Lagos Assembly: A pacesetter for others
Vote of confidence especially in the political parlance is a formal acknowledgment of the leadership qualities of a person or persons. But it is best appreciated when it is popular among the citizenry and widely agreed that it is conferred on those who truly deserve it.
Vote of confidence need not be resultant from a crisis of confidence. It could be an articulation, aggregation and evaluation of the leadership, thereby endorsing and acknowledging its positive contributions.
Therefore, when the Eighth Lagos State House of Assembly recently passed a vote of confidence on its Speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, it was an idea most people concurred with. The Speaker who is in his fourth term had left no one in doubt about his mission at the beginning of his tenure, declaring the lawmakers will always put the people first.
He said: “We are here to serve the people. Our new members will find out that lobbyists often besiege us. Their advocacy plays a valuable role here, but we must never forget whom we really serve – the people of Lagos State.”
In line with the above, the Lagos Assembly has been up and doing, passing 88 resolutions and six bills within one year.
Key among the bills are the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund bill, aimed at tackling unemployment and the Neighbourhood Watch bill, to tackle insecurity in the state.
The Obasa-led Assembly was instrumental to Anti-land grabbing law, which has been hailed far and wide.
Hitherto, Lagosians and several businesses had lost their hard money to land grabbers popularly called ‘Ajagungbales’, who deprived them of their properties and money, even as some lost their lives.
Even the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone II, Mr. Bala Hassan acknowledged the importance of the law recently, saying it will seriously help in policing.
According to him, within one week of signing the bill into law, his office had received no fewer than 2000 petitions on land grabbing.
Though in the driver’s seat, Obasa has so far displayed uncommon leadership, as he has no fewer than four bills to his name in less than one year.
One of these is a bill to establish the Lagos State Cancer Institute (LSCI) to provide for the promotion, aid and coordination of researches relating to cancer and cancer related illness and for connected purposes.
The objectives of the institute are providing affordable and subsidised medical care for cancer patients, carry out research on terminal diseases, especially cancer related, providing current, advanced and latest technological instruments.
The beauty of the proposed bill is that cancer centres will be established across the length and breadth of the state to care for patients.
Though Lagos will not be first state to come up with such idea, there is no gainsaying that the Speaker’s bill has depth, considering the likely impact on a mega city like Lagos.
This is aside the fact that the government through the bill is thinking of the grassroots where the bulk of the people reside; even at a time of economic recession
Obasa’s bill will be better appreciated listening to the words of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso.
“The disease affects all categories of humanity. Cancer is known to be the second common cause of death in developed countries and third leading cause of death in developing countries of which Nigeria with its population is highly affected.
“Treatment and research on cancer have tremendously improved in the developed world and in developing nations like India. Such achievements were only made possible through the establishment of cancer and research infrastructure, new cancer centres and improved treatment procedure.
The contribution of the Assembly cannot be over emphasised in the achievements so far recorded under the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration as there is no gainsaying that the Lagos Assembly, under Obasa, has been the biggest ally of the State’s Executive in moving the state forward.
There are so many dividends from this partnership, which no doubt will be a cause for research in the nearest future.
Perhaps the biggest icing on the cake for Obasa is the annual stakeholders’ forum, which he pioneered to serve as civic engagement platform between the people and their representatives.
Encomium has been showered on the legislators for using the fora to interact with and listen to the demands of their constituents and using their offices to reach out to the Executive.
It was therefore little wonder when other lawmakers after reviewing the journey so far, including the success story of this year’s stakeholders at plenary recently thumbed up the leadership acumen of their speaker.
Even members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially Mr. Jude Idimogu, could not hide their joy over the personal touch put in by Obasa in their constituencies.
Going by the statesmanship the Speaker has so far demonstrated, it will not be out of place to say Lagos in safe hands.
• Adefulu is a writer and media practitioner in Lagos.