By Bamidele Olasunkanmi
The legislative business is such a critical role among the three arms of government so much that it is the only arm saddled with lawmaking; which formed the basis upon which the society is structured as well as oversight function; which empowers the legislature by law to serve as watch-dog on the other two arms of government, namely, the executive and judiciary.
According to chapter 1, Part 2, Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution, the powers to make laws for both national and state assembly is vested on the legislative arm of government. This means that for any society to have a strong and working government institutions, the legislative arm must be adequately fortified with sound, informed and selfless political leaders such as Honourable Olawumi Oladeji, who is passionate about her constituency, her constituents, societal development, and growth.
For a more simpler understanding of what electorates at various constituencies must expect and upon which success or failure of any lawmaker representing the people must be measured and determined, it is important to briefly discuss some of the primary functions of a lawmaker.
1. Law Making
Principally, the State House of Assembly is to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the State in respect of matters not in the Exclusive legislative list but in Concurrent list. It could also legislate on other matters with which it is empowered by the Constitution to do so.
2. Representative Function
Membership of the State House of Assembly is based on constituency arrangement of the State for effective representation of the populace. Each member therefore, represents a section of the people in the State (Constituents) for avoidance of marginalization in the scheme of things.
3. Deliberative Function
Before any Bill is passed into law, or a resolution taken on any matter before the House, members must procedurally, engage in a careful and meticulous deliberation of all the facts therein, to arrive at definite and worthy decisions.
4. Administrative Function (Confirmation of Appointments)
The House of Assembly participates in the appointment process. Under Section 192(2) persons nominated for appointment as Commissioners, State Chief Judge, Board Members and Chairmen of Parastatals etc. require the Confirmation of the State House of Assembly for such appointments to be valid.
5. Oversight Investigative Function
This function is contained in Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution. Here the State House of Assembly is empowered to carry out investigations within its competence to prevent and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws. It is empowered to procure evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial as it may deem necessary and also to examine any witness whose evidence may be material to the subject matter. The primary aim of this function is to promote efficiency, transparency and due process in the running of the affairs of the State.
6. Quasi-Judicial Function
The State House of Assembly performs this important function through the impeachment and removal from office, of members of the executive. Under section 143 and 188′ of the 1999 Constitution, the State Governor and his Deputy are liable to impeachment. This is the process by which the legislature formally brings charges against the Governor or his Deputy with a view to his trial and removal from Office if found guilty as charged.
7. Judicial Function
The State House of Assembly is empowered to regulate its Proceedings including control over the conduct of members during Sessions. Such members or even non-members may be tried summarily for contempt and punished without the right of appeal to law courts. Again the State Assembly can conduct a trial as if it were a Court of Law. It may thus issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails to do so.
The functions of a lawmaker is not limited to the summarily discussed items above because of the uniqueness of Nigeria’s democracy, a legislator is also expected to facilitate what is Nigeria’s political landscape as ‘constituency projects’, which include but not limited to construction of schools, construction of boreholes, provision of healthcare facilities, human capacity building and financial empowerments among others.
Even though these are not primary functions expected of a lawmaker, they have however, been infused and ‘normalized’ due to the endemic poverty and poor political education that pervade Nigeria’s political landscape such that many ill-informed persons even though with good formal education now measure qualitative representation and legislative performance on the basis of ‘stomach infrastructure’.
Such is the case of a paid faceless writer who effortlessly tried to maliciously discredit the success of Honourable Olawumi Bimbo Oladeji, a two term lawmaker representing the good people of Ogbomoso North State constituency at the 9th Oyo State House of Assembly by deliberately dishing out sheer falsehood out of ignorance to misinform the public with his publication tiled “2023: Should Olawumi Oladeji Be Stoned Or Re-elected?”
Much as right to freedom of expression is enshrined and guaranteed in the constitution of Nigeria, Femi Ajiboye as the author of the ill-informed publication is called like other Nigerians also owe it a duty to express themselves based on facts and figures not fallacies and imaginations in order to give credibility to such expressions. The author of the said publication did not only expose the depth of his ignorance in trying to satisfy the shoddy job he was paid to do by his paymasters, he however, provided some of us, particularly on ground in Ogbomoso North precisely, who are keen observers and watchers as constituent members, of developments across the state, the opportunity to reel out the success story of Hon. Oladeji, the only woman among 32 lawmakers now dubbed ‘the Amazon’ because of her distinctively unique political lobbying skills and vast experience in the legislative business.
Therefore, based on the primary functions of the legislature as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hon. Oladeji has single handedly sponsored not less than nine bills and 38 motions, majority of which have not only been assented to by the state governor, but is now under full implementation, and has ultimately earned her state and national recognitions.
For the avoidance of doubts and for verification purpose, I will highlight some of the bills and motions as personally sponsored by the vibrant lawmaker at the floor of the House during the 8th and the current 9th House of Assembly in Oyo State.
Hon. Oladeji, in order to ensure and guarantee that rights of the people living with disabilities are adequately protected, sponsored a bill that will safeguard their rights under the state law, tagged, ‘Persons Living With Disability Bill, 2016’, she also sponsored the amendment in 2022. Also in the same year, because she could not closed her eyes to various fraudulent activities ravaging the Real Estate sector in the state at the detriment of the poor masses, and with focus on ensuring sanity in the system, the lawmaker sponsored Oyo State Real Properties Protection Bill, 2016 to solidify the means of livelihood of the operators in the sector.
As a mother, Hon. Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji is always passionate about anything that concerns children and women in the society, and as such, this has been a source of inspiration for her, especially in providing ways to advance the course of women and children. As a result of this, she sponsored Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternity Bill, Oyo State Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Bill, 2020 and Child Sexual Offence Bill, 2020, all of which are currently being implemented in the state.
Hon. Oladeji, in her view on the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternity Law, maintained that it is to ensure standard regulation and monitoring of reproductive and maternal healthcare services in the state. While Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Bill, 2020 is to sanction violators of all forms of gender-based violence.
VAPP law is the law that earned Hon. Olawumi Oladeji, the ever conscious lawmaker, the National Impact Award by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), a UK based non governmental organization, for her outstanding contribution to the passage, assent and gazetting of the law in Oyo State.
Among other bills sponsored by the only female legislator in the Oyo State House of Assembly, is Oyo State Road Traffic Management Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Oyo State Environmental Protection Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and Dogs Amendment Bill, 2019.
Without mincing words, Hon. Oladeji has directly and indirectly impacted positively in the lives of the people in her constituency and Oyo State at large through various bills and motions. She was the brain behind the review of maternity leave for pregnant and nursing mothers in the state civil service from three months to six months. Her motion “Review of Maternity Leave Policy for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers in the Employment of Oyo State for Healthy Motherhood (3 to 6 Months) was approved by the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, and is already under full implementation.
Also, the lawmaker played a pivotal role in the struggle for the actualization of the sole ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso by presenting a motion before the House tagged “Reviewing the Joint Ownership of LAUTECH: A Step Towards Sole Ownership by Oyo State Government. These and many other not only important but relevant motions were presented by the lawmaker and resolutions were passed on them by House.
Constituents of Ogbomoso North state constituency have been enjoying good dividends of democracy from the lawmaker especially through her mouthwatering empowerment programmes. Hon. Oladeji has provided equipment like sewing machines of different types, grinding machines, vulcanizing machines, refrigerators, generators and several others to the artisans. She also gave financial assistance to the market men and women to boost their businesses.
The lawmaker did not stop at that, she supported physically challenged students financially, payment of NECO fees, as well as distribution of stationeries to hundreds of indigent students in the constituency.
Several indigenes of the constituency have gained employment opportunity through the lawmaker in the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM), Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Oyo State Security Network (Amotekun), and several other agencies.
Several communities in the constituency are enjoying the borehole facilities with power generating sets provided by Hon. Oladeji to ensure regular supply of water. In the area of power supply, residents of Irewolede Community are the new set of people commending the lawmaker for the provision of brand new transformers to boost electrification in the constituency.
The good people of Oyo state particularly, members of Ogbomoso North state constituency could not have recorded all these success stories but for the selfless and committed Honourable Olawumi Oladeji, the mandate would have been in the hands of a charlatan with the primary aim of enriching private purse at the expense of the people, this is why Ogbomoso North must not even attempt to take the risk of gambling with their mandate come 2023 in order to sustain and consolidate on the success story of the ‘Amazon of the 9th Oyo Assembly’.
Bamidele Olasunkanmi writes from Ogbomoso, Oyo state