- A handbook for Nigerian legislators to assist them in delivering the dividends of democracy will soon be launched
- The initiative is championed by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies and Yiaga Africa
- The manual which is the first of its kind in Nigeria is expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in the country's nascent democracy
FCT, Abuja - The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, has partnered with Yiaga Africa to produce a constituency relations manual for Nigerian lawmakers.
While NILDS is a Nigerian institute with the goal of promoting democracy and best practice legislative activities within Nigeria, Yiaga Africa is a non-profit civic hub of change-makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights, and civic engagement.
On Thursday, August 26 in Abuja, both organisations hosted key stakeholders at a validation meeting attended by a Legit.ng reporter regarding the manual.
Enhancing the legislative effectiveness of lawmakers
Delivering his remark at the meeting, the director-general of NILDS, Professor Abubakar Sulaimon, lauded Yiaga Africa for its approach towards providing the manual, adding that it that would improve the quality of lawmakers' relations with their constituents in Nigeria.
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He said the manual is in line with the mandate of NILDS in producing a set of guidelines to regulate the practice of constituency relations in Nigeria.
“We are proud of this milestone as well as the partnership we are doing over the years. This is in line with our mandate contained in the 2011 establishment Act which empowers the institute to provide an interface between democratic institutions and Civil Society Organisations.
“We recognize that Civil Society Organisations provide an alternative channel to engage constructively with the government to ensure that adequate services are provided and eminent based policies are adopted.
“It is in line with this mandate that the institute collaborating with Yiaga to produce a set of guidelines to regulate the practice of constituency relations in Nigeria.
“As you are all aware the legislature faces challenges of fulfilling their core and at times confederate responsibility with government and society. They are expected to provide the voice for the people and represent their constituent interest and views.”
Yiaga Africa hammers on representation of lawmakers
On her part, director of programs, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, the organisation is keen on supporting the work of the legislative arm of government especially as it relates to their engagement with their constituents at all levels.
“If we have a functional legislature we can boldly say our democracy is working because that is where lawmaking is done, that is where the representation of the people is done at its purest form and that is where oversight of the executive is conducted, so that arm of government is vital in a democracy.
“The manual serves as a guide for lawmakers to engage their constituents effectively, to bridge that gap between the government and the people. But beyond just bridging the gap, to begin that process of social reorientation and education on the role of the legislative arm of government.”
There were also remarks by the Clerk of the National Assembly; Ojo Olatunde Amos who was represented by Hajia Aisha Kotoko and the Deputy Senate President; Ovie Omo-Agege who was represented by Barrister Mabel O. Demoku.
There were also goodwill messages from NILDS partners - UN Women and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
At the meeting, participants had deliberated on an overview of the manual and gave their feedback on how to make the publication a near-perfect handbook for legislators.
Recall that earlier this month, Yiaga Africa released its first report on the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise.
The organisation assigned observers to various pre-assigned local government areas registration centres.
The observers documented critical incidents witnessed and send in reports of the critical incidents observed.
Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa, on Thursday, July 15 hosted key stakeholders and youth groups ahead of the National Assembly public hearing on the Youth Development Commission Bill.
The policy dialogue, think tank meeting attended by a Legit.ng reporter in Abuja was aimed at bringing all stakeholders under one roof to analyse and review the bill.
Yiaga Africa team has been hosting conversations on the bill urging stakeholders to contribute their quota to ensure that the Youth Development Commission Bill is a near-perfect document.