The 6th Assembly in Ekiti State will be clocking two years in June this year. The Speaker of the house, rt. Honourable Funminiyi Afuye in this interview by FEMI OGUNTAYO, talks about the journey so far vis-à-vis the relationship between the Ekiti State House of Assembly and the executive government. EXCERPTS:
Your administration will be two years in June, what would you say are the achievements of the 6th Assembly in Ekiti state?
We are running into about one and a half years now, because we will be two years old on June 6, 2021. It’s been an interesting experience, I thank God I have a set of members who are cooperating, who are focused, who know the purpose of their mandates, that is why, as at the last count, we have been able to pass about 34 bills into law, we have never had any friction, or any reason not to perform our duties.
The oversight functions are being pursued; we have our legislative agenda, which is good governance. We also resonate with the five pillars of the executives. All the laws we have been making have evolved around the five pillars, because without the legislative’s wherewithal, the executive cannot move forward.
Recently, we signed into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill and it has always been like that. By and large, there has been cooperation among the members. Back home, we do as much as possible to engage our people, we listen to whatever is bothering them. For instance, I live with my people, even though I have my official quarters at the Government house, but I believe that we should not be far away from them. So that whatever questions they want to ask, whatever issue that is bothering them, we bring them forth. We have to also let them understand that we are not the executive, ours is to make laws. But the little that we have, we share among the people.
Talking about the 2021 Appropriation Bill, I leant it was passed by the house and in no time, it was signed by the Governor the following day. What informed the speedy passage of the law?
You see, you have to look at it from the budgetary process point of view. The budgetary process in Ekiti, I can say with emphasis, follows the best practice. First of all, there would be engagement of the people at various fora, senatorial districts by senatorial districts, even town by town and they will all come to a place where all of them will meet and articulate what they want and that is what will be prioritized in the budget preparation.
It is not a situation whereby I will sit in my office and say, this is what is needed at a particular place, because the priority of each area differs from the other and in that way we will be able to break down the budget process and let the people who are the owners of the process own it. When I say the people, I mean the Ekiti people, and who are the representatives of the people?
We are their representatives, when the executives and the legislative arms gather, they came from various areas, and all of us will be there. So, it is not like you don’t know what is going to be factored into the budget process. So, when that is done, because it still requires scrutiny, the house, where the governor presents the budget, in order to manage the funds – the limited resources, the house will now prioritise which one will come this year, which one will come next year. The various committees of the house will look into it, the finance and appropriation committee will aggregate everything, and then the whole process is complete. One thing I want you to note is that, there is a gestation period after the presentation of the budget by the governor; it should stay with us for nothing less than eight weeks, so as to meet international standards, especially the development partners. The moment we now bring all of these to the floor of the house, it doesn’t need to have much resistance; there is no need for resistance because we have been part of the process. So, that is what led to the fact that we passed the bill yesterday, having met all the conditions, and the governor signed it into law the following day, there was no need for delay.
We have witnessed in the past especially in Ekiti state, about rancour among members and even between the legislative and the executive, but none has been witnessed since this assembly came on board. What is the magic behind this?
Well, we thank God.
Would you say this is so because all members are from the same political party?
Well, that is one point, but that is not too sufficient. We are living witnesses to some assemblies where we have a majority coming from the same party but the majority seem to be the opposition to the ruling government. In our own case, we have been able to carry each other along and we have been able to read our mandate to mean that you go and support the government for good governance. The moment we are being carried along, like I just told you about the budget process, everything works.
With a record of over 30 bills passed within the period of a year and half, what would you attribute this feat to?
I attribute it to God, corporation among the assembly members and between legislature and the executive.
What would you say distinguishes this 6th Assembly in Ekiti State from the previous ones?
Let me be very subjective. I have a crop of people who know their onions, who are focused and know the essence of their mandates.
There was a transition law passed by the house recently, what would you say are the policies formulated in that law to ensure that any new government coming in at the executive level follows the policies there?
Well, the implementation of every law depends on the operators, but the law is there and the moment the law is there, it is now up to the system to enforce it. The purpose of that law is to ensure that there is a smooth transition and there is accountability and that the baton of accountability is handed over to the incoming government. Whether the incumbent government does what is expected of it, is left to it. But the moment you breach the law, you face the consequences.
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