The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Ojo Olatunde has called for creation of a curriculum on legislative studies which will be separate from political science in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Olatunde made the call at the 2020 Policy Legislative Internship Programme with the theme” A Model Legislative Assembly”, organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, there is absolute need to continuously induct young Nigerians with the workings of the legislative arm of government, so the curriculum will help to achieve that.
Olatunde, represented by Mr Adesoro Austen, his Special Adviser on Media and Labour enjoined relevant statutory bodies in the country to work towards creating the curriculum.
He also urged media practitioners in the country to brace up indefatigably as genuine partners in progress to advance the course of parliamentary democracy.
“In trying to report the legislature in good fate, this occasion afford the media to clamour for the need for young Nigerians to expose themselves to the rudiments of committee management as it is available.
“Imperatively, activities of the legislature should be reported with professionalism and without bias.
“A case in point is the recent issue of renovation of the National Assembly, which regrettably was blown out of proportion and misconstrued by some Nigerians.
“You will agree with me that the place needed renovation since it was opened for legislative business in 1999 when the new face of democracy commenced,’’ he said.
Mr Benjamin Kalu, Spokesman for the House of Representative appreciated PLAC for investing in youths to enable them learn about legislative workings towards building Nigeria’s democracy.
Kalu said that the survival of any democracy depended on the legislative arm of government, stressing the need to orientate and train youths on the importance of the legislature.
He commended PLAC for selecting 38 youths across the country for a 10-week internship programme at the National Assembly to study its workings.
He urged the interns to utilise the knowledge gained by running for political offices or serve as resource persons to help support the legislature in the future.
Mr Ketil Karlsen, Head of the Delegation, European Union in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that a good legislature would impact positively on lives of millions of people in their day to day dealings.
Karlsen said that there had been excellent bills that reflected the will of the people in Nigeria at the National Assembly.
“Like Barrack Obama once said,` a good piece of legislature is like a good piece of music people will say yeah this works, this makes sense’.
“I have seen several examples of such legislations where you feel yeah this makes sense, this works since I was posted to Nigeria,’’ he said.
Karlsen named some of the bills to include the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill, the Persons with Disabilities bill and the Violence against Persons Prohibition Bill.
He said legislations were about growth and rise of the people adding that “that is the essence of democracy and the very reason the EU is such a staunch supporter of democracy in Nigeria.’’
Mr Clement Nwankwo, PLAC Executive Director, said the aim of the internship was to equip youths with the knowledge of National Assembly.
“Having served as interns, I hope you will be able to speak from an informed perspective about your perception of the National Assembly, the legislation and indeed your experience.“I hope you have gotten that knowledge and I hope you will continue to go for more knowledge to be able to be part of discussions and respond in a way that helps us to be able to advance our democracy.
“So you will able to educate us on how much more we need to learn and what is needed to be done,’’ he said.(NAN)