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ArticlesOPINION: Midterm Report and the Legislative Gap it Fills

OPINION: Midterm Report and the Legislative Gap it Fills

The recently released Midterm Bills report cards for the 9th National Assembly chronicles the number of Bills sponsored by legislators in two years. A cursory look at the Bills chart will show a high number of Bills for some lawmakers, for others, not so much.

However more than the number of sponsored Bills, OrderPaper Nigeria also released a Productivity Index that tracks the progression of such Bills through the legislative process till they are eventually passed to become laws.

The Productivity Index reveals dormant and dumped Bills which have stalled even at first reading. It will also reveal some high flyers in terms of Bills sponsorship who are low flyers as regards getting this Bills passed enacted.

The importance of the Midterm Bills report and the following Productivity index cannot be overemphasized in terms of the political literacy it engenders in the polity. OrderPaper Nigeria is the only civic organisation in Nigeria that undertakes this data-driven analysis in the Legislature with a view to deepening good governance conversations between constituents and Legislators.

From the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory including Bills sponsored by the Executive, the OrderPaper Midterm analysis has carefully distilled the number and productivity of legislative Bills sponsored in the first two years of the 9th National Assembly.

The Midterm analysis also captures the input of the beneficiaries of the ‘Not to Young to Run’ beneficiaries, former governors in the Legislature, female lawmakers and  first term members of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The analysis revealed a lot of ‘Zero Bill Lawmakers’ who have not so much as sponsored one Bill in two years. It also exposed Legislators who sponsored Bills and they are dumped at first reading with no further productivity and progression.

Of course this fact laden analysis has not gone down well with certain sections of the second arm of government in view of the accountability measures been heralded by the analysis in the erstwhile dark corridors of the Legislature.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila who by the way leads the representatives from Lagos state with a total of 19 Bills in two years, berated the Midterm analysis and described the reporting of performance of legislators based on bills sponsorship as “uninspired journalism” that “should not be encouraged.”

However Law making is a cardinal responsibility of lawmakers alongside Oversight functions and quality representation of their various constituencies via redressing constituents’ grievances.  This view was further expounded by respected media guru and former presidential spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati who slammed the Speaker for criticizing media reportage of performance appraisals of members of the National Assembly.

The former presidential spokesman stressed that “bill sponsorship and quality of contribution is one of the cardinal ways of measuring the performance of lawmakers as same is being done in other parts of the world”.

The OrderPaper Midterm report fills a lacuna in the democracy and good governance aspirations of the country, allowing stakeholders and even the masses to be ‘in the know’ of the activities of their voted representatives in terms of  law making.

The OrderPaper Midterm analysis should be read by every concerned citizen as it gives a factual inkling to the performance ratio in terms of Bills sponsorship of representatives.

The analysis is further partitioned in respect to the six geo-political zones in the country and can be accessed via the OrderPaper website and across it social media handles.

Chinonso Kenneth Onwurah
Chinonso Kenneth Onwurah
Chinonso Kenneth Onwurah is a Research Writer and Development Scholar in the thematic areas of Gender Equality, Environmental sustainability, Good Governance, Education and Policy Influencing. Chinonso has an MSc in Political Economy and Development Studies.
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