By Miracle Enuji
The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has called on the Delta State House of Assembly to initiate through a way of legislation, a State Conference where short and long term developmental plans for Delta state will be structured out.
The group made this call on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 when Executives of its Delta State Branch paid a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori in his office at the Assembly Complex, Asaba.
Leader of the delegation and Chairman of the Association, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins(Esq) posited that as Nigerians clamour for a National Conference to a chart the way forward, we as a State can have our own Conference, saying, “we are urging the Delta State Government through the House of Assembly to call for a conference of the State where we would marshal out short and long term development blueprint for the State. So that, once Deltans have agreed on it, no matter the government in power, they will just easily key into that process and move the State forward.”
Aikpokpo-Martins informed the Speaker that they were in his office to intimate him with the business of the Association and to congratulate him on his emergence as Speaker.
“We want to partner the government by advising the government from time to time because we have members in the public service and we also have members outside. We see things clearer than you might envisage. So we are in the position to always advise at any given time and we want to plead with you that anytime a statement is coming out from our body even if it is not palatable, it is made in good faith for the purpose of driving the state forward.”
The Legal practitioner urged the Speaker and members of the House to vote YES on the constitutional amendments that would be forwarded to it especially on the aspects of autonomy for the State House of Assembly, the guarantee of Democratic Tenure for Local Governments and the separation of the State account from the Local Government account. They also implored the House to vote YES when the legislation for restructuring comes to them.
The APBN State Chairman also called on the House to improve on its oversight functions stating that if the House can appropriate money for contracts, they should also commit themselves in critical evaluation of the process to ensure quality job delivery.
Welcoming the group, Speaker Oborevwori thanked the professionals for the visit, while assuring that he would partners with them as he is also a member of a professional body, the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), of which he is very proud of.
Responding to the State Conference initiative, Oborevwori agreed with the call noting that what is more important, is for all Deltans to restructure their minds and to see how the state can move forward. “It is not about the issue of political party, religion or ethnicity but what is more important is, if we can reason together, we would move the state forward.”
On the issue of Autonomy for the House of Assembly, the Speaker said, “is not an issue for just one State to take decision on and that is why we are still consulting. What the National Assembly has done and which they brought to us at the Speaker’s conference in Abuja, they had to expand the meeting to include the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader and a female Legislator. We are now going back to Yola to look at what they have done if it is acceptable. We would look at it and make our contributions because each State has its own peculiarity. We all need the autonomy. If the proposal comes to the State, we would all put heads together, look at it properly and if Deltans would support and be happy with it, we will key into it and do the needful.”
He also assured the body that when the bill for the local government autonomy comes, the House will also look at it properly and do the needful.
The Speaker further informed the group that the State Governor has been very prudent as it relates to the financial status of the State. “Look at the little resources that have been coming into the State and the several projects that he has been doing. That is why we call him a Smart Governor because of his SMART Agenda. For the past two years, what the state has received compared to previous governments is a far cry from what it used to be but he makes sure to pay salaries and do some projects with the minute resources accruing to the state,” Oborevwori submitted.