Nigeria

Plateau governor: Legislative autonomy not licence for misappropriation

Both Governor Simon Lalong and Senator Gyang have noted that the purported invitation for the turbaning of one Alhaji Samaila Abdullahi as Sarkin Kerana is a threat to the peaceful coexistence of the people of the North-Central State.

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has said that legislative autonomy is no licence for the House of Assembly speakers to misappropriate state funds and “divide the people” of the state.

Mr Lalong said this on Friday in Calabar during a valedictory session organised in honour of the late speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Mike Ogar.

He said the autonomy being enjoyed by about 15 legislative and judicial arms of government today was fought for by some speakers, including the deceased.

“Today, there is autonomy for some state legislatures and judiciary but it is not a licence for arrogance or embezzlement of funds.

“And when the people ask for accountability you start running to one civil society organisation or the other to defend you.

“Everybody blames the governor but there is a limit to what the governor can do in ensuring that bills are passed because he does not sit in the House with the members,” he said.

Mr Lalong, who is the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, said late Mr Ogar did his best to promote good governance, democracy and development.

He described him as a reliable politician.

The governor announced his adoption of Mr Ogar’s last son, promising to sponsor his studies at the University of Calabar as his support to the bereaved family.’

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State called on Nigerians to reflect on their lives as everyone would leave this world someday.

“Our wealth should not be measured by the amount we have in our bank accounts but the number of lives we have touched positively.

“We should all learn from Ogar and apply moderation in all aspects of our lives, the number of our degrees does not matter but the degree of our souls at the end.

“His death calls for the renewal of our faith and goodness of our souls.

“The perfection of values to mankind is the ultimate value of our lives.

“We should reflect on Ogar’s lifestyle and let humanity be our ultimate religion,” Mr Ayade said.

In a remark, the Speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, said it was the first time the state would lose a presiding officer of the house in office since the return of democratic rule.

Mr Williams said the House would always remember the deceased for the unique, purposeful and dynamic leadership style he introduced in the legislature.

Newsmen reported that Mr Ogar, who died on August 30 at the age of 63, presided over the House between 2000 and 2003 and represented Bekwarra State Constituency.

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