The National Assembly
The highest law-making body of the Federation is the National Assembly. The Nigerian parliament (National Assembly) is a bi-cameral legislature with two (2) equal legislative powers in terms of law making. Protocol wise, we call the Senate the ‘upper’ chamber, and the House of Representatives, the ‘lower’ chamber. Ours is a ‘presidential system’ of democracy as against the ‘parliamentary system’.
The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is established under section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution and comprises a 109-member Senate and a 360-member House of Representatives. The body, modelled after the federal Congress of the United States, is meant to guarantee equal representation of the states irrespective of size in the Senate and proportional representation of population in the House. The National Assembly is located in the federal capital, Abuja. Bills introduced to my parliament must get a concurrent approval from both chambers before the President could sign them into law.
The Senate and the House of Representatives sit separately. The Senate is presided over by the Senate President who is assisted by the Deputy Senate President. Members of the Senate elect them separately. The Senate sits separately. The House of Representatives on the other hand is presided over by the Speaker of the House. He is assisted of the Deputy Speaker. The two Houses hold joint sittings when need arises.
The Senate is the upper chamber of the National Assembly which is the supreme law making body of the land. The Constitution has vested in it, the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation. The Senate is led by the President of Senate, Deputy President of Senate, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Chief Whip, Whips and Committee Chairmen. There are 109 Senators in the Senate. More info on the Senate here…
The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the National Assembly which is the supreme law making body of the land. The House of Representatives is led by the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders, Chief Whips and Committee Chairmen. There are 360 Members in the House of Representation.
The Senate is chaired by the President of the Nigerian Senate, while the House is chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. At any joint session of the Assembly, the President of the Senate presides and in his absence the Speaker of the House presides.
Powers and functions of the National Assembly
The National Assembly has broad oversight functions and is empowered to establish committees of its members to scrutinise bills and the conduct of government officials.
The Senate has the unique power of impeachment of judges and other high officials of the executive including the Federal Auditor-General and the members of the electoral and revenue commissions, the power is subject however to prior request by the President.
The senate also confirms the President’s nomination of senior diplomats, members of the federal cabinet, federal judicial appointments and independent federal commissions.
The House and Senate must agree before any bill is passed as law, which in turn must receive the President’s assent. Should the President delay or refuse assent (veto) the bill, the National Assembly may pass the law by two-thirds of both chambers and overrule the veto and the President’s consent will not be required.