The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday said that Nigerians need more enlightenment on the core functions of members of the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila made the ascertain when he received the leadership of the Centre for Legislative Engagement headed by Prof Attahiru Jega in his office in Abuja.
He said a situation where majority of Nigerians assess lawmakers based on criteria separate from their core constitutional functions was not good for the country’s democracy.
The lawmaker said apart from the constitutional roles of lawmaking, representation and oversight that lawmakers have, Nigerians expect other things from them.
Gbajabiamila said it was imperative to always asses the lawmakers based on their constitutional responsibilities.
”Generally, there is a lot to be done to improve the perception of the legislature; what you have done will go a long way in helping us, but if we do not get the fundamentals right, there is a problem.
“Do Nigerians understand the work of the legislature? The work of the legislature is not visible, we are meant to make laws, but the average man on the street does not see that.
“So, I believe there is need for a lot of enlightenment; you should help us to do that too so that Nigerians will understand the real functions of the legislature.
“Some people try to compare legislators with the Executive, but the constitutional roles are completely different, ours is to make laws you do not have to impose the functions of one on the other,” he said.
Earlier, Jega said that the research conducted on their performance of lawmakers by the centre took samples from 12 states and that it was the first of its kind in the country.
He said it would provide a framework for further works on the activities of the Nigerian legislature.
Jega said the research found out that there was a significant increase in the number of bills passed by the 8th Assembly, compared to previous assemblies.
however, said that the overall efficiency performance was less than 30 per cent.
Jega said, the centre recommended that there should be pre-legislative scrutiny before any bill is presented.
He added that the National Assembly should create a legislative standard committee to oversee the quality of bills being presented.
He also said that the use of electronic voting on bills and critical motions which the process had already commenced was very important.
Jega said that the study also recommended that there should be an improvement in the quality of legislative oversight of committees by establishing a minimum benchmark and standards.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
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