The President of the Senate and Chairman, Governing Council of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), Dr. Bukola Saraki has described as a major milestone for the National Assembly, the 2nd Matriculation and Endowment of Fellowship Award to honour persons who have contributed significantly to the growth of the legislature and establishment of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS). Addressing both the Post Graduate students being inaugurated and the Fellows being honored during the ceremony on July 18, 2016 in Abuja, Saraki asserted that the occasion was one which inspires a renewed sense of commitment to excellence in lawmaking and the strengthening of democratic governance in Nigeria.
He charged the Fellows that the responsibility falls on them to continue to contribute to the overall development of the legislature as well as encouraging the Institute in any way possible, as it strives to become a world class parliamentary think tank institution in the same league as the Congressional Research Services in the United States of America. He reiterated that for the legislature to be effective, efficient and successful, it requires a competent capacity building, research and training institution. “it is gratifying to see a number of NILS’ postgraduate programs have been duly accredited by the Nigerian Universities Commission and are unique in the sense that NILS is the only Institution in Nigeria that offers Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Legislative Studies, Parliamentary Administration and Legislative Drafting”, he said.
Sen Saraki tasked the Students for the NILS/UNIBEN Postgraduate Programme to take their studies seriously, noting that “the courses are equal in rigor and quality to what is offered at elite institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Alternate Chairman of NILS Governing Council, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara posited that “although legislators are the essential human resource of a legislature, the work of individual legislators is channeled and enabled by the institutional structures and support that the legislature provides. Key in this regard is the quality and numbers of administrative and expert parliamentary personnel and in view of the complex and challenging responsibilities of legislators, they are supported by aides with varying technical expertise and experience.
He emphasized that the National Assembly requires better equipped and resourced aides with the requisite competences and expertise in order to compare favourably with Parliaments in established democracies”, hence, the need to embrace the Postgraduate Programmes Parliamentary Administration, Legislative Studies and Legislative Drafting as offered by the National Institute for Legislative Studies in affiliation with University of Benin.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday F. Orhunmwense added his voice to urge the students to make judicious use of the unique learning opportunity provided by the affiliating reputable Institutions to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to better perform their core functions for improved legislative support to the Legislature.
The Director General of the Institute, Dr. Ladi Hamalai, while congratulating the distinguished Personalities who were honoured at the endowment of fellowship ceremony, solicited for deeper support on their part in realizing the vision and surpassing the target mission of the National Institute for Legislative Studies.
Recipients of the Award of Fellowship of the Institute include the former Senate President, Sen. David Mark, GCON, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, CFR, Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, Former Deputy Speaker,House of Representatives, on Emeka Ihedioha, CON and Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011, Senator Usman Nafada, CON.