Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday advocated stronger and autonomous states in the country’s federal system with some powers devolved to them.
He said strong states would help to to eradicate poverty in the country.
Mr Osinbajo made the remarks while delivering a lecture at the special parliamentary session in commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State House of Assembly held at its hallowed chambers in Alausa, Ikeja.
He spoke on “Strengthening Legislative Institutions: Panacea for Eradicating Democracy.”
The vice-president said: “As against the general belief that the creation of a conducive environment for business by the government for business to thrive to checkmate mass poverty, poverty can be eradicated by having strong states with strong judiciary, executive and legislature.
“They will in turn channel the resources of the state to creating wealth for the citizens and eradicate poverty.
“The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens.
“To achieve this, there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources.”
Mr Osinbajo recalled the feat achieved by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, who as Premier of Western Region, recorded achievements that were acknowledged worldwide and most of which had remained enduring relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.
He said that although he supported devolution of power and restructuring, he believed that even without restructuring it was possible to create a strong state without any major constitutional changes.
He cited how collaboration among the three arms of government in Lagos State right from the administration of ex-Gov. Bola Tinubu to the incumbent (Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode), the state was able to win many cases instituted against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to the professor of law, this had given more powers to not just to Lagos State but to other states.
“The Lagos Assembly had pushed the frontiers of federalism by passing laws which have strengthened federalism in Nigeria.”
For outstanding economic growth, Mr Osinbajo said there was need to focus more on education, healthcare and provision of jobs through deliberate programmes and investing more in the sectors for the common good of the people.
The vice-president said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was working hard to create an enabling environment for businesses to grow especially micro-credit schemes for those at the bottom of the economic ladder to lift them out of poverty.
He commended the Lagos State Government for creating exemplary institutions for economic growth and development.
On security, Mr Osinbajo restated his call for state police to tackle the security challenges confronting the nation, saying “local policing is very important as part of security architecture.”
In his remarks, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode praised the leadership of the state assembly for what he called team dynamics and massive infrastructure development at the assembly complex.
According to Ambode, the three arms of government in the state have always worked together and have strove to show good examples of promoting the tenets of democracy and what growth and development should be.
“With the collaboration, we will take Lagos to where it is supposed to be.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, said in three years, the Assembly had passed 28 bills and over 100 resolutions on education, health, power, transport, security and environment for the well-being of the people.
Mr Obasa commended Mr Ambode for a good job being done which he described as visible to all.
“He has turned the whole state to one construction site.”
While stressing the important role of the legislature in a democracy, Obasa said the executive should ensure its survival by playing the role of a “father” and ensuring a cordial relationship between the arms to avert instability and anarchy.
NAN reports that dignitaries at the event include the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, APC Southwest Women Leader, Mrs Kemi Nelson.
Others are human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana, the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello and other members of the state Executive Council as well as body of Permanent Secretaries and traditional rulers.