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Published On: Sun, Oct 12th, 2014

Sokoto: Executive-legislative compatibility and service delivery

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By Abubakar Umar

For the attainment of the desired level of growth and development in setups such as ours, the goals of both the executive and legislative arms ofgovernment must remain for common good and therefore compatible. This isroundly because the degree of success and positive impact of their activities onthe public is dependent on genuine understanding between those arms,particularly when the executive is efficient and the legislature, vibrant.

It is in consideration of this reality, that Former President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari remarked that none of the two branches of government can succeed without the cooperation.

Speaking at the opening of an induction course for newly elected membersof the Sokoto State House of Assembly (SOHA) on June 18 2007, in Sokoto, the former president, himself a veteran parliamentarian admonished both arms ofgovernment to work together in other to deliver useful service to the public thatthey were elected to serve, protect and represent.

Only recently, the state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, Sarkin Yamman Sokoto, administered oath of office on the Statistician-General ofthe state. The appointee did not get to that office through executive fiat. Rather itfollowed legislative process; beginning with the forwarding to the State House of Assembly, the States Statistics Bill, which was passed into law by the House andassented to by the governor. Wamakko explained at the ceremony, that the law was designed tostrengthen the statistical system in the service for informed decision making,policy formulation, implementation and evaluation at all levels of governance. The Statistician-General was therefore being enthroned to spearhead the fullimplementation of that law, he explained.

The products of dividends of democracy – from strengthening of systems to the provision of tangible products and services, all emanate from soundlegislation and effective executive actions, as some of these examples from aselection of laws enacted in Sokoto State will show.

The passage of an executive bill for a law to establish a College ofAgriculture and Animal Science in the state and the assent of the governor isproducing a college that will in the next few months provide courses of study,training and research in general agriculture, animal health and husbandry, aridzone ecology, poultry, ranch management, home economics, agriculturalmechanization, fisheries and irrigation, leading to obtaining national and highernational diplomas.

This is the kind of middle level manpower that the state needs to move its economy to the next level.Another of the milestone laws passed andwhich was assented to by the governor provides for the administration andcollection of revenue due to the state government and local government councils.It is common knowledge that most states, not least Sokoto cannot depend almost entirely on federation account allocation to drive its development.

In addition, what is perhaps the most outstanding project initiated and seen to fruition by the Wamakko Administration is Sokoto State University, whichbegan full operation on a permanent site that was build from the scratch.

It evolved from genuine executive – legislative relationship with first, thepresentation of the bill for the creation of Sokoto State University, its passage and assent by the governor on May 18, 2009.It is equally significant to examine how such cooperation can find solutions to hitherto contentious issues. Here in Sokoto State, for instance, the passage by the House and assent of the Governor to the Islamic Religious Preaching and Establishment of Juma’at Mosque Law, 2009, which cynics thought it would be impossible to apply is being fully enforced.   This law provides for the establishment of State Islamic Religious Preaching Board that determines and regulates the qualifications required for any person to become a religious preacher or Quranic commentator, in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence. The Board has also been regulating the establishment of Juma’at (Friday Prayer) mosques, in conjunction with the Sultanate Council of Sokoto.

One of the fundamental principles of state policy is the provision of healthcare services by government at all levels. Therefore, in other to upgrade thesystem of health care delivery in the state, both arms of government fashion outthe state College of Nursing Sciences Law, empowering the erstwhile School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sokoto to now provide courses of study, training andresearch in nursing, midwifery, and other health-related disciplines, leading to theaward of degree, higher national diploma, national diploma and certificatecourses.The gains of this relationship is equally being felt in the state civil service, which is the engine room of government, with the passage and assent given to the Contributory Pension Scheme  Law, 2007, which provides for the payment of retirement benefit to employees to whom the scheme applies, under the law.

Sokoto is undoubtedly richly endowed with history, but continues to losemileage in terms of geography. Consequently, it has continued to encountermuch unpleasant natural experiences. This therefore partly explains reasons for formulation of the Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency Law, 2011, toprovide rapid assistance to victims of natural disaster, calamity, catastrophe ortragedy which shall include floods, fire, draught, hurricane, storm, explosion, bush fire, etc.The Sultanate Council of Sokoto emanated from the Sokoto Caliphate administration which in the 19th century played a critical role in the evolution of our present day communities and our overall personality, as people of the state. As the apex traditional authority, it was recognized by both arms of government that some of its powers withdrawn by the immediate past administration be restored and this is reflected in the Local Government Law, 2008.

Both arms of governments considered the significance of strengtheninglocal governance, therefore, specific provisions were made, assigning functionsto occupants of specific positions, agencies and civil society organizations in themanagement of emergencies (section 13.1) , Sokoto State Emergency  Management Agency Law, 2011, enthroning cohesion( section 8 ), IslamicReligious Preaching and Establishment of Mosques Law, 2009, enhanced revenue generate,(section 23), Sokoto State Board of Internal Revenue Law) etc.  These are outcomes of the joint effort of both branches of government. From the foregoing it can be gleaned that the compatibility in the executive-legislativeattitude to the development of Sokoto State and its people has remainedunshaken and was the advice of the former president if both should truly remaincommitted the services of the electorate of a state that is genuinely desirous ofcatching up with some parts of this country in certain respects.

 

Abubakar Umar wrote in from Sokoto.

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