For any country desiring tangible economic development, supported by laws familiar to the governed, state legislatures must be strengthened and empowered to remain vibrant.

As a nation desiring appreciable level of growth, therefore, state legislatures in Nigeria need be allowed to contribute to ongoing constitution amendment in the country. This is due to the fact that every government would require the availability of infrastructure, sound legislation and security; issues the State legislatures fully understand and can better project in the soon to be amended constitution.

To come by a vibrant state legislature, reasonable degree of responsibilities must be entrusted on state legislatures, seen to be closer to the grassroots and more in touch with the people.

This would also require that certain pressing matters be removed from the exclusive list of the Federal government to the concurrent list to enable states also legislate on them.These were positions held by the conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria during a three day general meeting in Uyo as championed by the host of the meeting and Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke.

The Speakers, through their host who made the above remarks to justify the essence of regular meetings by the body, during a welcome party organized by the state government for members of the conference, made particular reference to power distribution which has remained in the exclusive list of the Federal government, and expressed optimism that the issue of power would have been put to rest if states were allowed to also legislate on such issues.He regretted that even states with Independent Power Plant, which Akwa Ibom is one of, could only generate, but not distribute, and therefore unable to derive maximum value from such investment.

Luke said the essence of the meeting was to exchange ideas and experiences to fully equip speakers of State legislatures to work for the betterment of the nation.He informed his colleagues of bold steps taken in the direction of infrastructures and industrialisation by the Akwa Ibom State government. Adding that the pencil and toothpick industries by the present administration, in addition to generating employment to the hitherto unemployed youths, are also foreign exchange earners as those were before now imported from China and other parts of the world.“The development you have seen on ground in the state is as a result of selfless service on the path of leadership”. He saidPresenting a communique at the end of the meeting, the conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria called for a speedy passage of the bill for whistle blowing in the National Assembly.

The conference, in very strong terms, also called for synergy among the agencies charged with the responsibility of fighting the menace of corruption in the country, to do so within the ambit of the law.The communique presented by the Chairman of the Conference and Speaker, Kebbi state House of Assembly, Mr. Abdumumin Ismaila Kamba however commended the federal government for the great feat so far recorded in the fight against corruption.It also commended the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the commencement of the continuous voter’s registration, but however requested that such should not be limited to local government headquarters. “It should also be extended to the various voting centers/units”.

The Speakers call for states to ensure Democratically elected structure at the local government levels.While calling for equal measure of force to combat the rampaging cases of kidnapping, killing by herdsmen, cattle rustling and other criminal behaviours in the country, the Speakers however commended the professionalism of security agencies in the fight against insurgency in the country.“The conference showed concern on the outbreak of cerebral meningitis and called on the government at all levels to re-double their efforts at curbing the outbreak”.“

The conference equally calls on the National Assembly to hasten the process of constitution amendment” the communiqué reads.At the pencil/toothpick factory of the Akwa Ibom State government, the Chairman of the Conference, confessed to have taken home some INVESTMENT IDEAS from Akwa Ibom State.After taking delivery pencils and toothpicks presented to him by the Host Speaker, Barr Onofiok Luke, he said; “People may consider this petty, but considering the value chain; employment generation, as raw materials are sourced locally, I must say that we are carrying back home some ideas. We will be very pleased to patronize this company to continue to grow”“Let me also thank His Excellency for his support to the legislature and particularly, to our own colleague, the Speaker of Akwa Ibom Legislature, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke. For this reason, we hereby name him FRIEND OF THE LEGISLATOR”“When we arrived the airport earlier today, I could see a facelift and new looks around the place. And I can say that Akwa Ibom has one of the best airports in Nigeria today”“I thank His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel for the singular honour of hosting us. This is the first meeting we have held outside Abuja, and to us, this is a homecoming because this is our third visit to Akwa Ibom. That is why this meeting is the most attended of all our meetings”.

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