The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole, has re-affirmed the independence of the state House of Assembly, describing the allegation that it is a rubber stamp of the executive as the figment of the imagination of the peddlers of such unfounded rumours.
Oluwawole spoke few weeks after the State Governor, Ayo Fayose, said he was the defect speaker of the Assembly.
Fayose said Oluwawole was only occupying the speaker’s seat on his behalf. But Oluwawole denied the Assembly being an appendage of the Executive.
Hereiterated his stance of an unbiased Assembly while featuring on a personality programme of Orange FM, Akure Ondo State, Roundtable, on Thursday.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Stephen Gbadamosi, the lawmaker also gave a lucid explanation of the 2017 Budget to which Fayose gave assent on Wednesday, as well as the performance of the 2016 Budget.
Speaking on the concept of budget padding that recently crept into the lexicon of the National Assembly, Pastor Oluwawole noted that it was not wrong for the legislature to add to or remove from any estimate brought before it by the executive, but that such addition or subtraction had to be done with the consent and cooperation of the executive that brought the budget.
He added that any such action done without the notice of the executive could be criminal, maintaining that that was why he said there ought to be cooperation between n the two arms of government, “if they, indeed, want to serve the interest of the electorate”.
Responding to a question on the furore generated by the mode of dressing of the governor during the presentation of the 2017 Budget to the state House of Assembly, the Speaker noted that there was no part of the Standing Order of the House violated by Fayose.
He said: “The legislature is an organ guided by rules and standing orders. There is a code of dressing for all members of the Assembly. If any member violates the code, they don’t need to be told their punishment. But Governor Fayose is not a member of the House of Assembly. It is like saying a journalist that is covering the proceedings of the House must follow our dress code before entering the gallery when he or she is not a member of the Assembly.
“Besides, what we, as a House of Assembly, are interested in is the content of the document the Governor is presenting to us; how well has he articulated his desire to serve the interest of the people in the budget. What is our business with his dress? Would you prefer a governor that presented budget in flowing agbada, only to later plunge the state into unprecedented debt? That is leaving the leprosy to fester while treating ringworm.”
Oluwawole said the House had never and would never shy away from reprimanding the governor any time it noted that he had done anything untowards, adding, however, that so far Governor Fayose had not been found wanting in any of the policies of his government.