Kogi State House of Assembly in the Last 30 Years

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By Adebayo M Aka.

ON the 17th day of February 1992, history was made as the First Assembly, Kogi State House of Assembly was inaugurated and had her first sitting, pursuant to a proclamation made by His Excellency ,the first Executive Governor of the State, the late Prince Abubakar Audu.

The proclamation notice was read by the first Clerk, Mr Timothy Ali. At inception, 32 Honourable Members were inaugurated and thereafter, the first Speaker, Alh Musa Abdullahi was elected. The Clerk, Timothy Ali (1992- 1993) was deputised by Olugbami J O.

It was gathered from Governor Audu’s address to the House that there were no accommodation facilities for the staff and lawmakers before the governor’s inauguration which made him to make frantic effort to ensure the provision of same. The lack of residential and official accommodation before the inauguration of the first Assembly made the Clerk and his team to squat in a primary school at their deployment to the state in August 1991.

With the first Assembly properly inaugurated and principal officers elected, 20 bills were passed into laws while about 107 resolutions were made.

The 1992 Appropriation Bill, Board of Internal Revenue Bill, appointment and deposition of Chiefs Bill, Kogi State Polytechnic Bill are some of the people oriented bills passed and thus served as part of the achievements of this Assembly. It performed its constitutional responsibilities by putting the executive on her toes through questioning actions considered inimical to good governance.

However, the Assembly had to come to an end due to military incursion to Nigeria political scene.

During the second Assembly which started in June 1999 and ended in May 2003 when the late Abubakar Audu became the 2nd executive Governor of Kogi State, legislative business continued with RT Hon Mohammed Angulu Umar (June 1999- October 2000), RT Hon Abdulrahaman Dangana (October 2000- May 2002) and RT Hon Emmanuel Simoyan (May 2002 – May 2003), presiding over the affairs of the House. The Clerk of the House during this dispensation was Olugbami J O (1999 -2002) and his deputy was Simon Momoh. Also, J K Obaro (2002-2003) was appointed Clerk when the former Clerk retired and his deputy Simon Momoh came on board.

The 2nd Assembly could not be written off as not performing its constitutional duties as several bills such as Kogi State University Amendment Bill, Local Government Operation Bill and Appropriation Bills of 1999 were passed. It is however on record that the 2nd Assembly witnessed one of the most crises laden sessions with the executive arm of government which got to its climax when notice of impeachment was served on the then Governor Abubakar Audu.

The 3rd Assembly which began on June 2nd 2003 ended in May 2007. It was during the administration of Governor Ibrahim Idris and this dispensation had the late RT Hon Buba Jibril Umar (May 2003- May 2005), the late RT Hon Saba Muhammed (May 2005- October 2006) and RT Hon Usman Suleiman (October 2006- June 2007) as Speakers. Simon Momoh was Clerk from 2003- 2016 and had Rev Mathew Ajinomoh and Tsaja Seidu as his deputies respectively.

Some of the dominant achievements of the 3rd Assembly are: the standardization of the House Rules which helped the House to perform its duties effectively and efficiently.

Also, the bill establishing the Prince Abubakar Audu University was amended which brought about changing the name to Kogi State University Ayingba .It is on record that not less than 19 bills and 55 resolutions were passed.

The 4th Assembly was inaugurated in June 2007 and ended in May 2011 during the second term in office of Governor Ibrahim Idris. It was only RT Hon Clarence Olafemi, the eighth Speaker, that held sway throughout this dispensation.

During this Assembly, the political impasse that engulfed the state due to the annulment of Governor Ibrahim Idris’s election was properly handled by the ruling party and subsequently, RT Hon Olafemi became the Acting Governor while his deputy then Hon Aduku Ojodale became the Acting Speaker.

It is on record that some of the motions passed by this Assembly are: motion that urged the state government to urgently check the erosion menace affecting major township roads in the state, a motion that appealed to the state government to reactivate Otite Radio Booster Station in Okehi Local Government Area and the one that called on Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) to designate Kogi as an educationally disadvantaged state.

It is also on record that this Assembly passed a resolution that the then Chief Judge, Justice Umar Eri be removed from office for misconduct while a lot of bills that are of benefit to the state and citizens were also passed.

Undoubtedly, infrastructural development received a boost during this Assembly and vehicles were provided for committee members to carry out oversight functions during that period.

The 5th Assembly which started from June 2011, ended in May 2015 with RT Hon Abdullahi Bello (July 2011- November, 2012) who, before his resignation, became the Acting Governor of Kogi State. Thereafter, RT Hon Momohjimoh Lawal (November 2012- July 2016) became the Speaker. Tsaja Seidu also became the Clerk in 2016 with Andas Malik and Ade Ikupeleye serving as his deputies at different times.

In carrying out its constitutional responsibilities which can be used as measurement of performance, over 129 resolutions and 33 bills were passed, these included five private bills.

The 5th Assembly was inaugurated during the Peoples Democratic Party- led administration of former Governor Idris Wada.

The sixth Assembly which preceded the current one had RT Hon Umar Ahmed Imam (July2016- August 2017) and RT Hon Mathew Kolawole (August 2017 – May 2019) as Speakers during the first term in office of the All Progressives Congress led administration of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The era of Speaker Imam was engulfed in political crisis which led to National Assembly’s intervention and subsequently his resignation which paved way for the emergence of RT Hon Mathew Kolawole who mounted the leadership position since then. Mathew Shaibu was appointed Clerk in 2017-2019 and was deputised by Oluwakemi Christianah and David Apeh till 2018 at different times. In December 2019, Alhaji Ibrahim Amoka was appointed Clerk of the House till date. He was first deputised Mr David Apeh who later retired from service and now the Clerk is being deputised by Mr Alfa Ndagi.

To the credit of Speaker Mathew Kolawole and his principal officers, the affairs of the 6th Assembly has been running on smoothly.

Several motions and over 50 bills were passed during this dispensation. 40 of these bills have been assented to by Governor Yahaya Bello.. The assembly complex has witnessed renovation by the executive during this period.

The 7th Assembly started on June 6th, 2019 with RT Hon Mathew Kolawole being reelected Speaker after its official proclamation by Governor Yahaya Bello.

It is on record that this Assembly served former Deputy Governor, Elder Simon Achuba, an impeachment notice for gross misconduct which has since led to his removal from office.

The long agitation for the establishment of Assembly Service Commission also finally saw the light of the day during this Assembly as the commission was established on October 16th 2018. With this, all is set for the administrative and financial autonomy of the legislative arm of government in Kogi State. Already, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alh Yahaya Bello has given administrative autonomy to the state legislative workers by directing that the state civil service release the legislative staff files.

So far, no fewer than 32 substantive motions and 18bills (14 from the executive and four from the private member bills) have been passed by this Assembly. Many unnumbered motions on matters of public urgent importance that bother on citizens’ welfare or well being were also moved on the floor of the House. For example, citizens that have health issues beyond their financial capacities have been assisted one way or the other by this Assembly after such motions have been moved.

Considering the fact that health is wealth, the 7th Assembly has also equipped the House of Assembly Clinic with necessary drugs and equipment for the benefits of legislators and staff. This is just as a staff bus is made available to convey workers on daily basis to and fro office.

It is to the credit of the 7th Assembly that members and leadership of the House have regularly been attending sittings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with the exemption of Mondays and Fridays which are dedicated to carrying out committee assignments. During such committee assignments, there are public sittings, oversight functions and investigations into expenditures of Ministries and Agencies as well as looking into implementations of passed bills.

It should be noted that after oversight functions are carried out and reports are given, laws that have great impact on the state are made. It is just two years into the life span of this Assembly and so like the pages of a book being read, the pages are still being opened.

– Aka Adebayo Michael is Director Information, Kogi State House of Assembly

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