The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Monday Igbuya, has made a critical appraisal of the Delta State House of Assembly, describing the Sixth Assembly, it as “most stable and promising,” even as he categorically stressed that there would be no opposition to the second term ambition of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, insisting that the entire Delta Central Senatorial Zone was solidly behind the re-election of the Governor, come 2019.
Igbuya who spoke in Asaba at the occasion of the first anniversary celebration of the Sixth Assembly on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, said the House received a total of twenty-three bills (23), fifty-three (53) motions and eighteen (18) reports.
He listed the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Law (Amendment), 2015, Delta State Contributory Health Commission Bill, 2015, Delta State Bureau of Land Instrument Preparation Charges Bill, 2015, Appropriation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission Bill, 2015, Delta State Community Service Bill, 2015; 6) Delta State Economic Planning Council (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Delta State Public Procurement Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Others included the Delta State Agency for Control of HIV and AIDS Bill, 2015, Appropriation Bill, 2016, Delta State Structure for Signage and Advertisement Agency Bill, 2016 and Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy Bill, 2016, as bills received by the assembly.
The House, according to Igbuya, also received the Delta State Security Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Delta State Anti-kidnapping Bill, 2016, Delta State Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Cultism Bill, 2016, Delta State Investment Development Agency Bill, 2016, Delta State Scholarship Board Bill, 2016, Delta State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2016, Delta State Hotels and Restaurants Bill, 2016, Delta State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, 2016, Delta State Internal Revenue Consolidation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Delta State Public Procurement Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and Delta State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Igbuya, in a joyous and sometimes combative mood throughout the press conference, said, “The governor has so far assented to the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Law (Amendment), 2015, Appropriation Law, 2016, Delta State Contributory Health Commission Law 2015, Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency Law, 2015; and Delta State Technical and Vocational Education Board Law, 2015.
“The Delta State Economic Planning Council (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Delta State Anti-kidnapping Bill, 2016, Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy Bill, 2016; and Delta State Security Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016 have been forwarded to the state governor, Sen. Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, for assent” he said.
Igbuya who spoke at length about the yearnings of Deltans for quick delivery of the dividends of democracy, as well as the dwindling oil revenue and its negative impact on the economy and capacity of government to meet basic commitments, described Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as a blessing to Delta State.
“In my inaugural address, I told the good people of the state that the legislature would maintain cordial working relationship with the Executive. The Assembly has since then enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the Executive, having so far approved several requests of the governor. It screened and confirmed nominees for appointment as commissioners of the Government of Delta State and several other positions” he said.
Speaking specifically on the aspiration of Governor Okowa to seek a second term as Governor of Delta State in 2019, Igbuya did not mince words, “I have always said that the people of Delta Central are solidly behind Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. I am sometimes amazed at the way he has been able to maintain a stable economy and even pay salaries, in spite of the very harsh financial situation we are faced with.
“I call him the ‘Miracle working Governor’ and I want to assure you that the whole of Delta Central is solidly behind him one hundred percent. In fact if it was possible to give him an extension we would have explored and embraced that option. I have the right to decide who to vote for in 2019 and I have chosen Okowa. I want to say again, Okowa, 2019, Carry Go’, Speaker Igbuya stated firmly and with finality.
He equally spoke on the sanitization of some local governments in the state.
“We must also not forget the role of the Assembly in the sanitization of the Local Government system. In the light of great insecurity and evidence of financial fraud, occasioned by flagrant disregard for constituted authority, the House suspended the Executive Chairman of Uvwie Local Government Area.
“It subsequently set up an ad-hoc committee to verify the authenticity of the various petitions leveled against him. On grounds of financial recklessness, fraud and diversion of funds, the House relieved the chairman of his duties as Executive Chairman and Accounting Officer of Uvwie LGA”.
He continued; “Sequel to the impeachment notice forwarded to the House by 12 of the 15 councilors of Ndokwa East Local Government Area, the committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs of the House suspended the Executive Chairman of the council. This was necessary to give the House the opportunity to carry out a thorough investigation into the issues raised. I am happy to inform you that she is back to her seat”.
Focusing on accountability and responsibility to the electorate, Igbuya said “Here at the Delta State House of Assembly, the will of the people is speedily carried out.
“In the second year of the Sixth Assembly, we will focus on issues that will move us closer to the dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers. We will continue to offer the best representation to the people of Delta State. We will continue to support government’s effort at guaranteeing peace, security and welfare of all Deltans.
“We will strive to finish the work we have started. We will continue to put in longer hours in debating and making the laws that would move our state forward. We will welcome the battle of ideologies. We will encourage and engage in it, openly, honestly, and respectfully.”
The Delta Assembly Speaker, also confirmed that a delegation of the Assembly had already opened consultations with the Benin Electricity Development Commission, BEDC, to ascertain the reasons for the epileptic power supply and poor performance of the electricity distribution company and while lamenting that the recent activities of pipeline vandals, allegedly under the aegis of the invisible Niger Delta Avengers, was impacting negatively on the state and national economy, lauded the peace initiatives put in place by Governor Okowa to ensure that the the matter was addressed and resolved as soon as possible.
Amidst intermittent applause from Honourable members, staff of the assembly and journalists, Igbuya said members of the Assembly would closely monitor the implementation of the budget by providing effective oversight,
“We will continue to keep faith with our duties of Law making, Representation and Oversight functions of the Executive arm of government. We will continue to insist on probity, accountability and efficiency in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2016 Budget” he said.
He commended local and foreign journalists for their efforts in bringing to the spotlight the activities, deliberations, and resolutions of the House.“Functions of the press transcend entertainment, education and mere information dissemination. Indeed, the role of the press in democratic dispensation and otherwise is to bring about real political change through robust discourse”.
He also praised his colleagues and the staff of the Assembly for their cooperation and contributions to the smooth running of the business of the House.