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This constitution is available in English.
- Nigeria’s National Assembly has undergone a process of institutional development since the 1999 transition to electoral rule.
- The Assembly has created a significant counterweight to the Executive in key areas, including term limits, electoral law and budgetary affairs.
- Legislative oversight has provided an important element of government transparency.
- Legislators provide some representation and services for constituents, though largely on a clientelist basis.
- The Nigerian Assembly is not regulated by strong internal oversight or party discipline, and Members have considerable opportunity for personal gain.
- The relative weakness of parties also allows for considerable legislative independence, since patronage and recruitment systems are unstable.
- Constituents view legislators as distant and self-interested.
- Reform elements within the Assembly are active, but limited and marginal.
- Institutionalization and rent-seeking reflect a central tension in the Nigerian legislature: between the establishment of “rules” and competition for “rents.”
- There are fruitful areas of engagement for donors, including professional development and technical assistance, support for internal oversight mechanisms, and cooperation with civil society organizations.
Books and Chapters
A puzzle underpins this groundbreaking study of legislative development in Africa: Why are variations in the extent of legislative authority and performance across the continent only partially related, if at all, to the overall level of democratization? And if democratization is not the prime determinant of legislative authority, what is? Exploring the constraints that have retarded the development and power of legislatures across Africa—and how members of some legislatures are breaking free of those constraints—the authors shed new light on the impact of the legislative branch on the political process in six emerging African democracies.