Hon. Colleagues,

          I give gratitude to the Almighty for His mercies and for giving us life and good health to witness beginning of another new year 2017. I hereby congratulate you all for the successes recorded in 2016. My colleagues, I want to also welcome you to the 2nd half of the Second Session of the 8th Legislature. It is my belief that we are now more refreshed and determined towards ensuring transparent and accountable legislative duties to our people. We should be mindful of the fact that the Legislature is the focal point of the democratic system. Therefore, we should rededicate ourselves to policies and projects that will depict us as true representatives of our communities.

          My esteemed colleagues, In the last eighteen months of this 8th Legislature, we have been able to pass 11 Executive Bills while three (3) Private Member’s Bills are already undergoing different legislative processes. Five (5) other Executive Bills are at Committee stage awaiting presentation. we were able to achieve some of these milestones through participation and contribution of well-meaning members of the public. During this second half of the Second Session, I want to urge Kwarans to further increase their participation and involvement in governance through observing plenary sessions, attending and contributing at public hearings and drawing our attention to the way they feel about public policies and projects.

To this end,Text Box: 4 and in order to ensure conducive environment for interaction with members of the public, we have taken steps towards constructing a 500-capacity hall for use during Public Hearings and other interactions with members of the public. There will also be provisions to ensure that the Standing and Special Committees efficiently and effectively perform their duties while the exposure of members to international legislative practices would be realized this 2017. It is hoped that these will go a long way in strengthening and realization of qualitative legislations for the well being of our people.

          Furthermore, we will make governance even more transparent by providing access to all necessary information. We must continue to raise the bar of good governance in Kwara State. In this regard, all overdue accounts of the State must be audited and presented by the appropriate authority to the Assembly within the first quarter of this year.  On our part, salient features of this year's budget will be circulated and placed on our website for easy access and comments by the public on sectoral allocations before passage. The first few weeks of this Session will be dedicated to the budget process to ensure that the 2017 Appropriation Bill is passed into law expeditiously. Other priority legislative interventions shall include working with the Executive to overhaul our town planning laws, which hitherto permit construction of petrol stations inside family compounds and erection of shops in any available landscape. We will also take serious interest in improving on our laws to encourage government patronage of local contractors, suppliers, and other service providers within the State.

          The Kwara State Health Insurance Bill is one initiative that seeks to institutionalize the State's achievement so far in ensuring that low-income earners are not shut out of gaining access to quality medical attention. Without a legal backing, the Dutch government-assisted initiative has received accolades from within and outside the country. We promise Kwarans that the Bill will be one of the first to be passed by this House in the following weeks.  Few weeks ago, the nation was gripped with the security fallout of the problem of uncontrolled motor parks operated by commercial road transporters. We will work with all transport unions, MDAs and Local Government authorities to fashion out a new law to regulate and forestall such incidences in Kwara State.

The challenges facing our dear State have not been easy, especially on the financial resources accruable from the Federation Account. However, we have been able to showcase the ingenuity of the caliber of colleagues here in the 8th legislature to complement the efforts of the Executive arm of government, especially KW-IRS, in augmenting our finances to enable Government impact positively on the lives of our people.

Text Box: 3          Hon. Colleagues, you will recall vividly that in my inaugural speech at the inception of this Legislature, I stated that as a House without a single opposition, “our own version of consensus must mean that we are united at ensuring transparency, that there is no dissent in achieving the goal of accountability and good governance.” This we have toed with utmost commitment, thoroughness and dedication without compromising the aspiration and the standards set for us by our people. As elected representatives, we owe it a collective duty to ensure that we fashion projects and programmes that shall bring succor to the people. As such, we should sacrifice our personal needs for a greater needs of our people. I am therefore calling on you all to think of the best ways and means of promoting bills that would uplift the standard of living of Kwarans.

          At this juncture, let me sincerely acknowledge the cooperation and support we are receiving from the Executive Governor towards performing our legislative duties without hindrance. This l hope will be sustained and enhanced. It is complementary efforts of the three arms of government that determines the progress of any government in a democracy. I should also appreciate the press for their full coverage of our proceedings and other legislative activities. I must also appreciate the understanding and patience of Kwarans for the support they are giving to the Administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed during these trying periods. I believe the hard times are over and we are on the path of glory again.

          Let me also commend our staff for their dedication and commitment in the discharge of their duties. The House believes in continuous training and re-training programmes to improve and update the knowledge of its workforce for better service delivery while workshops and seminars that will enhance quality legislative business shall be undertaken by both Hon. Members and Staff of the Assembly from time to time.Text Box: 5

          Distinguished Hon. Members, I thank you all for your audience.