The Clerk of the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo, on Thursday expressed sadness that successive members of the legislature have underperformed in the area of effective representation, constituency offices and resources management.
Ojo, who was represented, by one his aides, Hajiya Aisha Kotoko, admitted this during a constituency relations manual validation meeting, organized by a human rights organization, Yiaga Africa, Centre for Legislative Engagement and National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies with support from the European Union.
She said, “As representatives of the electorates, legislators must establish and maintain close links with their constituents in order to effectively perform these responsibilities.
“Therefore, effective representation will also require the legislators to process relevant resources and skills to perform their representative duties so as to be able to articulate the interest of their constituents and continue to enjoy legitimacy.
“Regrettably, since the return of democratic rule in 1999, it will appear that there is a low performance level of the legislators in the area of effective representation. Constituency offices, where they exist, are not properly managed in terms of staffing and other resources.”
The manual was designed to improve the quality of legislative representation in Nigeria, strengthen communication between legislators and constituents and importantly, expose legislators, parliamentary staff and legislative aides to the tools and techniques to structure and organize engagement with constituents and conduct outreach activities.
The Director of Programmes in Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, explained that one key aspect that should be improved on was to support the work of the legislative arm of government, especially as it relates to their engagement with their constituents, the National Assembly, the State Assemblies and even the local councils.