In this explainer, we provide insight into the history, mode of operation, function and leadership of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures.
The legislature is the lawmaking arm of government at the local, state or federal level in a federation.
It is a given, however, that in a representative democracy like Nigeria’s, while the legislature and the judiciary are responsible for lawmaking and interpretation of laws, the Executive is responsible for the implementation (execution) of those laws.
Is it possible, then, for the legislature or a body of lawmakers (at any level) to have an Executive? Let’s find out in this piece.
On Saturday, 16th September 2023, Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin emerged as Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.
The Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly and member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) emerged through a unanimous voice vote by Speakers present at a National Meeting of the Conference in Abuja.
Ogundoyin’s emergence followed the expiration of the tenure of the former occupant, Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, Speaker of the Bauchi State Assembly, and the withdrawal of Hon. Taiwo Oluomo, Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly from the race.
What is the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures about?
The Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria is a bipartisan body of Speakers from Nigeria’s thirty-six (36) State Houses of Assembly established to guarantee the promotion of inter-parliamentary solidarity and legislative best practices.
Besides ensuring a strong and cohesive voice in the country, the Conference is an organisation whose commitment is to serve the nation and the member states irrespective of the party affiliation of the members.
It was founded upon Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 by the pioneer Speakers of the various State Houses of Assembly in the fourth republic. Its pioneer chairman was then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi.
Mode of Operation
- Prior to 2003, the body had no National Secretariat owing to its lean purse leading it to move its meetings from one state to another based on the willingness of any interested member-state to host the Conference.
- However, in 2003, the Conference acquired its National Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and has since coordinated its activities from there.
- The constitution of the Conference provides that a general meeting is held once every two months but may be postponed to a later period if there is a pressing need to do so.
- For effective and efficient accomplishment of its goals and objectives, the Conference adopted periodic meetings during which topical issues and matters of common interest of the states would be addressed.
- Organises Refresher courses for members of State Houses of Assembly on legislative practices and procedures.
- Coordinates the State Assemblies on the constitution amendments among others
Between 1999 and 2003, a Speaker of a State House of Assembly signified interest in hosting the Conference. In that arrangement, the host Speaker would emerge as the Chairman.
Now guided by a constitution, the tenure of the Conference Executive Committee is a non-renewable tenure of two (2) years and allows the rotation of its Chairman between the North and the South. Consequently, the Chairmanship alternates between the two regions in an assembly of four years.
Quite importantly, the Executive Committee of the Conference comprises ten (10) members, namely: Chairman, Deputy Chairman, one Vice Chairman from each of the six (6) geo-political zones, a Financial Secretary and Treasurer,
Its first election was conducted in 2003, heralding the then Executive Committee led by Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
1. Rt Hon Chibuke Amaechi (Rivers State)
2. Rt Hon Istifanus Gbana (Taraba State)
3. Rt. Hon Inuwa Garba (Gombe State)
4. Rt. Hon Ismail Kamba (Kebbi State)
5. Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa (Lagos State)
6. Rt. Hon Suleiman Abubakar (Bauchi State)
Following his emergence on Saturday, the thirty-six-year-old Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin is now the youngest Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria since its establishment in 1999.