Legislatures are critical institutions in making a democratic system function going by the assumptions that democratic governance is now a preferred system of government in many parts of the world. The most important function of legislators is policy representation which requires the advancement of the interests of their constituents in policy process. In addition, legislators have the responsibility of representing the society through their oversight function. Through the oversight function, legislators see to it that the actions and spending of the executive and other agencies of government are in line with the constitutional allowance. However, there have observations that many policies that appear good on paper have failed to achieve the expected targets after implementation. This calls to question the execution of oversight functions by the legislators. The study examined the dynamics of the Legislators performance of oversight functions in policy implementation process by the executive in Enugu state house of Assembly. The study was qualitative and employed in-depth interview as the method of data collection. Fifteen legislators were interviewed. Narrative interpretative approach was adopted in the analysis of data. The study concluded that interference by leadership of political parties and personal interests of the legislators hindered the performance of oversight function which resulted in failure to effectively implement public policies in Enugu state house of Assembly.

Keywords: Legislature, Policy Implementation, Public Policy, Oversight Functions

Since Nigeria returned to democratic system of government in 1999 years of military dictatorship, the operations of the legislature have been in the spot light for several reasons. Expectedly, the question of the cost of maintaining the two chambers of the National Assembly where there are 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members has often overshadowed other critical issues such as the assessment of the effectiveness of the legislators towards the development of the country. The principle of separation of power is the major ingredient of democracy which guarantees that the executive arm of government does not control the affairs of the legislature nor the judiciary. The doctrine of the separation of powers implies that there should be three separate organs of government with their separate sets of functions and powers. The presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria makes provision for separation of powers, apportioning disparate powers and duties to the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.

Essentially, the legislature as a symbol of true democracy, makes laws which the executive is under obligation to implement. The judiciary is legally called upon in the determination of civil rights and obligations to interpret the laws. This system of government understands from the onset that powers may be abused and therefore introduced a system that guarantees checks and balances amongst the three arms of government. Therefore, through the power of interpretation, the courts can declare laws made by the legislature unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. On the other hand, the legislature has the power of oversight over the execution and administration of laws by the executive. The executive holds the powers of investigation, coercion and implementation of laws and can as well use these powers to call the legislature and judiciary to order (Onyekpere, 2012). In other words, it implies that the three organs of government should be kept apart from each other in the interest of individual liberty and it is a perfect system created for the overall benefit of the citizens. The functions of the government should be differentiated and performed by dierent organs consisting of dierent bodies of persons so that each department be limited to its respective sphere of activity and not be able to encroach upon the independence and jurisdiction of another (Johari, 1989:280). The principal function of the executive is to execute laws, orders, rules, regulations, decrees, prevention of the breaches of law, rendering a host of social welfare services and meting punishment to the delinquents so as to maintain peace and good government. On the other hand, in spite of its primary function of legislating laws, amending or repealing existing laws, the legislature serves a number of overlapping objectives and purposes to improve the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of governmental operations; evaluate programmes and performance; detect and prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, arbitrary and capricious behaviour, or illegal and unconstitutional conduct; protect civil liberties and constitutional rights; inform the general public and ensure that executive policies reflect the public interest; gather information to develop new legislative proposals or to amend existing statutes; ensure administrative compliance with legislative intent; and prevent executive encroachment on legislative authority and prerogatives encapsulates in oversight functions. It also executes the functions of oversight over the actions or inactions and other activities of the executive and its agencies.

In the main, the legislature is an essential constituent of any democratic government and a major factor in its sustenance. In fact, its existence predates modern democracy. For instance, it has been noted that the emergence of the legislature dates back to the twelfth century and a product of medieval European civilization transformed in the age of democracy to suit the needs of contemporary political systems (Loewenberg 1995, p. 736). Boynton (2003, p. 279) notes that...constitutions incorporate national legislature to replace extant governing institutions throughout the world and that the influence of legislature continues to be on the rise in twenty-first century. Similarly, Yaqub (2004) contends that the “popularity of the legislature cannot be divorced from the wave of democratic growth across the continents. And that if democracy is a system anchored on the informed and active participation of the people, the legislature is a vehicle for equal and wider representation”.

In liberal political theory, the state exists to promote the welfare of its citizens and protect their lives and property. It is only in doing these things that it earns the loyalty of its citizens, and exact compliance without recourse to force. Therefore, at a time of dwindling natural resources and unwanted population growth in the 21st Century, the responsibilities of a state or government in modern time have grown so enormous that it has to embark on conscious planning, decisions and policies for either short or long term period in order to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry. Hence, Government has the responsibility of mobilizing human and natural resources of the State and determines who gets what, how and when. This explains why government today, is saddled with the tasks of planning, policy making, budgeting and their implementations. Public policy therefore, emanates undoubtedly from the responsibilities of the State to nurture and protect the aspirations and needs of citizens. The arms of government involved in planning, policy making and budgetary processes are the executive and legislature in the democratic setting. Legislatures are critical institutions in making a democratic system function. In Nigeria, however, the role of legislative institutions in the policymaking process is marginal at best; legislators are inexperienced and unaccustomed to their roles and responsibilities; and the power and authority of the legislature vis-`a-vis the other branches of government, particularly the executive, are often weak or not clearly defined. This paper attempts to evaluate the main factors that affect the role of Nigerian legislatures in the policy-making process. The first step is to identify what is the contribution of the legislature to the overall policy-making process. The goal is to establish a set of criteria that will enable us to assess the extent to which a particular legislature fulfills the prescribed roles or not. The purpose is to move away from characterizations such as the legislature is a “strong” or “important” player and to propose a clear “metric” to evaluate whether a legislature is an active player or just a marginal one in the policymaking process. In other words, once we characterize what a particular legislative body may be able to do, and once we establish empirically what it is actually doing, we can then make a judgment call on how active such legislature is in a given country/period with respect to its specified role. Once we have surveyed the extent to which different legislatures play more or less actively some of their roles, the task is to identify the manner in which they exercise those roles. For example, some legislatures may be able to produce their own legislative proposals and thus challenge the executive branch, while some other legislatures may not. Alternatively, policy initiatives may be drafted by political parties and then presented to the party’s legislative contingent for their approval. In this case, we should examine the interaction between parties and legislatures. Notice also that a legislature can be very active either by blocking everything the executive branch proposes, or by reformulating and/or amending those initiatives.

Hence, Government has the responsibility of mobilising human and natural resources of the State and determines who gets what, how and when. This explains why government today, is saddled with the tasks of planning, policy making, budgeting and their implementations. Public policy therefore, emanates undoubtedly from the responsibilities of the State to nurture and protect the aspirations and needs of citizens. On this background the researcher wants to investigate the role of the legislature in policy making process.

The objectives of the study are;
1. To ascertain the role of the legislature in policy making process.

2. To find out how effective is the policy of legislature to the citizens of Nigeria.

3. To find out the oversight functions of the legislature in Enugu State House Of Assembly.

This study will give a clear insight on the role of the legislature in policy making process. The study will be beneficial to any students, Nigeria government and the general public. It will also serve as a reference to other researchers that will embark on this topic

The scope of the study covers the role of the legislature in policy making process. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.

For more Public Law Projects Click here
Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 50 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search for your topic here

See full list of Project Topics under your Department Here!

Featured Post


A hypothesis is a description of a pattern in nature or an explanation about some real-world phenomenon that can be tested through observ...

Popular Posts