Reforming the Nigerian National Assembly for Legislative Effectiveness: Issues, Constraints and Way-Forward
The persistent refusal of the Nigerian legislators to make public their actual earnings had continue to generate comments which among other issues have led to agitations for the reform of the National Assembly to reduce the cost of governance in Nigeria, especially in the wake of the scrapping of the Senegalese Senate in 2012 and the recent ‘yes’ vote to scrap the upper chamber in Mauritania in 2017. In addition, the intensity of the recent claims by a federal lawmaker, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin on the pattern of running the National Assembly in terms of scandalous extra-budgetary allowances of lawmakers and secrecy of legislative activities among others have become too weighty to be ignored which make a research into these issues inevitable. It is against this backdrop that this paper examines the issues and arguments surrounding the calls for reforming the National Assembly. The paper adopted mixed-method research design and found that the official salaries and allowances of Nigerian legislators are relatively low in comparison with what obtains in other climes. It also found some elements of lopsidedness in the House’s seats distribution as some states with lower population are given more seats than some with higher population.
Adams, D. (2015). Top 10 Corruption Scandals Nigeria’s National Assembly hasn’t Resolved. Available on line at http://omojuwa.com/2015/04/top-10-corruption-scandals-nigerias-national-assembly-hasnt-resolved-report/ (Accessed on November 10, 2016).
Adebayo, H. (2017) Senate, Sagay at War again over Lawmakers ‘Jumbo’ Pay. Premium Times, September 7. Available on line at https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/242661-senate-sagay-at-war-again-over-lawmakers-jumbo-pay.html (Accessed November 1, 2017)
Adesanya, F. (2016). House of Representatives Earn N10m Monthly- Abdulmumin Jibrin. Information Nigeria. Available on line at https://www.informationng.com/2016/10/house-of-reps-members-earn-n10m.html (Accessed on November 2, 2016).
Agence France Presse (2012). Senegal scraps Senate and Vice-president post. Capital News September 20. Available online at https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2012/09/senegal-scraps-senate-and-vice-president-post/ (accessed on May 10, 2019)
Aiyede, E. R. (2006). Legislative executive Relations in Nigeria’s Democracy. In E.O. Ojo (ed.) Challenges of Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria. Ibadan: John Archers Ltd.
Akinderu-Fatai, M. (2016). Interview with Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai (Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency I, Lagos State), House Member (2007-2011) and Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance (2011-2015) in his Oshodi, Lagos residence on February 18.
Alli, W. O. (2014). Development of Legislative Practice in Nigeria. In S. G. Tyoden (ed.) Legislators and the Legislature: A Guide for Legislators in Nigeria. Kuru: National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
Amaefule, E. (2015). Senators’ Allowances Nine Times Higher than Basic Pay. The Punch. June 23.
Ameh, J. and Adetayo, O. (2016). President Delays Budget Signing as N’Assembly Withholds Details. The Punch, March 30. Available online at http://punchng.com/president-delays-budget-signing-as-nassembly-withholds-details/ (Accessed on November 10, 2016)
Ayitogo, N. (2017). Dogara Tackles El-Rufai, Releases Salary Pay-slip. Premium Times, April 12. Available on line at https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/228612-dogara-tackles-el-rufai-releases-salary-payslip.html (Accessed November 1, 2017)
Bakare, A. R. (2014): Legislative (in)effectiveness in developing democracies: the Nigerian experience. In The Legislature and Governance in Nigeria (Vol. 1) E. O. Ojo and J. S. Omotola (ed.) 111-138. Ibadan: John Archers Publishers Ltd.
Barkan, J. D. (2010). Legislatures on the rise? In L. Diamond and M. F. Plattner (eds.) Democratization in Africa: Progress and Retreat, Second edition. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2010, pp. 33-46.
BBC News (2017). Mauritania Senate abolished in referendum. August 7. Available online at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40847092(accessed on May 10, 2019)
Bello-Imam, I. B. (2004). The Legislature: Its Role, Performance, Problems and Prospect in Nigeria. In I. B. Bello-Imam and Mike Obadan (Eds.) Democratic Governance and Development Management in Nigeria’s 4th republic, 1999-2003. Ibadan: Centre for Local Government and Rural Development Studies.
Economic Confidential (2016). Official Remuneration Packages and Non-regular Allowances for Federal Legislators in Nigeria. Available on line at https://economicconfidential.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Economic-Confidential-Remuneration-Legislators-PDF2.pdf (Accessed on October 28, 2017).
Ekeocha, P. C. (2012). Analysis of the Federal Budgeting Process in Nigeria: Implications of Institutional Reforms for Achieving Timeliness. Developing Country Studies, 2(6), 64-77.
Fatade, W. (2015). Let’s scrap the National Assembly. The Cable, August 17. Available online at https://www.thecable.ng/lets-scrap-national-assembly (accessed on May 10, 2019)
Federal Republic of Nigeria. (1999). Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Lagos: Federal Government Printer
Fish, M. S. (2006). Stronger Legislatures, Stronger Democracies. Journal of Democracy, 17(1), 5-20. Available on line at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdf/oppd/page_8/stronger_legislature_stronger_democracies.pdf (Accessed on March 13, 2014).
Mahmud, S. S. (2017). Democracy in Nigeria at the Crossroads: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The 2nd Inaugural Lecture of the Kwara State University delivered on November 22.
National Institute for Legislative Studies. (2013). 14 Years of Lawmaking in the Nigerian National Assembly, 1999-2013: An Analysis of Bills Processed. Abuja: National Institute for Legislative Studies.
National Institute for Legislative Studies. (2015). Legislators’ Salaries and Allowances: A Cross-Country Comparison. Available on line at http://nils.gov.ng/docs/legislators-salaries-and-allowances.pdf (accessed August 23, 2016)
Ndibe, O. (2015). Let’s Have Part Time Legislators. Sahara Reporters, July 15. Available online at http://saharareporters.com/2015/07/15/let%E2%80%99s-have-part-time-legislators-okey-ndibe (Accessed on July 13, 2013)
Nnamdi, C. (2017). National Assembly: The Nigeria Number One Enemy. Available on line at http://www.nairaland.com/3625827/national-assembly-nigeria-number-one (Accessed April 12, 2017)
NPC, 2006 Population & Housing Census Report, available on line at http://www.population.gov.ng/, accessed on July 20, 2013
Obadan, M. I. (2009). 2008 Federal Capital Budget Implementation: Factors Affecting Performance. A Paper Presented at the Workshop on 2009 Budget, Facilitated by the Budget Office of the Federation, Abuja
Obadan, M. I. (2014). The National Assembly and Federal Budget. In L. Hamalai and R. Suberu (Eds.), The National Assembly and Democratic Governance in Nigeria. Abuja: NILS.
Obasanjo, O. (2003). From Pond of Corruption to Island of Integrity. Text of President Obasanjo’s speech, November 7. Available on line http://allafrica.com/stories/200311200461.html (Accessed November 20, 2013)
Obioha, R. (2016). Budget Padding and Persecution of Jibrin. The Sun, September 23. Available on line at http://sunnewsonline.com/budget-padding-and-persecution -of-jibrin/ (Accessed on January 10, 2017)
Olaoye, W. (2015). Legislathief wars. Daily Trust, June 29. Available on line at https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/index.php/opinion/58469-legislathief-wars Accessed on November 12, 2016)
Saliu, H. A. & Bakare, A. R. (2016a). An Overview of the National Assembly in the 4th Republic in Nigeria. Paper presented at the 2nd National Conference on State, Governance and Insecurity in Nigeria, organized by Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, November 23-24
Saliu, H. A. & Bakare, A. R. (2016b). An Assessment of the performance of the 7th National Assembly in Nigeria. Paper presented at the National Conference on the Dynamics of Democratic Practice in Nigeria, 1999-2015, organized by Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University, Kano on November 9-10
Sam-Tsokwa, A. T. and Ngara, C. O. (2016). The National Assembly and the Budget Process in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: Tackling the Challenges of Timeliness. Canadian Social Science, 12(5), 1-7.
Solomon, G. O. (2016). Interview with Sen. Ganiyu O. Solomon [Senate 6th and 7th (Minority Whip) Assemblies; House Member, 5th Assembly; Executive Chairman, Mushin Local Government, Lagos State (1999-2003)] in his Lagos residence on February 9.
Sumaila, S. A. K. (2013). Nigerian Parliament: Challenges and Prospects. Being Text of a Paper Delivered on the Occasion of the Post Matriculation Lectures for Matriculating Students of Bayero Univesity, Kano, Organized by the Student Union Government. June 12.
Thisday, April 28, 2016. The National Assembly Vehicle Scandal. Available on line at https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/04/28/the-national-assembly-vehicle-scandal/ (Accessed on November 12, 2016)
Udo, B. (2016). Buhari Withholds Assent to 2016 Budget as NASS Fails to Send Details. Premium Times, March 30. Available online at http://www.premiumtimesng.com/business/201024-buhari-withholds-assent-to-2016-budget-as-nass-fails-to-send-details.html (Accessed on November 10, 2016).
Umoru, H. (2016). Negative Perception about us by the Public Worrisome— Senate. Vanguard, August 30. Available on line at http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/negative-perception-us-public-worrisome-senate/ (Accessed on November 12, 2016)
Vanguard, August 16, 2016. I’ll make National Assembly part time if I have the opportunity again- IBB. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/ill-make-national-assembly-part-time-if-i-have-the-opportunity-again-ibb/ (Accessed on July 13, 2013)
Volden, C. and Wiseman, A. E. (2013). The Lawmakers. Available online at http://polisci.emory.edu/home/cslpe/conference_2013/papers/Craig_Volden_Ch2_Ch4.pdf (Accessed on July 13, 2013)
Copyright (c) 2020 Adebola Rafiu Bakare, Muhammed Lawan Bello
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The author fully assumes the content originality and the holograph signature makes him responsible in case of trial.