NASS, NILDS seek functional constituency offices for legislators  

By Peter Usman://

For more responsive representation by lawmakers at both the federal and state levels, the National Assembly and the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, have put machineries in motion for functional constituency offices of lawmakers across the country.

In achieving this, NILDS in collaboration with European Union and Yiaga Africa have started capacity building trainings for legislative aides and interns managing constituency offices of lawmakers across the country.

Speaking at the first of such planned trainings held in Abuja on Tuesday the Chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach, Hon. Bello Kaoje said functional constituency office for any lawmaker is a necessity.

According to him, “representation which is one of the fundamental responsibilities of lawmakers at both the federal and state levels, is more facilitated and enhanced by functional constituency offices for constituents.”

“It is in the light of this that the House Committee on Constituency Outreach under my chairmanship, has gone round the 360 federal constituencies and even 109 Senatorial districts across the country to physically confirm existence of such offices.

“We are delighted with capacity – building trainings, NILDS in collaboration with European Union and YIAGA Africa, have planned for aides of the lawmakers and interns as far as functionality and responsiveness of such offices are concerned,” he said.

In his own remarks, the Director General of NILDS, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman said Constituency office is an essential component of constituency relations and is often the first visible sign of a legislator’s presence among his/her constituents.

He said the importance of constituency office by any legislator for his or her constituents, is captured by relevant provisions  of the 1999 Constitution.

The functionality of the offices he added, is very important as far as responsive representation by legislators are concerned. “The capacity – building trainings that are being put in place for legislative aides and interns are expected to address so many of mis-apprehensions surrounding constituency outreach and turn it into a veritable tool to bring the people closer to government, improve the sense of belonging among constituents and ultimately improve the quality of our democracy,” he said.

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