2023 Budget: We Must Ask The Right Questions, Lagos Speaker Tasks Lawmakers

…As Assembly holds retreat

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has charged committees of the House to ensure a proper screening of the 2023 budget of the State so as to close the gap between the estimated figure and revenue generated.

Dr. Obasa spoke on Sunday during his remarks at a 3-day budget retreat tagged ‘Consolidating the gains of the current administration in Lagos State in a transition year: prospects, opportunities and recommendations’ organised for lawmakers and staff of the Lagos Assembly.

Commending the lawmakers for their passion to ensure a greater Lagos, Obasa tasked the committees to constantly be steps ahead so their members could ask ministries, departments and agencies the right questions during budget defence and oversight.

“All over the world, the economy has been bad and affects whether a budget would be surplus or deficit. Here in Lagos, we have our own challenge.

“So bridging the gap between the budget size and revenue is what the House of Assembly should do. When the executive arm determines the cost of projects, the committees should be able to check for the value of such projects.

“I am sure everyone recognises what we have been doing in Lagos and I urge you to continue so that you can always be appreciated,” he urged the lawmakers.

Earlier welcoming participants to the retreat, which ended on Sunday, the Clerk of the House, Barr. Olalekan Onafeko, it was an opportunity for the members of the Assembly to familiarise themselves with the breakdown of the 2023 budget “in order to ensure effective continuity in budgetary guidance from lawmakers to Lagosians.”

Ibitel Consultant, which collaborated with the Assembly to organise the retreat, said it would help the members to reflect deeply on the ₦1.692 trillion 2023 budget recently presented by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“The objective is to reflect on the 2023 budget as presented by the Governor with a view to getting a direction,” John Mutu, representative of the organisation said.

He added that the retreat would enable lawmakers effectively do a post mortem of the 2022 budget and identify other priorities of the State that can be accommodated in that of 2023.

The retreat ends on Sunday, November 14, 2022.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY TO INVESTIGATE FIRE INCIDENT ON LAGOS ISLAND MARKET

Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday received protesters and victims of a recent fire outbreak that occurred at Balogun Market in the State.

The traders whose shops are situated on 39/41 Martins Street, Lagos Island, lamented that a fire razed their building mysteriously on the October 9, 2022 and that goods estimated to be worth millions of naira were lost in the disaster.

Mr. Mbachu Chibuzor, spokesman and Chairman of the group of traders, disclosed that the fire had been a recurrent incident in the building in the last 14 years.

He added that they stormed the House to lay their grievances over one Mrs. Fausat Fesugboyi whose shop gets burnt every two years alongside others but does not show the same level of concern as other affected traders.

Noting that the particular building got burnt in 2017, November 2018, October 11, 2019 and this year, Mr. Mbachu registered that these incidents often occur towards the end of the year rendering many traders victims.

The traders demanded that the House of Assembly investigate the fire incident just as they solicited for the relocation of the trading store of Mrs. Fausat Fesugboyi from the building.

In response to their petition, Hon. Moshood Oshun, Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development, assured them that their petition would be submitted to the Office of the Speaker for immediate address.

Reiterating that no one is above the Law, he added that the House which believes in equity, justice and peace, will look into the matter.

In attendance were Hon. Hakeem Sokunle, Chairman, House Committee on Health Services and Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu, Chairman, House Committee on Land matters.

10 Things To Know About Lagos New Victim, Witness Protection And Assistance Bill

The Lagos State House of Assembly led by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa recently passed a bill to protect and assist victims of crimes and accidents as well as witnesses who have genuine information which could help effective prosecution of cases.

Titled ‘a bill for a law to provide for the rights and entitlements of victims and protection of witnesses and for connected purposes’, the bill which has been described as one that would protect lives and property is geared towards creating a peaceful Lagos society in line with state’s advancement.

The bill with 71 sections, is the first to be passed by a Nigerian State House of Assembly and creates for the establishment of an agency that would assist to meet its stipulations and goals.

Designed to meet the Megacity, or if you like, Smart City drive of the government, the bill also states how the agency is to be run, the establishment of a Trust Fund and how resources that should make up the fund are to be sourced and utilised. The bill currently awaits the assent by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Below are 10 other things to know about the bill and the agency:

1. Provide necessary assistance to victims and witnesses including measures for treatment, reparation, restitution and rehabilitation.

2. Conduct research into ways victims and witnesses can be effectively treated, rehabilitated, assisted, compensated and protected.

3. Create a conducive environment for witnesses to make statements before law enforcement agencies without fear of any repercussions.

4. Pay compensation to victims or witnesses for any physical or mental harm, loss or damages to property.

5. A victim or witness shall be protected as far as practicable from unnecessary contact with the alleged offender and defence witnesses during trial and proceedings.

6. A victim or witness who suspects that harm may be inflicted on him due to his participation in any investigation can seek protection.

7. A victim or witness can be provided with security, temporary accommodation, permanent relocation, temporary or permanent employment or change of identity.

8. Victims of accident or crime must be assisted by the public or security agents and taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.

9. A hospital or facility that fails to treat a victim can face a N1m fine. If victim dies, the hospital or doctor faces prosecution.

10. A private hospital that receives an accident victim with severe wound must inform the agency within 48 hours for reimbursement of medical expenses where family members are not known or where the victim is indigent.

Lagos Assembly to Sanwo-Olu: Curb proliferation of substandard private schools

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to help provide a more conducive environment for teachers in the State.

The House also urged the Governor to ensure prompt payment of pension to retired teachers as a way to celebrate them for their roles in the society.

The lawmakers further tasked the government to ensure that private schools meet up with necessary requirements before they are granted approvals.

The lawmakers made these requests at plenary in to celebrate teachers on the 2022 World Teachers Day.

Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Hon. Sanni Okanlawo (Kosofe1), in a motion, appreciated the efforts of teachers in the State.

He also commended the State government for working to meet the needs of teachers.

He observed that UNESCO set aside the 5th of October, every year for the celebration of teachers. The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Transformation of Education Begins with Teachers.”

Okanlawon noted that teachers during COVID-19 adopted online teaching in order not to allow learning to suffer.

In his contribution, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) who supported the motion, said the reward of teachers should be enjoyed while they are still alive.

Hon. Abiodun Tobun from Epe called for special allowance for primary and secondary school teachers to attract quality individuals into the profession.

A lawmaker representing Alimosho, Bisi Yusuff, called on State government to address teacher-student ratio.

While also supporting the motion, Hon. Kehinde Joseph appealed to the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve their crisis so that students can return to school.

Other lawmakers who contributed suggested means of making teaching profession attractive .

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, while reacting to the lawmakers contributions, called on the Ministry of Education to regulate the proliferation of substandard private schools to curb the problem of poor educational output.

He stressed that the State government must continue prompt payment of pension to teachers who have retired.

“Those who have retired must be paid, this will motivate other teachers,” he added.

Obasa Celebrates With Teachers, Says No Sane Society Exists Without Educators

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, on Wednesday described teachers as the most important professionals in any society.

Speaking at Government Senior Girls College, Agege where he joined other well-meaning Lagosians to celebrate the 2022 edition of the World Teachers Day, Obasa noted that no sane society can undermine the value of those in the profession.

The Speaker added that the importance of teaching can be more appreciated with an understanding that through it, many other professions are born.

He commended the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Lagos for making the state proud and for sustaining the relationship between the body and the government.

He further promised that the latter would continue to do its best to meet the welfare of those in the profession, who he described as mentors.

“I want to congratulate you on this day and to further join you in this celebration of your day. It is good that you have a day to celebrate yourselves.

“We all know the importance of teachers in a society. In fact, no sane society can undermine teachers.

“That is why we must all appreciate your roles in our lives. We all have kids and we know what it takes to care for them. That also makes us conscious of what you do for our kids.

“No amount of commendation can actually pay you for all that you do. We all passed through you growing up. Without you, we won’t be what we are and that is why I pray that God will reward you and your family more than how we appreciate you.

“We appreciate your support always and will always be part of you as our teachers and mentors,” Obasa said.

Earlier, the chairman of the NUT in Agege, Gbadamosi KM, thanked the Speaker for always associating with and supporting members of the union.

He also expressed the union’s support for the candidacy of the Speaker and others in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 general election.

“These are your people, the union belongs to you. We support your candidature and those of all candidates of the APC ahead of elections,” he said.

Why NLC, TUC Must Protect Nigeria’s Democracy – Obasa

The survival of Nigeria’s democracy should be a key focus of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliates, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said.

Obasa gave the charge Thursday at the 2022 Independence Day Anniversary Lecture with the theme ‘Nigeria in search for an enduring political structure: imperative of structural reform’ held at the NLC Ogun State headquarters.

According to him, Nigeria can only advance positively if the various unions and individuals play roles to keep the country’s democracy thriving.

The Speaker, who was chairman of the event, said that the country is seen as practising democracy because there are legislative arms of government in place both at the national and sub-national levels.

He, however, lamented the attempts by some individuals in position of authority to ‘pocket’ these lawmaking arms of States citing how, in some states, principal officers of Houses of Assembly are removed at the whims and caprices of single individuals in authority.

“It is hightime we all rose to protect Nigeria’s political institution, the parliament. We have seen cases where the civil society looked away while democracy faces danger from some individuals.

“We have seen cases where the parliament was closed and where a governor carried inauguration of legislature by midnight.

“When you have a legislature that is answerable to a single person, you can’t progress or meet collective goals or say we are practising democracy. We have heard of a state that already has four Speakers in less than four years.

“It is also surprising that even among the elite, you find that there are some people who do not know their representatives at the parliament. Yet, these parliamentarians make the laws that guide their activities and actions.

“As a union, our concern should not be about where we work, our salaries and welfare alone; we should also protect our institutions. I am not saying you should be partisan, but at least, play a role in guiding our democracy.

“In that way, it would be difficult for individuals to determine how the parliament, which is the true symbol of democracy, should operate,” Obasa said.

In his short remark, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, noted that Nigeria simply practises civil rule and not democracy.

“If you have a vibrant legislature, you have democracy,” he said.

In his address, Comrade Abinbola Bankole, chairman of the NLC in Ogun State, said though Nigeria faces many challenges, “as a labour movement, it is our considered opinion that blame-game shall take us nowhere as a people.”

He said if Nigeria must work, citizens must be interested in how their country is governed.

Guest lecturer at the event, Chief Mike Ozekhomhe (SAN), noted that the problems with Nigeria are fundamental and systemic. He suggested a new constitution for the country.

“No president who rules Nigeria will do well. Until we do serious structural adjustment or realignments, none of those who would rule Nigeria can make any spectacular difference,” Ozekhomhe said while expressing optimism that Nigeria will be successful again.

On his part, Nafiu Aiyedun, Ogun State Head of Service, who represented Governor Dapo Abiodun, promised that the government would continue to focus on the welfare of workers.

Obasa, Others Storm Pen Cinema Bridge, Work Commences On Failed Portion

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, on Wednesday led top government officials to the failed portion of the Pen Cinema Bridge which had, for days, caused motorists harrowing experiences.

Incessant flooding of the Okekoto end of the bridge had resulted in a gully further exacerbated by poor drainage system in the area.

Obasa who arrived at the failed portion of the bridge with members of the House Committee on Works led by Hon. Abiodun Tobun, expressed concern over the daily experiences faced by commuters on the bridge.

While noting government’s efforts to continue to develop Lagos and meet the yearnings of the residents, he tasked the agencies in charge of drainages and road maintenance to immediately commence work to alleviate the suffering faced by those who ply the bridge.

In a related message to the people of Agege, Obasa said: “Bothered by the latest experiences faced by motorists plying the Pen Cinema bridge, I was at the bad spot today with members of the House Committee on Works, leaders from the area and government officials whose offices are saddled with the tasks of road maintenance and drainages.

“I am happy to note that work has commenced immediately. Machinery has been deployed to the place and the drains are already being cleared.

“I want to implore residents of the affected area and the entire Agege to help maintain all government infrastructure, discourage themselves and others from clogging the drains with wastes.”

Those who joined the Speaker on the inspection tour include Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege II), Hon. Rasheed Makinde (Ifako-ijaiye II), Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay (Amuwo-Odofin I).

Others are Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructures; Ganiyu Egunjobi, Chairman Agege Local Government Council; and Johnson Babatunde, his counterpart in Orile-Agege LCDA.O

Insecurity: Lagos Speaker Advocates True Federalism, Implementation of Panel Reports

* Says Lagos Government Proactive On Issues Of Security
* Suggests State, Community Policing Systems

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, has described Nigeria as a country that desires true federalism as part of the solutions to the nation’s security crisis.

Dr. Obasa stated this on Wednesday at the 2022 National Congress and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Psychological Association held at the Lagos State University.

The Speaker, who was awarded Honourary Fellow of the academic body, lamented that insecurity had continued despite the federal government’s deployment of financial and other resources to its fight.

He also urged the federal government muster the political will to implement the recommendations of different panels and committees that have investigated immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the country.

Represented by Hon. Victor Akande, chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Obasa further advocated for sincere national mediation, negotiation, arbitration, reconciliation, and broad amnesty as modern conflict resolution strategies where necessary.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Security and National Sustainability’, Obasa described Lagos as one of the safest states in the country owing to the proactive efforts of all the tiers of government in the state.

“Here in Lagos State, we’ve taken preventive steps to ensure that law and order do not collapse for no good reason. We established the Neighbourhood Safety Corps because we are aware of the critical need for quick response from local security officers at the grassroots level.

“The state government’s efforts, led by the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and aided by the other security officers on the ground, have made Lagos a secure place to live for everyone.

“There is, however, reason to believe that the federal government would support the same objective by establishing a state police force. Community preventative policing, as opposed to curative policing, is crucial for maintaining national security in light of the current state of affairs. Constant contact between the security agencies and community people is necessary to get the country out of its current situation.

“At the same time, all three tiers of government should work to significantly cut spending on administration, which includes things like defence and domestic security. As one might expect, this is crucial if we want to see progress in the real sectors of the economy,” Obasa said.

The Speaker, while noting that military action and confrontational approach tend to increase violence rather than decrease tension, added: “to rehabilitate all militants who embrace reconciliation, however, we need to place a greater emphasis on the concepts of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, reconciliation, and broad amnesty as modern conflict resolution strategies.

“The principle of true federalism advocated by militants in the Niger Delta and other groups should be adopted because it guarantees genuine political autonomy and the right to control resources.

“In a similar vein, the federal government and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s violent sociopolitical and ethnically based crisis need to muster the political will to carry out the recommendations of the numerous panels and committees set up to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crisis.”

He attributed insecurity to a number of factors including the country’s inheritance of a faulty security structure and the failure of successive governments to effectively restructure the system.

Beyond impacting knowledge, the Speaker tasked tertiary institutions to be interested in the affairs of the nation as part of their contributions to the sustenance of national progress.

He commended the NPA and LASU for honouring him as he promised to continue to play roles for the advancement of Nigeria.

Earlier in his address, Prof. Olukayode Afolabi, President of NPA, lamented the security situation of the country saying it now affects every facet of Nigeria’s development and forcing investors away.

Among other suggestions, he said there was an urgent need to bring psychologists into the recruitment and development processes of security personnel.

On her part, Prof Adenike Boyo, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) of LASU who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, expressed hope that the 5-day conference would add value to Nigeria’s development.

Kemi Nelson: We Have Lost A Very Bright Light, Obasa Mourns

With the passing of Chief Kemi Nelson, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Lagos State has lost a very bright light, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said.

Chief Nelson, a former South-West Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), died on Sunday at the age of 66 after a brief illness.

Dr. Obasa, in a statement on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Eromosele Ebhomele, described the death of the politician as a huge loss to Lagos state, the party she served with so much passion and enthusiasm, members of the party and Nigeria.

“The shock is indescribable. It is so huge and painful, one that will be difficult to heal for a long time. Indeed, we lost a very bright light that had always brought the desired radiance to our party.

“Chief Kemi Nelson was a coordinator of women and she carried out her tasks with so much ease, enthusiasm and effectiveness to the admiration of everyone of us.

“She never hid her passion for a better Lagos and Nigeria through democratic governance. She was dilligent and excelled in every position or committee she found herself.

“While I, like many others she held in high esteem, will personally miss her, I pray that God would strengthen every member of her family, her friends, associates, those she mentored, the GAC and our party,” Obasa prayed.

Chief Kemi Nelson, former Executive Director of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and influential politician, was a senatorial candidate in 1992. She lost the election to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, now presidential candidate of the APC ahead of the 2023 election.

In 1999, she pitched tents with the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and served in the administration of Asiwaju Tinubu as Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Breaking: Tinubu meets with Obasa and other APC Speakers meet in Abuja

* Promises State Speakers more roles ahead of election
* Explains why he picked Shettima as running mate

The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Saturday met with Speakers of states of the federation governed by the party and promised them active roles in his campaigns ahead of 2023 general elections.

Speakers at the meeting which held in Abuja include Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa of Lagos, Olakunke Oluomo of Ogun, Idris Garba of Jigawa, Kennedy Ibeh of Imo, Eteng Williams of Cross River, Funminiyi Afuye of Ekiti, and Oleyelogun Bamidele of Ondo.

Others are Abdulkarim Lawan of Borno, Abdullahi Bawa Wuse of Niger, Ahmed Lawan Mirwa of Yobe, Musa Maigari of Katsina, and Siddi Buba, deputy speaker of Gombe.

Tinubu commended the Speakers for the earlier roles they played ahead of his emergence as the presidential flag bearer of the party.

He also used the opportunity to explain why he chose Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, to be his running mate.

The APC Speakers had visited Tinubu to congratulate him on his victory at the party’s reecent special convention where he was elected candidate. They also pledged to support him ahead of the general elections.

While appreciating the Speakers, Tinubu, who noted the tasks ahead of 2023, assured them of roles to play in the campaign.

According to him, Shettima was finally chosen as his running mate after wide consultations and some considerations. He described Shettima as a patriotic and passionate man with the capacity to serve.

Tinubu explained that since the APC chairman, Abubakar Adamu, is from the North Central, it was just right to look at another zone, especially the North East, for his running mate.

He praised the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his magnanimity and understanding on the issue of the selection of Shettima as a running mate just as he appealed to Nigerians to see beyond religion in their quest to strengthen democracy and make Nigeria successful.

“I am a Muslim married to a Christian, a pastor,” he said noting his flexibility to spiritual ideologies.