Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has advocated for strong and autonomous states within the Nigerian federal system as a panacea for eradicating poverty in the country.
Osinbajo stated this position while delivering a lecture at the special parliamentary session in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State which took place at the chamber of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa on Friday evening.
Although the topic for the lecture was ‘Strengthening legislative institutions: panacea for eradicating democracy’, the Vice President who was the Guest Speaker however narrowed the topic down to ‘Stronger states and the eradication of poverty.
As against the general belief that the creation of a conducive environment by the government for business for business to thrive to checkmate mass poverty, Osinbajo said poverty can be eradicated by having stronger states with strong judiciary, executive and legislature who would channel the resources of the state to create wealth for the citizens and eradicate poverty.
“The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens. To achieve this there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources”, Osinbajo said.
He cited the great feat achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who as Premier of then Western region recorded achievements that were acknowledged world wide and most of which has remained enduring relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.
Osinbajo submitted that although he supports devolution and restructuring but that even without restructuring it is possible to create a strong state without any major constitutional changes.
He cited how collaboration between the the three arms of government in Lagos right from the reign of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the present governor the state has been able to win series of cases at the Supreme Court which has given more powers to not just only Lagos state but which has benefited so many other states as well.
According to him, the Lagos Assembly has pushed the frontiers of federalism by passing laws which has strengthened federalism in Nigeria.
He advised that for outstanding economic growth there is need to focus more on education, healthcare and provision of jobs through delibrate programmes and pumping of more resources to these sectors to benefit the majority of the citizens.
The Vice President disclosed that the present government is working round the clock to create an environment for business to grow especially through a micro credit scheme for those at the lower rung of the economic ladder to lift them out of poverty.
He commended the Lagos state government for creating exemplary institutions for economic growth and development.
Osinbajo also made a case for state police to tackle present security challenges confronting the nation, saying that “local policing is very important as part of security architecture”.
Giving his remarks, Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode praised the leadership of the state Assembly for team dynamics and infrastructural development within the Assembly.
According to him the three arms of government in the state have always worked together and have strived to show a good example of tenents of democracy and what growth and development should be “and with that collaboration we will take Lagos to where it is supposed to be”.
In his welcome address earlier, speaker of the Assembly Hon.Mudashiru Obasa said in three years the Assembly has passed 28 bills into law and over 100 resolutions on education, health, power, transport, security and environment for the well-being of Lagosians.
Obasa commended Ambode for the good job he is doing which is visible all over the state “he has turned the whole state to one construction site.”
While stressing on the important role of the Assembly in democracy, Obasa said the executive should ensure the survival of the legislature by playing the role of a father and ensuring cordial relationship to avoid instability and anarchy.
Dignitaries at the event includes: Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, Fmr speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abbah who was the Discussant, fmr deputy governor Lagos state, Femi Pedro represented Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, PDP chieftain Adesewe Ogunlewe while Governor of Oyo state, Ajimobi was represented by the Attorney General of Oyo state.
Others are: House of Representatives Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC National Legal Adviser, Hon. Babatunde Ogala, APC South West Women Leader, Mrs. Kami Nelson, Rights Activist, Femi Falana, Secretary to the state government, Tunji Bello and other exco members, Body of Permanent Secretaries of the state, traditional rulers, APC Lagos chairman and other party chieftain.