By CrossRiverWatch Admin
When on February 4th, 2017, the Speaker of the Cross River State 8th House of Assembly, Rt Hon (Barr) John Gaul Lebo mounted the podium at the Zik’s Conference Hall, Lagos to receive the prestigious Zik’s International Prize for Best State Legislature Leadership in Nigeria, something pinched my mind amid the euphoria that greeted the grand recognition.
While I tried to shrug off and bask fully in that ecstasy which was momentarily short-lived, I was suddenly jolted by another excitement realising that the Ziks International Award has finally given the Cross River House of Assembly the recognition it deserves in the comity of Houses of Assembly in Nigeria.
Yes, the Cross River State House of Assembly with that award has officially taken its pride of place as the leading House of Assembly in Nigeria, a status that deserves the commendation of every discerning Nigerian.
This very important honour stands the Assembly above even its worst critics, perhaps until they rethink a new strategy and find their voices again.
Yes critics, because 99% criticism of the House of Assembly and its leadership are either politically influenced or borne out of sheer hatred so much so that critics are blind to the feats of the House however obvious.
Their modus operandi has largely remained to give a dog a bad name to justify its hanging; and this tactics they have pursued religiously just to score cheap political or personal gains.
However, the efforts of constructive criticisms are highly commendable. This category of critics no doubts, share in the achievements of the Assembly so far.
The Cross River State House of Assembly on national ratings had been second to the Lagos State House of Assembly until the 3rd quarter of 2016 when it took the lead with a record of passing over 27 human centred and development driven bills and other outstanding advances.
The internationally acclaimed Citizens Legislative Agenda Project (CLAP I) as well as the Constituents-Legislators Assessment Project (CLAP II); The Cross River Legislative Institute, a capacity building enterprise for legislators and future legislators; the Students’ Internship & Mentorship Programme among numerous other novel initiatives of the 8th Cross River State House of Assembly have in no mean ways contributed to the present status of the House of Assembly; and the House is not resting on its oars.
Consequently, international recognition started pouring in as the House began to acknowledge invitations to attend continental and global legislative and non-legislative events, most notable were the Common Wealth Legislative Forum in Kenya in 2015 where the Assembly was internationally celebrated for inventing the Citizens Legislative Agenda Project (CLAP).
Again in September 2015, the Assembly was invited to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York which was very significant because it heralded the declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which the state legislature had already contemplated and created a legislative framework, awaiting the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the global goals; an initiative the UN saw as novel.
The Speaker of the Assembly, still in recognition of the efforts of the House, had been invited to participate at the 5th session of the World Government Summit scheduled to hold in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate.
The summit which is expected to tackle the Future of Governance, Creating Value Service Architecture and Sustainable Development Institutions, Artificial Intelligence as well as Smart Cities among others is the largest global forum for world leaders, governments and corporate bodies.
Rt. Hon Lebo is expected to participate in the Sessions on Decision Architecture, The Future of Governance and in developing Special Legislative Purpose Vehicle (LPV) which would help to facilitate qualitative service and development across the globe.
According to the Cross River Assembly Speaker, the invitation to grace the 2017 World Government Summit was by far the highest honour ever bestowed on the Cross River State House of Assembly, adding that it was without doubt in recognition of the outstanding performance of the 8th Assembly.
The World Government Summit which will hold February 12-14 is the global authority on government, only event of its kind dedicated to ‘Shaping the Future of Governments’ and setting the course for the next generation of governments worldwide.
It is also an event convening over 3000 participants, world leaders, policy makers, international community members and experts from over 130 countries and it is otherwise a global platform dedicated to the enhancement of governments around the world through among other instruments, analysis platform for future trends and opportunities facing mankind across our most vital sectors, while providing a showcase of inspirational innovations to stimulate global development.
Through the Speaker, the Assembly had also been nominated for an award by the Ghana Institute of Administration. The Award slated for 18th February, 2017, is for promoting a Model in Legislative Administration and it is part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Annual Performance Review and Referral Award.
It is quite interesting to note that while the remarking inroads of the Assembly merely passed the eyes of local observers and critics, the international community sees the Cross River House of Assembly as an institution to reckon with and has continued to keep a close tap on its activities.
The Zik’s International prize for Leadership is only the first icing on the cake. Surely, many more are in the offing as long the House does not lose steam which I strongly doubt it would.
While the excitement of the moment lasts, I enjoin every Cross River citizens particularly the electorates who elected the present Assembly to pride in the achievements recorded so far by it and to also continually show support in order to motivate the House to go more mileages in its avowed commitment to delivering qualitative and human centred services to the people and the state.
With the many local and international accolades coming the way of the Assembly, it is optimistic for one to conclude that the House will one day go down history lane as one of the best legislative houses in the world. I earnestly await such a laurel.
Azogor Ideba is the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Cross River State Houe of Assembly and writes from Calabar