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AKHA moves to strengthen grassroot governance in A’Ibom

…conducts public hearing on Local Administration bill

By Mfonobong Ukpong

The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, says the 6th Assembly is committed to ensuring that a comprehensive legal framework is put in place to strengthen the local government administration in the state.
He stated this today while declaring open a one day public hearing on ‘a bill for a law to make provision for local government administration in the state and for matters connected therewith’, held at the House of Assembly complex. The Speaker said the House was taking a proactive measure with a view of putting a stop to incessant amendment of the local government administration law.

“Today again, we honoured our resolve to run an open legislature. We don’t have monopoly of everything.
What we are doing today is seeking to put a stop to incessant local government amendment law which has been embarrassing to our State.
We are unwavering in our resolve to give His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel the necessary support to ensure that he realizes his lofty vision for the state. We will give him an enabling environment to succeed. In doing this, we will take proactive measures. This is the proactive measure”.
Barr. Luke thanked the stakeholders holders for responding to the invitation of the House, saying the essence of the public hearing was to enable the legislature galvanize inputs from members of the public in order to guide the lawmakers in the framing of a law that would strengthen the local government system in the state and make it functional.

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“The reason we are seeking inputs from stakeholders is to give to the local government in the state the necessary tool to function. We are open to constructive criticism and constructive engagement. Any time you hear that we have called for a public hearing, please come, make your input for a better local government administration. Iam glad that you have responded to our call. The 26 of us(members of Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly) are united towards supporting other arms of government. The House of Assembly cannot be a cloak in the wheels of development”.
The public hearing was jointly organized by the House committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and House Committee on Judiciary, Justice Human Rights and Public Petitions.
Setting the tone for the exercise, Chairman, Committee on Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Idongesit Ntekpere, explained that the essence of the public hearing was to gather inputs from stakeholders.
He said the exercise was inline with section 4 sub-section 7 of constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended).
Stakeholders that presented inputs during the hearing include, the Special Adviser to the Governor on political and Legislative Affairs, Rt. Hon. Ekong Sampson, Commissioner for Local Government and Chueftaincy Affairs, Hon. Udo Ekpenyong, representative of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Mrs. Mfon Edemekong, Chairman, Forum of former Elected Local Government Chairmen, Obong Godwin Ekpo, Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Hon. William Ikpe, Chairman, Uyo Local Government Transition Committee, Hon. Mfon Ben, Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekere-Obong Akpan and the representative of Heads service at local government councils, among others.
Issues that were discussed during the public hearing by stakeholders include, local government autonomy, tenure of elected local government officials, FGPC meetings and it’s composition, local government legislature and need to accord it full legislative rights and privileges, among others.
In attendance were members of the public from representing various strata of the society.
House members present during the public hearing were, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Princess Felicia Bassey, House Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan, Chief Whip, Hon. Bassey Ekpenyong, Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. David Lawrence, Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Idongesit Ntekpere, and host of the event, and Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions, Hon. Barr. Aniefiok Dennis,( a co-host).
Others include, Rt. Hon. Friday Iwok, Hon. Aniekan Uko, Hon. Hon. Otobong Jonathan, Idongesit Ituen, and Hon. Effiong Bassey.

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