The scorecard presented by YIAGA AFRICA Centre for Legislative Engagement, Friday, rated the 8th National Assembly best in legislative performance ahead of previous assemblies.
This was contained in a report titled ‘Scorecard of the 8th National Assembly and Lessons for the 9th National Assembly’, which was presented publicly by YIAGA AFRICA in Abuja.
Despite the protracted acrimony between the 8th National Assembly and the Executive arm, the report indicated that it did well in passing 515 bills into law which includes the North East Development Commission, Not Too Young To Run, and others.
Presentation of the report findings was made by former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, while the European Union supported YIAGA AFRICA on its findings.
The report reads in part, “The 8th National Assembly commenced its work amidst political tension, which arose from the manner in which its leadership emerged, contrary to the expectations (and directives?) of the All Progressives Congress, APC, hierarchy, and by extension, the presidency.
“Consequently, the discharge of its constitutionally mandated responsibilities was circumscribed, and relatively marred, by a poor, if not an antagonistic working relationship between the legislature and the executive arms of government.
“This notwithstanding, the 8th National Assembly has received a favorable rating in the discharge of its responsibilities relative to the previous Assemblies, with regards to law-making and oversight functions.
“For example, it has introduced and passed much more bills than the previous national legislatures, notwithstanding that a significant number of the bills have not been signed into law by the President (perhaps a result of the executive-legislative frictions. Similarly, a number of the 8th National Assembly’s key Senate and House) Committees have actively and vigorously conducted oversight functions, with positive and impactful results on governance and good order of the country”
“Interestingly, 95.8 per cent of bills introduced during the 8th Assembly were private members’ bills. The dynamism in Bills sponsorship by legislators can be predicated on years of unbroken democratic governance and accumulation of institutional memory, which tremendously enhanced the law-making capacity of legislators in terms of expertise.
“During the four years of the 8th National Assembly, on average 541 bills were introduced and 129 bills were passed per year. This undoubtedly reflects high performance. Although a bill should, averagely, take less than six months to pass, our data reveals that out of the 515 bills passed in the 8th National Assembly, only 47 (9.1%) were passed within 50 days, while a whopping 271 (52.6%) took over 351 days to pass.”
The report also highlighted some bills passed into law by the 8th National Assembly which include the Minimum Wage Bill; Not Too Young Run Bill; People With Disability Bill; Child Protection Bill; Local Government Autonomy Bill; Electoral Act Reform Bill; Grazing Bill; Public Procurement Bill, Basic Health Care Bill; Bill on Prompt Treatment of Accident Victims; Judicial System Protection Act; Whistle Blower Protection Bill; Petroleum Industry Bill; Nigerian Financial Intelligence Bill; Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act; Abolition of Dichotomy Between HND and Degrees Bill; Agriculture Loan Bill; Nigerian Railway Authority Bill Public Treasury Bill; Police Act Amendment; Digital Rights Bill; Bill Against Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Institutions; Bill on the removal of Age Limit in Employment; Federal Audit Commission Bill; Local Industry Bill; Peace Corps Bill; Bill on Test for HIV Status Before Marriage; and Girl-Child Marriage Bill.
On oversight functions, the report scored the 8th Assembly ‘good’ on performance, “In all, therefore, the performance by the National Assembly Committees in the area of oversight was good. Overall, many of the committees met international benchmarks on requires the number of meetings and oversight activities (visits, hearings, referrals, investigations, etc).
However, the report pointed out that there were challenges of funding, lack of committees’ expertise on technical issues, poor access to information during oversight functions, and others.
Some of the recommendations made in the report include electronic voting on passing bills, adequate funding on oversight functions, advertising constituency projects, and others.Read Full Story