LEGISREPORTS NG – Unlike other state Houses of Assemblies, activities among members of the Taraba state House of Assembly in the past two years have no doubt been docile due to interference by the Executive arm of government in the legislative affairs of the House.
This in turn impacted negatively on the various constituencies that adversely hindered the state from attaining the much desired and anticipated growth.
While members of other state Houses of Assemblies were busy enacting laws that would mop up the drooling tears on the faces of their constituents, findings unearthed by LEGISREPORTS showed the reverse as being the case in Taraba state.
Investigations revealed that Governor Suntai as a matter of fact had the state assembly deep in his pocket, with members crawling on their bellies seeking for recognition from him.
LEGISREPORTS recalls that Governor Danbaba Suntai, became bedridden at one of the hospitals in the United States of America (USA) following the various degrees of injuries he sustained in an air crash of October 25th, 2012 aboard his helicopter, an incident which occurred in the neighbouring state of Adamawa.
Due to the unproductive posture and representation of the lawmakers which brought about no achievement whatsoever, their respective constituents were compelled to label them “errand boys to Governor Suntai.”
Instead of coming up with beneficial legislation to improve the lot of the people of Taraba state, the lawmakers were on the contrary said to be more interested in giving speedy approvals time and again to requests for loans from financial institutions by the Suntai led administration.
The debt burden of the state LEGISREPORTS learnt, has accrued to several billions of Naira, and said to have forced the various leadership of Banks to collectively resolve to deprive the state government access to bank loans.
Rather than engage themselves in serious House business in order to catapult the state to a reasonable level of development, the members our reporter gathered, succeeded in plugging the state into huge debt.
Piqued by their inability to carry out effectively their constitutional responsibilities which was tied to the apron string of the leadership of the House, members resorted to selling themselves out to the Executive for little favours and recognition.
The long absence of Governor Suntai has however changed the standard practice of members as some lawmakers were said to have been compelled to switch loyalty to the present acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar.
This, LEGISREPORTS learnt, has however yielded positive results as members who now have the backing of the Acting Governor have succeeded in effecting change in the House.
Though some Bills and Motions were said to have been passed by the members in the last two years, such Bills as noticed by our reporter are Bills and Motions that have no direct bearings on the people.
According to a PDP chieftain who spoke in confidence with LEGISREPORTS, the breed of lawmakers at the House were the worst the state has produced owing to their inability to check the excesses of the executive arm of government in the state.
“We are not advocating for the members to be at loggerhead with the governor, but the truth is that this is the worst set of legislators that this state has ever produced because they are only after the crumb that falls from the governor table,” he fumed.
Also, the state chairman of the Conference for Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Rt. Hon. Hamidu Suleiman, told LEGISREPORTS that “The members under
the leadership of the impeached principal officers of the House disappointed the people of their constituencies and the state at large.”
Wondering why the members “will go and be hanging outside the governor’s office begging to see him”, the governor, according to him “is the one that is supposed to be lobbying to meet with the members. But unfortunate the reverse is the case here in Taraba,” he added.
Aligning his weight behind those who described the members as ‘errand boys to Suntai’ Suleiman opined that ‘they are not only errand boys to the governor, but are all rubber stamps in the hands of Governor Suntai.”
Speaking on the absence of the governor, Suleiman said the impeachment of the entire leadership of the House would not have been possible, adding that “the members would have being something else by now.”
Apart from their being inactive, the gap between the members and the electorates was noticed to have increased as majority of them hardly visit their constituencies not to mention embarking on meaningful projects.
In a chat with Alhaji Baladu Maikawan, a constituent, he said: “I don’t even know whether we have a member representing us there at the state House of Assembly because we hardly see him. Is it not when you see him that you will even talk of projects?”
“The impact of the member representing my constituency is not being felt by my people. Since we elected him, we saw him only once in his constituency. We learnt that his area of domicile now is Yola in Adamawa state and sometimes in Abuja.”
A major Bill said to have been passed by the state assembly recently is a Bill to make provision for the registration and regulation of private institutions in the state and for other purposes connected therewith.
The new speaker, Haruna Tsokwa, who debunked accusations made by the people against members, stating that the cordial relationship between the legislature and the Executive should not be interpreted to make lawmakers errand boys or rubber stamps as claimed by the people.