Kwara State House of Assembly Legislative Process
Clerk to the House
The clerk to the House Assembly Who is also the accounting officer of the House ensure that each member declare his/her assets and liabilities as prescribed by the constitution before such a member subscribes to the oaths of Allegiance and oaths of membership. At the opening of each day’s proceedings, the clerk assisted with the staff ensure the distribution to members a paper, known as the order paper, which sets out the business of the day. The clerk vets the votes and proceedings of (summary of what transpired at the sitting of the House at the last sitting) each legislative day and circulates same to Hon. Members .The clerk ensures that all the resolution passed into the law are properly put as passed on vellum paper and forwarded to the Governor for assent .In the case of unavoidable absence of the clerk, his duties are performed by the appointed Deputy clerk.
The Hallowed Chamber is the meeting place for the total membership of Kwara state House of Assembly as distinct from committee Rooms. It is a hall used for legislative purpose .The In-Door Sport Hall of the stadium complex was used as the hallowed chamber during the first legislature in 1979 because the permanent site of the Kwara State House of Assembly was under construction .The second legislature commenced the use of the presence permanent site of the hallowed Chamber located along Asa Dam, Ilorin 1983.
The Assembly chamber has capacity to seat a total of 72 Hon. Member through the State is comprise of 24 constituencies as at now. Apart from members’ seats, there is a separate seat for the presiding officer with clerks-At-The-Table and official reporters directly in the front of the presiding officer. There is another separate seat immediately below that of the presiding officer where the presiding officer seat as chairman when the house is in committee of the whole house. There are two division rooms, a public gallery, press gallery and VIP gallery for important visitors to watch proceedings of the House. The KWHA hallowed chamber wears red colour and it contains a table where the symbol of authority of the parliament i.e. Mace, is place in position. Reports, Budget proposal and relevant document read and or presented on the floor of the House and laid on that Table for the consideration of the House.
The mace is traceable to the 13th and 14th century when it was usually carries by the sergeant-At-Arms and used to protect the king in England and France. Today the mace is used for formal processions as in ceremonial academic functions like convocation and in the Assembly. It is a symbol of sovereign power/authority. It is carried on the shoulder of the sergeant –At-Arms before the speaker enters and leaves the Assembly Hallowed chamber. It is usually placed on a designated Table to bring the legislative day and it remains on that table until the sitting is over. During plenary, it is placed on the higher pedestal of the Table and place on the lower pedestal when the House is in committee of the whole House.
BEING a symbol of authority of a legislative Assembly, any act or disrespect toward the mace is regarded as a breach of the House and contempt committed. Any sitting without the mace is position is null and void and the decision/s is invalid. Hon Member usually bows in front of the speaker and mace during entry into the Hallowed chamber or during movement within the chamber when the House is in plenary to symbolize loyalty, respect, and decorum.
Law-making process in the Kwara State House of Assembly There are various ways by which Draft Bills are Table for the consideration of the House. Most bills are generated by the executive arms of government and are tagged as “Executive Bills’’. Bills can also be generated from any of the members and are refers to as ‘’Members Bills’’. Bills are introduced to the House of Assembly by the governor if it is an executive bill, it would thereafter replace on the official gazette of the House before it is slated for the First Reading. Copies of the Bills are thereafter circulated among members in preparation for the second reading. During the Second Reading members will debates on the general principle of the bill and thereafter resolve whether the bill is worthy of consideration or not.
After this stage, the bill will be reverse to the appropriate house committee or joint committee as the speaker might deem necessary. At the committee stage, public hearing is conducted for public participation and interest in the proposed law. Thereafter the committee will collate all the submission of the general public and report to the Hon. House for consideration at the committees of the whole house. The report on the Bill be considered on its merits and its demerits, clause by clause at the final consideration, the Bill will be slated for the Third Reading and final passage which will thereafter be forwarded to the Governor for assent. In the case of appropriation Bill, the Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the house of Assembly at any time before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the state for the next following financial year. It’s thereafter considered to have been read the First Time.
The House normally entertains petitions that are addressed to it by member of the public but duly presented at plenary by any of the members. If the substance of the petition is weighty enough to be considered in the house, it would then be referred to the appropriate committee of the House for investigation and the Committee will submit its report to the House. The report will be considered by the House and resolutions will be passed on it.
Matter of Urgent Public Importance and Matters of General Public Importance.
Hon. Members may bring to the floor of the House any matter of urgent public importance or of General public importance in their constituencies or any part of the state which could be discussed by the members. It would then be referred to the appropriate committee of the house for investigations and presentation of a report on the matter to guide further deliberations of the House before a resolution is passed. Where the matter doesn’t require any investigation, a resolution may be passed immediately, without reference to committee.
Functions In additions the legislature is empowered by the constitution to carry out oversight functions on government and its institutions. This is one of the legislative functions carried out by the House as a whole or by its committees at programme/ project sites to ensure value for money on projects executed by the executive’s arms of the government. It’s essentially for monitoring and evaluation to ensure that implementation is in line with appropriate law of a given year. It’s a monitoring and evaluation process and it promotes accountability and compliance with legislation. Report of oversight of assignments is presented on the Floor of the House and resolutions passed where applicable.
Public Hearing is conducted by all the House committee for the purpose of obtaining inputs from stake holders on a Bill or matters of general public importance being deliberated upon by the House. It’s a platform for collecting resources material for use of the House committee’s information derived enhance robust contributions during plenary sessions. It’s also makes the stakeholder on the general public to be active participant in the law making process instead of being docile observers and also guarantees enactment of people – friendly laws.
As an elected representative, a member is expected to be close to the people. In line with democratic tenets therefore, an elected member is expected to operate in a constituency office in his area they serve as liaison between the member and people. Through such Constituency office, the member is expected to interface with people in his constituency on regular basis on government programmes and activities and feedback from them on effects of government policies and programmes in actualizing their hopes aspiration and also relieving their frustration.
In addition elected member visit their wards and villages in their constituency to feel the pulse of their people with a view to enriching their contribution in the legislative process. Of equal important in their empowerment programme aimed at alleviating poverty among the people. Through such programmes, tangible items including cash are given to the people to enable them stand on their own and create employment for others.
Annual Legislative Study Tours
Democracy is a process, it is not a destination. Because it is a process, it requires constant learning on the job especially the art and science of law making which has its process and procedures .Legislative capacity building is therefore a sine qua non for effective legislative delivery. Premised on this, the Kwara State House Assembly makes it a top priority to expose its members staff international legislative best participate by exposing them to happenings in order democracies outside Nigeria on annual basis. Through such exposures, members’ performances have been enhanced with its attendant positive effects on the quality of legislation from the House.
Association Parliament in Kwara possesses a high degree of authority which is derive from the country’s constitution and Kwara House of Assembly Standing order. The commonwealth parliamentary Association emerged from Empire Parliamentary Association (EPA) founded in 1911 and metamorphosed to CPA at the EPA conference in London in October 1948. Kwara State and by extension, Nigeria is a member of the CPA. Kwara State has been attending all CPA International and African Region within the limits of available funds. We have enjoyed tremendous benefits, cooperation for belonging to the Association.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary Association of independent countries spread over every continent and ocean. Its two billion people, with account for nearly 30m percent of the world’s population, are found in African, Asia, the Americans, the Caribbean, Europe and the South Pacif. They are on many religions, races, languages and cultures.
The commonwealth promote peace and international co-operation, democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and rule of law, and improvement of lives through economic and social development.
Commonwealth parliamentary Association (CPA) is an international Association whose membership is made up of legislature and parliaments of different sovereign states. The association provides a forum for the member states to exchange ideas and information and to share knowledge and experience through person-to-person contact. There is the CPA (International) comprising of all commonwealth member parliaments with the headquarters in London and the CPA Regional comprising of commonwealth member parliaments of the region. For instance, we have the African region comprising of all African Commonwealth member. The Association meets once in a year and rotates the venue among member states. The main activities of the association revolve around exchanges conference and seminars on various subjects germane to the growth and development of parliamentary democracy.
One of the major channels by which the House conducts is business is through committees. There are six (6) types of committees. They are the Whole House, Special Committee which standing committee and Ad-hoc committee. In addition, there is the conference Committee which is peculiar to Bicameralism and Joint Committee which is constituted as the need arises. Usually the work of special and standing Committees spans through the life of the legislature that constitutes them. Committee reports are taken/presented at plenary. Committees are for specific assignments to enhance day to day operation of the House. In the case of Ad-hoc committees they are set up for specific issues and they stand dissolved after completing the assignment.