Assembly, ACN Differ on Minority Leader’s Position

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Jun 10, 2011 No Comments ›› ACN (ji)

The Kwara State House of Assembly has said the current legislative assembly does not have a minority leader because there is an existing rule which states that there must be at least three members of the minority party for the assembly to elect a minority leader.

The Director of Information, Kwara State House of Assembly, Mr. Sunday Adeleke, in a statement on Thursday said the existing rule was adopted on December 4, 2008.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the existing House Rules of the Kwara State House of Assembly was reviewed and adopted by the immediate past sixth legislature on December 4, 2008. The existing reviewed and adopted House Rules states that a ‘Minority Leader shall be a member nominated from the minority party. To qualify, he shall have at least two other members of the same party.”

The Kwara House is made up of 22 members of the Peoples Democratic Party and two members of the Action Congress of Nigeria.

But the State Chairman of ACN, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo, said on Thursday that the position of the House contravened the fundamental human rights of the minority members.

He argued that the position of the minority leader was recognised in other states where there are no more than one member from the opposition party.

Olawepo said, “The Kwara House’s position that the rule was passed in 2008 falls flat because any rule that contravenes the fundamental rights of any individual member of the House stands rejected in law. We challenge the Kwara House to tell us which other House of Assembly in Nigeria has the same retrogressive law.

“We have cited the Lagos Assembly where PDP once had only two members, one of them being the House Minority Leader. The PDP-led House should know that the position of House Minority Leader is not a jamboree. The House Minority Leader, in all democratic convention, is to lead his fellow opposition members to articulate, at all time necessary, the policy position of their party on the floor of the House. He is to lead his colleague (s) to offer alternative view on whatever issues being discussed in the House.

“The position of Minority Leader serves a very big purpose of giving voice to the minority in the House. Our democracy is modelled after America’s representative democracy. There, the House Minority Leader serves as the minority party’s counterpart to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.”

 

The Punch


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