The Parliament in Nigeria right from inception had robust and historic developments which dates back to the Colonial and Post-Colonial Independence. However, emphasis would be accorded to the huge Legislative Chronicle of the Fourth Republic Parliament till date.
With the return of democratic rule in 1999, Nigeria has had six consecutive legislatures spanning a period of 24 years. The country operates a Bi-cameral legislature; made up of two Independent Chambers; the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate, referred to as the Red Chamber, comprise of 109 Senators representing three Senatorial Districts of each of the 36 States of the Federation. Membership of the Chamber is based on equal representation. It is led by the Senate President and his Deputy (President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate) as well as eight Principal Officers namely Senate Leader and his Deputy, Minority Leader and his Deputy, Chief Whip and his Deputy as well as Minority Whip and his Deputy.
While the House of Representatives also known as the Green Chamber is made up of 360 Federal Representatives. Each Member represents one Federal Constituency of Nigeria. The number of Constituencies per State varies since population strength is the criterial used to determine the number of each State’s Federal Constituencies.
The Green Chamber is led by the Speaker and assisted by the Deputy Speaker along with eight Principal Officers that include Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip.
The National Assembly is constitutionally vested with several functions. Prominent among them are lawmaking, representation, oversight and a host of others. Most activities of the National Assembly are done through the Committees. The Committees are populated by Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of both Chambers based on professionalism and vast experiences in life. These experiences prepare them to be able to scrutinize Bills, Motions, and other Legislative proposals. The Legislators also intervene in the conduct of public institutions and officials.
Accordingly, the apex Parliament operates the Committee system. Both chambers of the nation’s highest lawmaking body appoint members into its Special and Standing Committees. The committees have the role of studying and researching Bills, Motions and other Legislative proposals referred to it and report its findings to the Whole Chamber.