In a significant move to enhance the capabilities of the National Assembly, Speaker Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D., has urged civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donor agencies to join hands in bolstering the institution’s capacity. The call comes as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) engages renowned development expert Prof. Victor Adetula to conduct a needs assessment for the National Assembly.
During a meeting in Abuja on Monday, Speaker Abbas emphasized the importance of the capacity needs assessment, describing it as a crucial process to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the National Assembly. He stated, “This assessment will enable us to improve our legislative processes, oversight mechanisms, and overall effectiveness in representing the interests of the citizens.”
The meeting, organized by the Programmes Coordinating Unit (PCU) under the Office of the Speaker, brought together various development partners, including the UNDP, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), KLEEN Foundation, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), among others.
Represented by the Majority Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Speaker Abbas outlined specific areas where additional support and capacity-building initiatives are required. These include enhancing research capabilities, strengthening the committee system, improving legislative drafting skills, and fostering a culture of collaboration within the House.
The Speaker expressed gratitude to the UNDP for securing the services of Prof. Victor Adetula to conduct the needs assessment and develop a comprehensive parliamentary development program. He urged continued cooperation from development partners, noting their vital role in supporting democratic institutions.
In response, the partners and stakeholders expressed readiness to study the terms of reference and collaborate with the PCU in implementing the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House. They also highlighted the importance of introducing technology, especially Artificial Intelligence, in the operations of the National Assembly. Additionally, there was consensus on the need to build public confidence in the parliament and educate the public on the roles and activities of the National Assembly.
The results of the needs assessment are anticipated to serve as a foundation for targeted interventions and support to strengthen the National Assembly, reflecting the commitment of all parties involved in promoting a more robust legislative institution.
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