OrderPaperToday – Submitting a memo to the National Assembly on a draft legislation can seem like a big deal and we often get tempted to write it like a Ph.D. thesis.

However, the key thing is to keep it simple and to be able to make your arguments count.

Here are 10 simple rules that you must follow in writing a memo to Nigeria’s National Assembly:

Have a Strategy

Having a strategy increases the chance that your memo would be considered and will influence what happens to the legislation by at least 80%.

In terms of strategy, an important point to note is that it is not the best strategy for your memo to address every single issue in the draft legislation.

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Your memo should be structured

To make sure your memo is easy to read. Try as much as you can to structure it as you would in an essay.

The hint is to use the first paragraph to observe protocols (Address the relevant house leadership and/or the Committee Chairman and introduce yourself/organisation.

You can then proceed to your arguments, using a new paragraph for each clause you want to speak to in the draft legislation(bill).

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Make Concise Arguments

Your argument must be concise. You must be able to show why the provision(s) you are speaking to/against, is/are problematic in a direct way without writing long essays.

The memos are mostly reviewed by the consultant to the committee working with the clerk and they are usually overwhelmed by the number of documents they have to review. 

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You must be specific

Your submission has to speak directly to the content of the draft legislation (The Bill) for which a public hearing is being held.

You have to be specific in mentioning the provision(s) you are speaking to. You must also identify the clause number and sub-clause number as the case may be.

Mention the clause, identify the problem(s) with it, and proceed to make your points about it.

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Reference laws and international instruments to bolster your argument

When you identify a clause you consider problematic, one of the best ways to drive your argument home is to reference already existing laws or International treaties that Nigeria is a party to.

In this regard, always bear in mind that the strongest argument is usually the one supported by the Nigerian Constitution. 

Monday Meme is a special public programme by OrderPaper designed to break down esoteric terminologies, processes, and procedures of the legislature.

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