It is no longer news that the Imo State House of Assembly Lawmakers travelled to South Africa for a one week legislative capacity building training. However it has become very necessary to highlight the gains which the people of Imo State would derive from the trip. This is due to the fact that coated lies are being peddled round the State by detractors and mischief makers to the effect that our esteemed lawmakers went to South Africa for a jamboree and intentionally running away from their legislative functions in the State.
The Legislature is the fulcrum through which any democratic political structure revolves. If you remove the legislature from the political system, democracy collapses. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that without the legislature, there will be no democracy. Or simply put, democracy is democracy because of the legislature. Democracy can therefore be strengthened only if the legislature is strengthened.
The question now is: How do we strengthen the legislature? The Legislature can be strengthened when the elected lawmakers periodically go for training, attend workshops and Seminars so as to remain mentally alert at all times in order to continue with their legislative responsibilities to the people.
a. University Professors attend workshops from time to time so as to update themselves for optimum performance
b. Vehicles are taken to workshop for servicing periodically to update their optimum performance.
c. Industries are periodically updated for increased output.
d. Our parents attend Marriage seminars periodically to improve on their relationship and on how to run their families even though they are happily married.
SO WHY THE FUSE ABOUT OUR LAWMAKERS WHO HAVE GONE FOR RE-FUELLING!!! Our lawmakers led by our vibrant and ebullient speaker, Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu should be applauded for taking this bold initiative to update themselves.
This is not the first time they would be embarking on this capacity building training. Before the 5th House 3rd Assembly of the present Imo State House of Assembly was inaugurated on the 7th of June 2011, the then members-elect (as they were called then) embarked on a retreat at Nike Lake Enugu State for a legislative workshop, seminar and capacity building training. Without over flogging issues, I make bold to state that the experience they gathered at the retreat armed them properly on how to legislate vis-à-vis; drafting of bills, presentation of bills, moving of motions, handling of letters (mostly petitions), committee works and appropriation functions. Etc. etc.
It is therefore not surprising that after one year of their inauguration, a total of 33 bills were presented, out of which 20 have been passed into laws. Also, a total of 73 motions were presented, out of which 57 have been passed. The various standing committees (ably chaired by the lawmakers) through which they carried out their oversight functions by ensuring monitoring of various projects and implementation of the state and the 27 Local Government Areas annual budgets. The rational question will now be; If our esteemed lawmakers could achieve all these monumental achievements in just one year because of a “Local” retreat at Nike Lake in Enugu State, now that they have gone continental by embarking on an inter-parliamentary training visit to South Africa, is it not the people of Imo State that will benefit from the legislative dividends?
The Second stage of the 4 year legislative journey started four months ago and it is certain that when our lawmakers return from their training, more proactive and people oriented laws (bills) and motions would be made for the betterment of Ndi-Imo. At this point, let me educate the detractors and mischief makers who have now assumed the tag “Professional mudslingers” (NDI NA AGHA AJA) that the South African training for our lawmakers is not for them alone as it cuts across the State Assemblies in Nigeria, just as the retreat at Nike lake Enugu was for all the members – elect then in 2011. Legislative learning and training as we all know is a continuous process and no legislature can perform optimally without periodically updating its members with the latest information and legislation on matters of complexities.
Our lawmakers will be back in the next few days (fully charged and armed with more legislative powers) to continue with their people oriented legislative responsibilities. It is on this note that I call on the people of Imo State to discountenance the news making round that our lawmakers have absconded to South Africa. I rest my pen.
Hon Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha FCAI
Media department (Office of the Speaker) Imo State House of Assembly.