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“Make laws that will sustain our democracy,” Yiaga Africa urges young lawmakers

Young lawmakers in the National Assembly have been charged to introduce important and quality legislative bills that will impact positively on their constituents, as they were reminded that the political, economic and social growth of a country depends largely on the kind of laws that are in place.

This charge was made during a two-day capacity building workshop for young lawmakers of the 10th Assembly on how to provide quality representation organised by Yiaga Africa and the Young Parliamentarians’ Forum (YPF) of the National Assembly and supported by the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN). 

The training was informed by the realisation that despite the importance of the legislature in achieving development in Nigeria, it is plagued by several challenges such as poor bill presentation and lack of technical capacity, resulting in overall poor representation by the lawmakers.

This is why the training aimed to  build the capacity of these young lawmakers to have a deeper understanding of legislative procedures and also to understand their role as legislators in order to make their time spent in the house more productive.

Participants engaged during a session at the workshop

It also provided a unique opportunity for young legislators to strengthen their expertise in the art of governance and legislation by engaging with subject matter experts, experienced mentors and fellow legislators to exchange ideas, learn from diverse perspectives and collaborate on solutions that will shape the future of the nation. 

Through the training, the legislators were able to better understand their primary and basic responsibilities as legislators which includes lawmaking, representation and oversight. 

In his opening remarks, the Coordinator of the Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement Dr Sam Oguche said the workshop is  designed to take young legislators through the rudiment of lawmaking in order to build their capacity to deliver on their mandate and to equip them with the relevant tools that will aid them to discharge their functions effectively. 

“The major objective of this workshop is to build the capacity of young legislators in the National Assembly who are largely new and improving their capacity in legislative process and procedure,” he said.

Dr Sam Oguche, Coordinator, Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement

He added that the lifeline and the survival of our democracy depend on the kind of laws made by the legislature, stressing that Yiaga Africa is ready to provide support for these young legislators to foster positive engagement with their constituents. He urged them to see this as an interactive session and also for them to come with an open mindset to learn and to engage. 

“We want them as young persons to sponsor quality legislation and respond to the needs and priorities of the people and perform high-quality oversight functions in holding the executive to account. Also, they can engage their constituents constructively in a sustained manner in a way that delivers the dividends of democracy”

Also speaking during the workshop, Honourable Ibrahim Mohammed (Birnin Kebbi/Kalgo/Bunza Federal Constituency – Kebbi State), who is currently the youngest lawmaker in the House of Representatives, urged the young lawmakers to see themselves as the driving force behind the progressive and development of our country. 

Hon Ibrahim Mohammed (in black) taking notes during the workshop.

He also urged them to embrace the  workshop with an open mind and to deploy the skills and insights they gain from it as it will aid them to discharge their duties in the House, as he appreciated the role Yiaga Africa has been playing in building the capacity of young legislators in the National Assembly. 

Highlights of the two-day workshop include technical sessions on floor procedure in the legislative process, bill scrutiny and analysis, accountability and oversight, public and investigative hearings and legislative privileges and code of conduct.

A participant asking a question during the workshop.

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Yiaga Africa is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement.

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