By: Ibrahim Sheriff .A. (GOLD)
The 9th Kwara state House of Assembly, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Salihu Yakubu Danladi, convened and sworn in on the 11th of June, 2019 has twenty three (23) of the twenty four (24) Members as first timer, while only one (1); Hon. Saheed Adekeye Popoola is the ranking Member.
Unprecedentedly, 34years old Engineering Lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Minna from Ilesha/Gwanara Constituency of Baruten local government emerged first among equals, enjoying unanimous consent of 23 others to be the Speaker of the Honourable House.
Upon his emergence, there were assumptions from political opposition, naysayers and doubting Thomas over Danladi’s knowledge of paraphernalia of law making, capacity to effectively and efficiently captain the ship of the legislative arm of the State, personal carriage of the responsibilities (official and unofficial) that comes with being the number three (3) man in a uniquely peculiar state like Kwara and confidence to be firm in ensuring quality representation is dispensed to the good people of Kwara state.
The hypothesis of inability of Danladi-led 9th Kwara state House of Assembly was hinged largely on the ‘inexperience myth’. This is not unconnected with the fact that virtually all the members do not have prior experience of serving in a public office in executive or legislative capacity, compared to the 7th Assembly and immediate past 8th Assembly.
While Rt. Hon. Rasaq Atunwa who was the Speaker in the 7th Assembly has been a Commissioner for Land and Housing, Information and Home affairs, Works and Transport and later, Finance before becoming Speaker in 2011, Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad who led the 8th Assembly was a Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Kwara state and a Federal House of Representative member before becoming the Speaker in 2015. While some other members of the 7th and 8th have also been in a public office or another before elected into the State legislature.
To the amazement of Kwarans however, the manifestation at the 9th Kwara Assembly is demonstration of competence, strong will, firmness, efficiency and uncompromising commitment to the tenets and ethics of lawmaking that guarantees delivery of good governance to Kwarans, in an accountable, transparent and equitable political environment. They have done legislative wonders the general public attested those with experience could not achieve.
How the 9th Assembly of Kwara state did justice to the 2020 appropriation budget continued to earn it applauds among Kwarans. It is adjudged to be the first time in the history of Kwara state, when a true and thorough scrutiny would be done on proposed budgets of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the legislature.
Day one of the budget defence put the Ministry of Agriculture under scrutiny for over 10hours, while each of the other Ministries spent an average of 7-8 hours, throughout the 2-weeks long defence session. It was a moment of serious drilling that culminated into revelations, discoveries and ideal budgetary process restoration.
When the 2020 budget defence commenced on January 14th, it was an aggressive heat that melt out frivolity, duplication and arbitrary insertions out of the MDAs budgets. Permanent Secretaries and their unit heads were made to give convincing justifications for every item on their budgets, swiftly deleting unjustifiable budget items, which, at the long run, made availability of over #4billion recurrent surplus which was transferred to provision of capital expenditure in critical areas as health, education and road infrastructures possible.
The thoroughness of the 2020 budget defence by the 9th Assembly also led to some heart melting discoveries; from the jumbo pay for casual staff of Kwara Agro Mall, who were recruited absurdly in a ‘padi-padi’ arrangement, to one man administrative team of the Institute of Vocation, Technical and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC), to over-bloated operational expenses in some MDAs, all of which were addressed and regularized.
It is also worthy of note that the 9th Kwara state House of Assembly, in its resolve to reduce cost of governance expunged provision for telephone charge for public servants from the 2020 budget, and also, with the support and commitment of the Executive Governor, did not provide for use of chartered flights for the Governor as usually provided for in the previous budgets of the State.
Suffice to the development in our legislative polity in Kwara state is to sincerely attest to the public admittance that it is truly a new dawn, where we have a people’s parliament that reflect their yearnings and aspiration. A parliament that will not compromise accountability, prudency and probity on the altar of political sentiments or personal aggrandizement as obtainable in our ugly past.
Rt. Hon. Salihu Yakubu Danladi led ‘inexperienced’ Kwara Assembly is successfully doing what the ‘experienced’ couldn’t achieve for years, they have nullify the inexperience myth assumption and showed Kwarans that the only thing required to deliver effective representation is sincere passion for the people and sound knowledge and appreciation of their needs, which will spur such representative to equip himself with the requisite skills and build suitable team to meet up with his people expectations.