The Senate President, David Mark, has advised state lawmakers to resist executive interference in the affair of their assemblies.
He made this known while speaking at the induction ceremony of the state lawmakers organized by the National Institute of Legislative Studies on Monday.
He said, “At the national level, the legislature has continued to assert its independence and resist executive interference. Thus, the legislature has achieved institutional stability and transformed from being a “mere rubber stamp” of executive decisions and policy initiatives into an institution that now enjoys a reasonable degree of legitimacy and respect. We are not quite where we want to be though.
“If I may tell all of you here, the general impression is that the state legislatures have remained an appendage of the government houses or governors. I recall that when the first constitutional amendment was done, the State Assemblies did not have the political courage to muster enough votes for their financial autonomy.”
He added that as lawmakers, the state legislators should avoid holding their sessions in the council chambers of the Government Houses but in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the extant rules of the House.
“It is ignoble to use the mace outside the chamber or borrow Local Government Legislative Council mace to conduct your affairs or resort to self-help by using your mace to perpetuate violence,” he said. “As state legislators, you must restrain yourselves from the excessive use of the constitutional provision that empowers you to impeach either your speakers, executive governors or their deputies.”
He said impeachment of an elected official must not be abused but must be painstakingly conducted within the hallowed chamber of the parliament, in accordance with the extant rules of the House and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Mark noted that such independence should not prevent collaborations between the executive and the state legislatures on matters of public good.
Mr. Mark stated that the induction programme would help the state assemblies tackle the challenges they face such as a lack of adequate facilities, low quality of support staff, inadequate capacity building activities, executive dominance and interference.