Leading Civil Society Organization,YIAGA AFRICA has charged Young speakers of state house of assembly on quality representation and leadership saying their performance will determine the chances of young people in future elections.
YIAGA AFRICA, hosted a strategic leadership and legislative agenda setting retreat for Nigeria’s four young state houses of assembly speakers in Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba from Plateau state, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin (Oyo), Rt. Hon. Nasiru Magarya (Zamfara), and Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu (Kwara) on Saturday the 31st of August 2019 in Abuja. YIAGA AFRICA recently organized The Convergence 1.0 and 2.0, to provide technical support to hundreds of young aspirants and lawmakers nationwide, and it hopes that in a few months, if you seek for models of legislative performance you will turn to Oyo, Kwara, Plateau and Zamfara State Houses of Assembly.
At the retreat, the Executive Director and Not Too Young To Run convener, Samson Itodo, highlighted the importance of the meeting stating that how the speakers perform “will determine how young people will fare when they contest in future elections. People are looking up to you as the mouthpiece of these Houses of Assembly; if you fail, people will fail to give other young people the opportunity to lead”. He further told them to prioritise integrity, accountability, mutual respect and excellence.
Present at the retreat were also YIAGA AFRICA’s legislative focal persons in the four states, Not Too Young To Run strategy team members and Hon. Luke Onofiok—the pioneer Speaker of Nigeria Youth Parliament, former Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, and a current member of the House of Representatives—who shared his in-depth knowledge of experiences with the new speakers on how to make their leadership count. He urged them to be transparent in all their dealings, not to be biased with the Governor and officials in the house, but rather to ensure that their colleagues and staff of the Assembly such as the clerk, see them as partners. He explained ways the speakers can foster effective-legislature relationship and regularly engage with various segments of the society, including women, youth groups, student groups and even the labourers, bus drivers, conductors and artisans.
The young speakers all shared their leadership journey from pre-election phase to their emergence as Honorable members and later, Speakers; a central factor in their story was challenges arising from their age. Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, who was commended for his avid use of social media as a tool for legislative engagement noted that “an injury to one is an injury to all. we have to be more responsible” in the delivery of functions. Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu noted that he had taken an intensive legislative course in accra just before his inauguration into office, and has drafted a tentative legislative agenda for his state, which he would contact YIAGA AFRICA for support where needed. Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba highlighted the challenges of revenue generation and lack of financial autonomy in the state legislature, while Rt. Hon. Nasiru Magarya noted that the House since inauguration has concentrated on legislative support and will be marking their 100th day in office this week.
YIAGA AFRICA stated its commitment to support the speakers in developing a citizens’ driven legislative agenda, peculiar to each state, and a legislative peer review mechanism to be administered to the four speakers by Dr. Jake Dan Azumi from National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, which would help to improve the functioning of the legislature as well. The retreat also had in attendance: YIAGA AFRICA Board Member, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, representatives of UKAID, Charles Onyemachi; Political counsellor at the British High Commission, Dominic Williams; and MacArthur foundation’s Deputy Director (Nigeria Office), Oladayo Olaide.