HON. Segun Olulade is the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy of Lagos House of Assembly.
He spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly on the controversial issue of life pension law for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly. He said, though the Lagos House of Assembly has not discussed the bill on the floor of the House, once it is referred to them, it will be done by the Assembly because it is a constitutional matter.
Is it true that the Assembly is proposing pension for life for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker?
One, the bill was not initiated from the Lagos House of Assembly. Two, I continue to ask if the governor and the deputy governor are entitled to it (pension for life). If the Chief Judge is entitled to it, why not the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of any House of Assembly?
Don’t forget that the National Assembly has passed it, the same bill you are talking about. If the Senate and the House of Representatives can benefit from it, why not the state House of Assemblies? For goodness sake, we are not talking about members of the House of Assembly. It is just the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
It is even a constitutional matter. Once an issue becomes a constitutional matter, it can no longer be questioned by anybody.
But the amended constitution has not been passed into law?
Yes, it has not been passed into law but what remains is just the president’s assent. That is just the only thing that is left. Like I said, the Lagos House of Assembly is not the originator of the bill. House of Representatives has passed it. The Senate has passed it. As I speak, we have not even raised the so-called bill on the floor of the House.
Are you saying the Lagos House of Assembly has not introduced the bill at all?
Yes, we have not.
Is there any proposed bill to that effect?
Like I said, it is a constitutional matter. Definitely, there will be. If it is a constitutional matter, there is no House of Assembly across the country that should not abide by the constitution of Nigeria.
This one is quite different from the law. It is not about the law, it is about the constitution.
Are you saying, sir, that the state House of Assembly is following the constitution in proposing life pension for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker?
What I am saying is that once there is a constitutional matter, everybody follows suit. We cannot do our own in isolation. We are supposed to abide by the constitution. We are lawmakers, not law breakers.
What will the proposed life pension for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker look like? Will it be the same with that of the governor and the deputy governor?
I don’t know yet, but once it is referred to us we will do it because it is a constitutional matter.
– TOLANI ABATTI