Abbas Unveils Policy on Lawmakers’, Staff Capacity Devt

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Abbas Tajudeen yesterday unveiled a policy document on training, retraining and capacity building of members of the 10th House, legislative aides and support staff for better performance.

The document, titled: ‘’Parliamentary Development Programme for 10th House of Representatives, National Assembly, 2023-2027’’, was prepared by the office of the speaker in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to the statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Mr Musa Krishi, the Programmes Coordinating Unit (PCU) in the research and policy division of the office of the speaker spearheaded the process of formulating the document.

The unveiling which was done by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, on behalf of the speaker, had several local and international development and technical partners of the National Assembly.

Abbas, in his address, noted that the document contained the results of the assessment study conducted by the House with the support of the UNDP and other partners.

“This is in line with our legislative agenda, which identifies the strengthening of the internal capacity of the legislature as a critical factor towards achieving all our other legislative objectives.

“ As a result, the document before us today reflects our current capabilities and the urgent requirements needed to elevate the standards of our legislative functions,” he stated.

According to him, the need for continuous capacity strengthening in the legislature is well known, noting that the high turnover rates at the National Assembly posed a significant challenge to maintaining continuity and building on the institutional knowledge crucial for effective governance.

Abbas further added that the UNDP’s capacity and institutional needs assessment study had laid bare the gaps in our current system, stressing that it had highlighted areas where the House needed to strengthen its capabilities to meet the demands of contemporary governance.

“These include, but are not limited to strengthening our law-making functions, enhancing our legislative drafting capabilities, improving our research and analysis functions, bolstering our oversight mechanisms, and advancing our engagement with the citizens we serve.

“In view of these challenges, we must embrace a culture of continuous learning and capacity development. We must invest in human capital development, ensuring that members, staff and legislative aides are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of modern legislative work.

“This involves not only formal training programmes but also fostering an environment that encourages innovation, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of the issues facing Nigeria,” he added.

Chairman, House Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation of the Implementation of the Legislative Agenda, Hon. Patrick Umoh, who spoke through the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Akin Rotimi, noted that the speaker met with partners and shared his vision in this regard with them.

“After three months of engagement with some committees of the House, development partners, members and management of the bureaucracy, we now have a document to provide direction for capacity building in the House. This is what the Honourable Speaker and the leadership of the House is here to present to us this afternoon,” he said.

The Clerk of the House, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, also described the development as “an inter-parliamentary wedding between the House of Reps and the development partners through the PCU”

He also noted that it was an effort kick-started since the inauguration of the 10th Assembly by the speaker with the collaboration of the leadership.

Partners represented at the event included UNDP, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), YIAGA Africa, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Order Paper, BudgIT, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), the European Union and the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), among others.

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