By EricJames Ochigbo
The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has tasked members-elect for Plateau and Bauchi Houses of Assembly to work toward delivering democracy dividends to the people.
Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director-General, NILDS, said this at the opening of a two-day workshop for Plateau and Bauchi Houses of Assembly members-elect in Abuja on Monday.
The workshop was organised by NILDS in collaboration with the Konarad Adenauer Stiftund (KAS) a German foundation intrested in building democratic values.
Sulaiman who congratulated the members-elect on their election, said they were elected as delegates by the people to exercise power on their behalf.
“They expect that you will actively advocate for their interests and articulate the issues and challenges that they face,” he said.
“The first challenge a legislator faces is that of making the transition from a candidate of a party to a member of parliament.
“Understanding the structure, functions and operations of the legislature can be daunting and unsettling.
“As most of you are already aware, there is limited time for you to make this transition and commence the work of lawmaking, oversight and representation.
“Partisanship should be forgotten, work together for the good of your people,” he said.
Sulaiman said that to perform legislative role effectively, legislators, especially those coming to the Assembly for the first time, must understand the constitutional scope and limitations of their powers to make laws.
He said members are required to master the rules of legislative practice and procedure and the tools available to them in the conduct of oversight functions.
“For this reason, this induction programme has been organised by KAS and NILDS to enable you to understand your roles, responsibilities, and the functioning of the legislature.
“The various sessions in this induction will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of legislative procedures, rules, and protocols.
“This knowledge is vital for effective participation in legislative activities, such as debates, committee work, and voting procedures,” he said.
The Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, Mr Abubakar Suleiman commended the organisers for identifying and solving some of the challenges of parliament
He said that the workshop was so important because out of the 55 members present at the workshop from Plateau and Bauchi 42 were new.
The speaker said that he had gone through the topics to be discussed at the worship and found them to be very beneficial for the new members-elect.
Suleiman expressed confidence that the 10th Assembly will be the best in the history of Nigeria given the caliber of members-elect.
He urged the participants to pay attention and take utmost advantage of the workshop for the legislative journey ahead.
Earlier, the country representative, KAS, Ms Marija Peran said that the organisation had 113 offices worldwide to promote good and democratic governance and foster relationship for Germany.
She said since 2001, they had been supporting democratic forces in Nigeria, promoting good governance and the rule of law for sustainable development of the country.
Paren said KAS had been facilitating platforms for democratic dialogues for parliamentarians across the country, supporting security reforms and capacity building for agencies.
She said in collaboration with the NILDS, much had been achieved and more would still be achieved ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
She said that the workshop was specifically designed to address some of the challenges bedeviling the parliament as a result of higher rate of turnovers.
She said that KAS plan to train 18 states houses of assembly within the next three months as the next for year was critical to the development of the country.
The spokesman for members-elect from Plateau, Mr Timothy Dantong said the state legislature had enjoyed a lot of trainings over the year organised by KAS and NILDS.
He said that overbearing influence and interference of the executive over the parliament could be reduced if granted complete autonomy.