President Muhammadu Buhari has pointed out that the autonomy of state legislatures has been constrained by the constitution.
The President stated this on Thursday while receiving the Conference of Speakers at the Presidential Villa, urging lawmakers in the country to always place interest of the people first in all deliberations and negotiations.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, President Buhari said the constitution upholds the standard for all public officers and institutional operations.
President Buhari said the constitution must be adhered to, or altered to reflect some dynamics and realities of the country.
“I try as much as I can to always be loyal and obedient to the constitution so long as it is humanly possible,’’ he said.
He added that “The 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for seven months. And I had to call the Senate President and the Speaker then. I told them by delaying passage of the budget you are not hurting Buhari, but the people,’’ he added.
The President said the delay persisted in spite of his efforts to seek more understanding.
Buhari promised to consult the Conference of Speakers to further enhance the positive impact across the country.
“We have in the last four years dedicated significant resources to key social services sectors especially in health, education as well as our massive social investment programs. We have also started restoring our infrastructure to levels that this country expects.
“I also want to assure you that we remain committed to ensuring that equity and fairness prevail in governance. I will ensure that we consult your conference to further enhance the positive impact of our interventions across the country.’’
The statement reads: In his remarks, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers, who is also the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, commended the President for the fight against corruption and insurgency, and efforts to ensure financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary.
Obasa said the legislatures would be further pleased if the President issues an executive order directing the Accountant General of the Federation to separate funds for the state legislature and judiciary at source.
The Conference of Speakers chairman also urged the President to consider supporting the devolution of powers to states on some issues on the exclusive list like railway and the police for more effective governance.