Skip to content
Home » Structure and Composition of the National Assembly

Structure and Composition of the National Assembly

Structure and Composition of the National Assembly

The National Assembly is the highest law making body, legislature or parliament in Nigeria. It is a bicameral parliament, it is a parliament made up of two legislative houses or chambers that is, the senate otherwise known as the upper house and the house of representative otherwise known as the lower house. Section 47[1] establishes the National Assembly for the Federation, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Read also: Legislative Powers in the 1999 Constitution

The Senate

The Senate is the highest legislative body in Nigeria .The Senate has 109 members each state of the federation is divided into three senatorial districts. A senator represents each senatorial district. Therefore, each state has 3 Senators in the National Assembly, whilst one Senator represents the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Representation of States in the Senate is based on the principle of equality of the states. Thus, each of the 36 states has 3 senators each representing it in the Senate.

These Senators are elected by popular vote and usually stay in office for 4 years in respect of representation in the senate. The constitution provides that there shall be three senators from each state and one from the federal territory (Abuja).

Read also: How to Apply for Student Visa in France

The Constitution provides for the requirement for the qualification of a candidate into the Senate. Now, Section 65 (1) (a) & (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution provides – (1) Subject to the provisions of Section 66 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified for election as a member of- (a) The Senate, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years, (2) A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if: (a) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and (b) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.[2]

Section 66 of the 1999 Constitution provides that:

No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if: (a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country; (b) under any law in force in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind; (c) he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or any other offence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court; the date of an election to a legislative house, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct; (e) he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of Nigeria; (f) he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment 30 days before the date of election; (g) he is a member of a secret society; (h) he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Law or any other law by the Federal or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Governments respectively; or. (i) he has presented a forged certificate to the Independence National Electoral Commission. (2) Where in respect of any person who has been- (a) adjudged to be a lunatic; (b) declared to be of unsound mind; (c) sentenced to death or imprisonment; orĀ  (d) adjudged or declared bankrupt, any appeal against the decision is pending in any court of law in accordance with any law in force in Nigeria, subsection (1) of the section shall not apply during a period beginning from the date when such appeal is lodged and ending on the date when the appeal is finally determined or, as the case may be, the appeal lapses or is abandoned, whichever is earlier. (3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section “appeal” includes any application for an injunction or an order certiorari, mandamus, prohibition or habeas corpus, or any appeal from any such application.

The above provision makes further qualification and requirement for the election of members of the Senate and the House of representative.

The House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the National Assembly. The House of Representatives has 360 members. Each member is selected for a 4 year term in office. Each member is elected to represent one of the 360 federal constituencies into which Nigeria is presently divided.

The constituencies are demarcated in such a way that each has about the same size and the same population. The states with larger population have more representatives than states that have less population. Section 49 of the 1999 constitution provides for the composition of the House of representative.

The House of Representatives shall consist of three hundred and sixty members representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible, provided that no constituency shall fall within more than one state. Section 65 of the 1999 Constitution[3] provides for qualification to be a member of the House of Representatives.

A member of the House of Representatives must not be less than 30years by the date of his or her election. He or she must be a citizen of Nigeria and must have minimum educational qualification of secondary school certificate or its equivalent he must be a member of a political party and is sponsored by the party.

 

[1] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

[2]Saleh v Abah & Ors (2017) LPELR-41914 (SC); Turaki & Anor v Sankara & Ors (2011) LPELR-9203 (CA); Wowo & Anor v Sidi-Ali & Ors (2009) LPELR-5106 (CA)

[3] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended, 2011)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.