The Nigerian National Assembly is the supreme legislative authority in the land, otherwise known as the Nigerian Parliament.
The Parliament in Nigeria right from inception had robust and historic developments which dates back to the Colonial and Post-Colonial Independence.
Since the commencement of democratic rulership in 1999, Nigeria has had six consecutive legislatures spanning a period of 24 years.
The NASS, as it is often called, is made up of two Independent Chambers — the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate, referred to as the Red or Upper 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, 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.
The House of Representatives, on the other hand, also known as the Green or Lower 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.
Members of the Senate are called ‘Senators’, while members of the House of Representatives are referred to as ‘Honorables’.
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 with experiences that enables them to scrutinize Bills, Motions, and other Legislative proposals. The Legislators also intervene in the conduct of public institutions and officials.
In recent weeks, the NASS has passed several bills to the presidency for approval, which includes: the bill for the government to grant tertiary student loans, a bill to extend the service year of judges till age 70 amongst others.
The current National Assembly, which was sworn-in on June 13, 2023, is the 10th, dominated by the All Progressive Congress.
Its leadership positions — Senate President and Speakership were also heavily contested by its members.
The Office if the Senate Presidency and Speakership are selected by every member of the NASS, however, they are contested by the political party with the highest number of seats in the House. With APC being the party with the highest number of seats in the 10th NASS, the leadership positions were automatically contested by their candidates alone.
The 10th Senate, led by Senator Godswill Akpabio as its President and Barau Jibrin as his Deputy, has 109 seats, and is predominant with 59 members from the APC; 36 members from the Peoples Democratic Party; eight from the Labour Party, and six members from four different political parties.
The 10th House of Representatives, led by Tajudeen Abbas as its Speaker and Benjamin Kalu as his deputy, has 360 seats, consisting of 176 members from APC; 118 members from PDP; 35 members from LP; 19 from the New Nigeria Peoples Party; 10 members from 4 different political parties, with two seats vacant.