The Senate on Monday, described the negative perception about it by the public as worrisome. According to the Senate, the image Nigerians paint about the institution is appalling and must be discouraged and jettisoned. Speaking during a validation workshop on the Institutional and Capacity Needs Assessment of the National Assembly, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, said for lawmakers to discharge their legislative business effectively and efficiently, efforts must be geared towards correcting some of the misperceptions about the legislature in Nigeria.
Sabi, who restated that it was imperative for a comprehensive impact assessment of the National Assembly to be done, said: “The issue of input, outcome and impact of the nation’s apex legislative institution is yet to be addressed by any study or Needs Assessment report.” He commended the effort of the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, and other stakeholders for an excellent job, with a robust and comprehensive needs assessment study on the National Assembly. According to him, the study gives the legislature the opportunity to tell their own story to the Nigerian public.
He also charged NILS to tailor key messages from the report to concise policy briefs to address some of the challenges and ensure that information was accurately disseminated to the public as well. Reacting to the notion that the National Assembly was over funded, the senator stressed the need for the expansion of stakeholders’ base in engaging some of the issues being canvassed. “If we think democracy is expensive, then we should imagine the alternative,” he said. He, however, urged that attention be focused on how well and prudent the legislature had used the resources at its disposal, including all the elements and interrelationship that existed among various organs of the National Assembly.