bill.
Notable among the private members bills that drew accolades is the passage are the Bill to suspend payment of pension to Former Governors and Deputy Governors, the first of its kind by any State Assembly, the Bill prohibiting unlawful dealing in human parts, the bill to protect the rights of physically challenged persons in the state, the bill to make healthcare affordable and accessible throughout the state, the bill to make public record and information more freely available, to mention but a few.
In recognition of her trail-blazing feats, other State Assemblies have been visiting the Kwara State House of Assembly to understudy some of the newly introduced legislations that have put the Kwara Assembly ahead of others.
The House has variously been described as the house of the people and the voice of the voiceless by the Labour, student bodies and associations of people with special needs. The remarkable achievements of the House owe largely to the legislative activities that has helped to provide the enabling environment.
No doubt, the Kwara State House of Assembly is taking the lead as the State with the highest number of private member bills passed into law. This, indeed, is another glorious feat recorded and standard set for the incoming Assemblies to beat and even surpass.
Adebayo Abdullahi writes from Ilorin
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