Osun House of Assembly and the Declining Standard of Lawmaking (Part 2)

Osun House of Assembly and the Declining Standard of Lawmaking (Part 2)
  • PublishedDecember 15, 2023
Reflections with Nurein Adebisi
Reflections with Nurein Adebisi

Continue from last week.

In my last week’s piece, I drew a light comparison between a motion and a bill and stated that some members of the State Assembly seem not to be aware that most of the bills they sponsored could have passed as well-articulated motions. These motions could still serve their purpose even faster than a bill because they wouldn’t have to wait for the governor’s assent.

The sad reality is that none of the private members’ bills that were passed so far have been signed into law by the governor, and there has been no explanation for this.

The speaker, Rt. Hon. Wale Egbedun, in the November edition of his private bulletin, said the House had passed five bills in the last 6 months and was deliberating on eighteen others. Eighteen!!! I wonder what kind of procedure was adopted by the House that caused those bills to be passed and placed on the governor’s table without his assent. It may imply that Governor Ademola Adeleke is not convinced about certain provisions of some of the bills, either in whole or in part, since none of them was an executive bill.

I took the time to read the titles and the policy trust statements of some of the bills and found them extremely funny both in context and content. Honestly, members of the House need to seek further knowledge on the practice and procedure of the conduct of legislative business.

A bill is not a mere arrangement of words on paper to be listed for presentation in the parliament. It is about deep research, understanding, due diligence, and vision on a particular issue aimed at promoting the interest of the state through the instrument of lawmaking. This should be done with due consideration for the economic implications (if an establishment bill) and operational implications (if an amendment bill) to avoid creating a legitimate duplication of duties.

From the titles and policy trust highlights, it is obvious that a greater number of the bills, if they manage to escape being “aborted” at the first and second readings, cannot survive when eventually signed into law. The reason is that they lack the necessary functional organs for survival.

I found a bill on the regulation of skating activities too funny to comprehend. Not only about the title but also how the sponsor opted to narrow a whole bill (which would later become an act when signed into law) to a tiny fraction of sporting activities. Apart from a part of Osogbo, the activity barely takes place in any other part of the state. The sponsor should have taken time to come up with a comprehensive bill on the regulation of sporting activities and other connected matters (establishment or amendment) and include skating as a sporting activity. I hope one day there won’t be a bill on the regulation of Ludo and Ayo Olopon in Osun.

Also, it appears that necessary checks were not carried out on some of the existing agencies and parastatals of the government before coming up with an establishment bill. I was surprised to read about the Osun Road Maintenance Agency Establishment Bill 2023, which has been passed by the House. The Road Maintenance Agency is an already existing agency and a valid creation of the state’s law since 2016 or thereabouts. If the Assembly, in their wisdom, observed the need for any review, it is only to carry out an amendment to the existing law and not to seek the re-establishment of a particular agency through another law.

I came across a bill titled “Osun State House of Assembly Establishment Amendment Bill 2023,” which had been passed by the House since August. Until this moment, I am struggling hard to understand the title, whether the house is establishing a new commission through a bill in 2023 or seeking an amendment to the existing law that created the House Service Commission for a particular purpose.

Presently, numerous issues require in-depth oversight of the House across the MDAs, the outcomes of which the general public needs to know. The results of a few investigative hearings carried out so far by the House still need to be made known to the public. The business of lawmaking is a serious matter, and governance transcends beyond all political parties.

Every profession has its terms and terminologies. After six months in office, members should have become accustomed to the standard procedure of legislative business. If the executive considers it necessary to organize a retreat for effectiveness and service delivery, it will serve a better purpose for the House of Assembly to engage in periodic orientation and updates until they are fully acclimatized to their core duties of representation, lawmaking, and oversight responsibilities.


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