Part-time legislation: Osun Speaker, Owoeye and his house of “Atoribewus”
I love comic movies especially the indigenous ones. Ajani Atoribewu is a renowned Yoruba jester and comic actor. He has featured a lot of comedy movies where he displayed his raw talent and he became a toast of all through his superb act.
As talented as Atoribewu is, he always find it hard to act in action or romantic movies because the look, style and ways he talks have made him so unique and different to be able to safely feature in others. Some lawmakers in Osun state suffer same fate and they have successfully turned the state assembly into house of comedy. When joblessness chases people into the position of leadership, what should be expected?
Osun State House of Assembly is now a house of comedy and fun. Some lawmakers attend sittings to catch fun, discuss politics and private matters. This is possible because the leadership of the house is bereft of ideas in fulfilling the mandate of the house. These ‘playful’ lawmakers come to the house to disturb the serious ones at every sitting, making it impossible for the house to be responsible.
Several bills have not been processed. Several motions and matters of importance were discussed in vain. Some critical bills such as the AUTONOMY BILL to rescue the dying Osun State College of Health Technology have not been assented by the state governor. Besides the cries of paucity of funds and constituency allowances, there is no positive outcry or development the house has witnessed. A state assembly that can not protect its interest can not definitely protect the interest of the people. What then are the major roles and functions of legislatives in a democratic setting?
Osun State House of Assembly has no capacity to move mountains for her members. Such house can not protect peoples interest but can only be used to subdue. What is the essence of the state assembly if there are loads of unprocessed bills, all critical proposed bills were not assented by the governor and there’s no respect for interventions and motions? I strongly believe that either the mandate is lost, the responsibility is quite heavy and frustrating or the governor simply does not trust the collective intelligence of the legislatives.
The story of Osun State House of Assembly is similar to the tales of many state assemblies. Considering the slow pace, insufficient capacity and lifestyles of these lawmakers, I strongly believe in part-time state legislation. It will not only work effectively but also reduces cost and funds can be diverted to infrastructures.
If this style of legislation is introduced, most legislators are jobless or probably into ‘decorated professions’ and see politics as a profession. Part-time legislation is the only means of creating a wide gap between the legislature and jobless ones because it will reduces cost, makes it unattractive and allow the ready and serious ones to be elected. The role of the legislature in democracy and governance is too delicate to be left in the hands of “atoribewus and sanyeris”.
As unfortunate as the case may be for Osun, there are still lawmakers who prioritise the interest of the people beyond photo session of indomie distribution and sinking of two boreholes for a whole constituency. These lawmakers have not gone to bed with their profession and they are equally active during plenary. I have heard of a lawmaker who uses his professional work to support his constituents following the non-payment of constituency allowances.
Besides empowerment, welfare packages for vulnerables and skills acquisition, this lawmaker through his firm has contributed largely to the growth of his people and development of his constituency. The construction company of this lawmaker has helped in giving subcontracts job to his constituents in Obokun. Both carpenters, bricklayers and other technical workers have grossly benefited.
This narration goes beyond Obokun constituency, it is also repeated in some parts of the state. Ife North legislator has equally touched the lives of his people positively and significantly. Both are not only legislators with second addresses but to them, dividends of good legislation goes beyond photo session of indomies distribution. While I applaud some lawmakers for welfare packages, I strongly believe that tough situations deserve tough measures. We are so grounded as a state to take priority in welfare packages, we must start to invest in human capacity building and also prioritise the growth and progess of our constitutents. These lawmakers have excelled well in both private and public practices. They are strong indicators of part-time legislation.
Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye as a ranking member and head of the state assembly has lost touches with the mandate of the house. He has consistently proven that he’s only capable of being the head of the house but not a leader with responsibility for his members and citizens at large. The many bills awaiting to be processed, the ones awaiting assention from the state governor and pending meaningful motions or interventions.
But I believe that it is not too late for Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye to work towards his vows and redeem the house of its left dignity and integrity. Urgent steps must be taken by the leadership of the assembly. They must wake up to responsibility and allow the interests of the people to prevail. The leadership needs to introduce discipline, takes the house to its real mandate. The assembly is for deliberation on state, controversial and relevant matters not for gossips, gists and child’s play. Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye has a duty; a duty to protect the house and citizens of the state.