Imo House Of Assembly Hosts Senate Of Law Students Association Of Nigeria (LAWSA)

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The Imo State House Of Assembly has played host to the Senate of the Law Students Association Of Nigeria, LAWSA, a body for law students drawn from various law faculties across the nation, who were in the state capital, Owerri, for a legislative summit.

The Senate team led by their President, Senator Chukwuemeka O’nei Olebara visited the Imo State House Of Assembly, as part of the activities marking their legislative summit.

The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Rt Honourable Sir Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, educating them on why the legislature is the most important Arm Of Government said “the legislature controls, through legislation, every economic, political, educational and social activities of any given society”. Rt Honourable Iwuanyanwu further said the Legislature contributes to the growth and development of the society by scrutinizing the policies of the Executive and at the same time providing the framework for the Judiciary to operate, by making laws for the good governance of the people and society, as well as carry out representative functions on behalf of the people, including oversight on the Executive Arm Of Government.

According to the Deputy Speaker, “the older the legislator in the legislative Arm, the better. The legislature occupies a more central and pivotal role in any democratic setting, hence, democracy ceases to exist once the legislative Arm is cut off. The Old wine legislators have experience and exposure and have developed knowledge base of how the system works. It is therefore unpatriotic and uncharitable to change legislators every four years.

The new person (New legislator) would only come to learn, while the older one would be advancing higher, which both in the long and short run, would further bring development and growth to the system.

Lagos State has the best legislative Arm Of Government in Nigeria, in terms of efficiency, experience, exposure, effectiveness and ability to effectively discharge assigned roles, because their lawmakers are all old wine legislators.

The Speaker of Lagos State House Of Assembly has spent 16 years as a legislator and 12 years as speaker. And he has added advantage of working with Honourable Members who have been there for over 12 years, and are into Legislative and Executive partnership, for the overall good of the governed. This is the reason Lagos State is the most developed state in Nigeria”.

Speaking further, Rt Honourable Iwuanyanwu said, “We legislators don’t award road contracts. We don’t build roads, schools, markets etc, but we do oversight on the awarded contracts and ensure they are properly done. However, we attract Constituency projects to our various State Constituencies.

As law students, you are better equipped to aspire to become legislators. You have added advantage to become lawmakers. I am therefore inviting you to start preparing to participate in the legislative business. Put your mind towards becoming a legislator”. The vibrant legislator concluded.

In his contribution to the legislative workshop, the Member Representing Mbaitoli State Constituency, Hon Engr Innocent Ikechukwu Ikpamezie urged the law students to gear up so as to become the best among their peers, by showing capacity and become lawyers to be respected in the society. He took them through the process of enactment and amendment of laws, which is for the well being of the masses.

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The Clerk and Head of Legislative Service of Imo State House Of Assembly, Chinelo Adaora Emeghara Esq, took time to educate the would-be lawyers on the House Organogram , including House Rules. She took them through the rudiments of House procedure, including how Bills (and Motions) are presented for consideration, explaining that it can be a proposal for a change/amendment of old law or a proposal for a new law, but must be subject for deliberation”.

According to the Clerk, “A Bill is a proposal for a new law or a proposal to change an existing law that is presented for debate in the parliament. A Bill passes through stages, vis-a-vis, First Reading, Second Reading, Committee Stage, Third Reading and Passage, and finally, the Assent, which is the Governor’s signature. Thereafter, it becomes a law.

Explaining the process further, the Clerk said, “The introduction of the Bill is the First Reading. When the Bill is introduced, the sponsor of the Bill reads out the long title of the Bill. In this First Reading, there is no debate. The Rules and Business Committee then sets a date for its Second Reading”.

“The Second Reading is the stage where the Bill’s general merits and principles are debated. If the Bill is read the Second time, the House is deemed to have approved it, in principle. On the other hand, if the Bill is defeated on the floor of the Chambers at the Second Reading, that will be the end of the Bill. However, after its Second Reading, it is referred to a Standing Committee, unless a decision is made to commit it to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration”.

The Clerk went further to explain that “following Second Reading, Bills are submitted to the relevant Committees for further consideration, and Public Hearing, where necessary. The Committee may approve the Bill unaltered, amend it, rewrite it or even block it”.

The Clerk further submitted that when the Standing Committee was done with the Bill, its report would be presented to the House, where it would be considered by Honourable Members in Committee of the whole. “If there are Amendments proposed by the Standing Committee, they will be considered. However, the Bill is considered Clause By Clause at this stage, and if it is adopted, the Bill progresses to the Third Reading “.

Speaking further, the Clerk explained that “At the Third Reading, which is usually on the same day with the Committee of the Whole, the Speaker reports to the House that the Committee of the Whole has considered the Bill and passed it, with or without amendment, and moves a Motion that the Bill be read the third time”. Thereafter, the Speaker directs the Clerk to make a clean copy of the passed Bill for onward transmission to the Governor, for his assent (signature), which automatically makes it a law”. However, if the Governor is satisfied with the Bill, he gives his assent, but where he rejects or vetoes it or does not communicate his assent to the Bill within 30 days from the date the Bill was sent to him, the House Of Assembly, by a two-third Majority vote, can override the veto (siting Section 100(3) of 1999 Constitution as amended).

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In explaining a Motion, the Clerk said, “A Motion is a proposal that is put before the House for discussion, and if it is passed, becomes a Resolution of the House”.

She equally took the students on a tour of the State House Of Assembly Complex, which was recently rebuilt, furnished and equipped to world class standard under the purpose driven leadership of Governor Hope Uzodimma, who incidentally, is a seasoned and experienced legislator, having served as a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Chief Ben Uwakwe, a retired director in the Legislative Department of Imo State House Of Assembly, spoke on the topic, “The Legislature As A Catalyst For Good Governance “.

According to Chief Ben Uwakwe, Good governance is the right to exhibit and exercise authority, the ability to problem-solving and conflict resolution, the capacity to manage resources effectively and efficiently for development and high level of responsiveness to the needs and the interest of the governed. He further explained that Good governance is very integral to the socioeconomic growth of any society, which eradicates poverty and hunger, while improving the quality of education, thereby sustaining development.

Explaining further, Chief Ben Uwakwe said Good governance has several legs, including :

  1. Policy formulation and implementation capacity.
  2. Development of Personnel.
  3. Information flow.
  4. The nature and style of leadership within a Political system.
  5. Decision making process.
  6. Institutional and structured arrangements. “The legislature make the above variables of governance possible through its activities in the State House Of Assembly (National Assembly). This is because legislators don’t look at selfish interest, but rather look at the general interest, for the overall good of the governed, by doing the following :
  7. Making laws that will be beneficial to the people. Even when a law appears to be anti-people, it will be amended or outrightly expunged.
  8. Organizing Public Hearing on peculiar Bills, to know how it will affect the masses.
  9. It is the job of the legislature to critically examine the Budget, as presented, and see how best it will benefit the people before it is passed.
  10. To debate on issues of State importance, by ensuring it will bring progress, development and growth in the society.
  11. Engaging in oversight functions, thereby ensuring quality projects are being executed and never to be abandoned midway.
  12. Screening and approving names of people to be appointed into sensitive positions, as submitted by the Head of the Executive Arm, and ensuring people of debased minds and questionable characters are not appointed into sensitive positions.
  13. It is the prerogative of the Legislature to approve loans for the Executive, for the execution of projects in the state. If loans are not approved by the legislative Arm, people oriented projects would not be executed. This is because the money coming from the Federal purse can never be enough to enhance growth and development, hence the loans.
  14. The legislature also is involved in the amendment of our Electoral laws, to enhance credible election, which inadvertently ushers in trusted and people oriented leaders who thereafter ensure good governance. “Therefore, for a democracy to guarantee good governance, the foundation of that democracy must be anchored and built on the legislature”. Chief Ben Uwakwe finally submitted.
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The Deputy Clerk of Imo State House Of Assembly, Mr Austin Okubuike, further added enrichment to the visit by the law students, through his lecture on Votes And Proceedings , Verbatim Report and Hansard, amongst others.

According to the Deputy Clerk, “The Votes and Proceedings is the official record of each sitting day at Plenary. It lists the activities, events and decisions of the day, including the results of any divisions, any papers presented or committees appointed. At the end of the legislative year, these daily reports are combined to form the Legislative Journal of the House”.

” While Verbatim Report serves as a record of who spoke at Plenary, what exactly was said, and what was decided and will serve as the edited transcript of the proceedings. Hansard is the official report of what was said in the Legislative Assembly. Hansard transcripts are Verbatim Reports that are edited “. The Deputy Clerk concluded.

The law students asked questions on Appropriation Bill, Composition of the House, House Committee membership and how Judges are appointed and screened etc, for which appropriate answers were given.

They were so overwhelmed with joy that at the end of the visit , the Senate President of the Law Students Association Of Nigeria, Senator Chukwuemeka O’nei Olebara, expressed profound gratitude and appreciation to the leadership and management of the Imo State House Of Assembly, for enriching them with legislative knowledge, which according to him, would go a long way in strengthening their desire and future ambition to serve their fatherland.

He equally, on behalf of the Law Students Association Of Nigeria, appreciated, commended, expressed support and endorsement of the Executive/Legislative Partnership in the State, which is for the growth and socioeconomic and political development of the society. To further cement the relationship between the Imo State House Of Assembly and the Law Students Association Of Nigeria, the law students unanimously adopted the Clerk and Head of Legislative Service of the Imo State House Of Assembly, Chinelo Adaora Emeghara Esq, the Grand Patron of the Association.

The visit also afforded the opportunity for other Seasoned Authorities in legislative matters to further lecture the students.

Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha reports from IMHA Owerri.

For inquiries on this news contact 9News Nigeria @08036856526

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About Princely Onyenwe 2476 Articles
Princely Onyenwe A seasoned Investigative Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, and Political Analyst, Currently Editor and News reporter with 9News Nigeria

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