A two-term lawmaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Tim Owhefere, has hinted that autonomy for State Houses of Assembly cannot be realistic unless there is a constitutional amendment process that will extricate them from the apron-string of the state government.
Reacting on calls for autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, Owhefere said that state assemblies will remain subordinate to their state government because there were no definite constitutional provisions that make them legally separate and independent from the later.
He disclosed this while speaking during an induction course organised for state lawmakers at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The legislator said autonomy cannot be secured for them because the 1999 Constitution (as amended) does not expressly provide for their independence.
“If there is no law backing autonomy, it cannot change. You cannot insult a man who needs to give you money every week. The State Assembly will continue to be a rubber stamp to the executive arm of government so long as the executive releases the cash.
“If there is no law on ground to define and shape autonomy for the state assembly, the situation will remain the same. So, if there is no autonomy for state assembly, all of them will remain rubber stamps to the executive arm of government,” he said.
He pointed out that the change will only occur if the constitution is amended to that effect.
On the tussle between the Presidency and the National Assembly over the amendment to some sections of the 1999 Constitution, Owhefere wondered why it took the presidency so long to object to the amendment considering the huge sum of money expended on the project.
“Recall that the 36 Houses of Assembly met and voted on this amendment and to just wake up one morning to say that you are uncomfortable with the amendment, leaves much to be desired. I mean it doesn’t tell well of our democracy and if you look at all the amendments everything was designed to strengthen the very foundation of our democracy,” he pointed out.
Speaking further on the recommendations of the delegates to the National Conference, the lawmaker lauded the report but regretted that, like other reports, it will be consigned to the dustbin.
According to him, “History has overtaken them again. It is going to be like every other report that we have seen in the past because the man who engineered it is gone.”


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