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AN APPRAISAL OF THE OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS OF THE

LEGISLATIVE ARM OF GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA.

PRESENTED BY

Oladipupo Olayemi KAYODE


RESEARCH ANALYST, IBADAN
+2347063796484

MAY, 2019

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CHAPTER ONE
1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for a

presidential system of government based on the principle of separation of

powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislative

powers are vested in the National Assembly comprising a Senate and a House

of Representatives, and the executive powers are vested in the president who

may exercise such powers directly or indirectly through the vice-president,

ministers of his government and other officers in the public service of the

Federation, while judicial powers are vested in the Courts established for the

Federation (Fashagba, 2011). The major distinguishing feature of democracy

which sets it apart from other systems of governance is the presence of a

legislature. It arose from dissatisfaction with monarchy which is a one-man rule

in which the king presumes to be God or answers to God only. The struggle

between the monarch and parliament came to an end in 1869 in England when

the Bill of Rights was passed. It established the powers of the legislature to

make laws and formulate policies. (Fashagba, 2011)

Ebere (2007) claimed that The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria is legally

supreme and binding. It is the grundnorm (fonts et origo) from which all organs

of government derive their powers and authorities14. Section 4 (1) of the

Constitution sets out the powers and functions of the legislature. Some of the

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basic features of the legislature provided by the Constitution are: (i) Bicameral

legislature. That is, the legislative powers vested in the National Assembly are

to be exercised by two bodies made up of Senate and House of Representatives.

The Constitution provides for a single legislative house, that is, unicameral

legislature for the States; Legislative Committees. They undertake most of the

detailed work of legislation. They embark on investigative or fact finding tours,

public hearings among others; exercise of general legislative power through the

passage of bills by both the Senate and House of Representatives, assented to

by the president except where he withholds his assent and the bill is again

passed by two third majority of each House when it becomes law and the

president’s assent is not required exercise of legislative power over money

bills.

That is the appropriation or supplementary appropriation bill including

any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated

Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation.The legislature as the

representative of the people is expected to follow up its legislations to make

sure that they are obeyed and flawless, hence the oversight function which

gives the legislature the needed information to amend or strengthen or even

abolish laws. ((Ebere 2007)

The 1999 constitution of Nigeria generally vests the legislature with the

power to make laws21, although this responsibility is not limited to making

laws simpliciter as a lot of additional responsibility including that of oversight

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which will be revealed in the course of this presentation has been placed upon

the legislature. (Fish and Kroenig 2009)

Legislative oversight of the executive has been a contentious matter since the

earliest days of the United Kingdom (U.K) House of Commons in the late 14th

century. As the Head of States financial needs increase, so was the need to raise

taxation which eventually led to the Parliament in U.K demanding the right to

oversee the activities on which tax payers money was spent.

Alabi (2010) posits that oversight or surveillance of the executive and

the administration is premised on the ground that the legislature enact the laws

that can create administrative agencies and these in turn are assigned functions

and responsibilities by such enabling laws. The legislature may decide to

change statutory or administrative policy because legislators may have learnt of

hardships that have been imposed on the public and if for no other reason, the

legislature’s self-interest demands that it oversees administration to learn

whether the executive and its agencies are complying with legislative intent.24

The oversight functions thus overlaps, shades into and involves the discharge

of the legislative functions and even constituency responsibilities that is, its

representative role. The principle behind legislative oversight is that legislative

function does not cease with the passage of a bill. It is only by monitoring the

implementation process that members of the legislature uncover any defects

and act to correct misinterpretation and maladministration. In this sense, the

concept of oversight exists as an essential corollary to the law making process.

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The necessity for the performance of oversight functions of the

legislature as an essential legislative role in the practice of separation of powers

and as an instrument for building the Nigeria nation is evidently understandable

against the background of the absence of effective checks and limitations on

the exercise of executive powers. Oversight functions not only expose corrupt

practices of the administration but also control the excesses of the executive in

governance and management of the nation’s resources. (Alabi, 2010)

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

In Nigeria, a decade after a political transition to democracy, citizens

continue to face enormous challenges. More than 60% still wallow in poverty,

corruption is endemic, HIV/AIDS is spreading like wildfire, unemployment is

growing, about 70 million are illiterate and life expectancy year is decreasing.

Besides, there are crises of legitimacy, constitutionalism, security, national

question, and dwindling international image. Although, varied reasons have

been adduced for these scenarios, it is assumed that most of these challenges

facing democratic experiment in Africa, particularly in Nigeria have their root

in the weak legislative institutions.

In view of the above, the paper investigated the power and roles of the

legislature in resolving political corruption as one of the challenges facing

democratic governance in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

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The main aim of the study is to carry out an appraisal of the oversight

functions of the legislative arm of government in Nigeria. Other specific

objectives are to:

(a) Examine the oversight functions of the legislative arm of government in

the modern democracy

(b) Highlight the relationship between the legislative arm of government

and democratic governance

(c) Examine how the oversight functions of legislature can helps to reduce

political corruption

(d) Examine the influence of the role of legislature on rule of law in a

democratic settings

(e) Examine the challenges of the legislature

(f) Proffer suggestion for overcoming the challenges

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY-

An appraisal of the oversight functions of the legislative arm of

government in Nigeria is a very importance source of study because of the

following reasons:

It will enable the public administration and Local government students

to have a vast knowledge on the oversight functions of the legislative arm of

government in Nigeria.

The findings of this research work will help to appreciate the level of

much needed effective democratic political system in Nigeria.

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It will serves as a tool to solve political corruption when it gets to the

hand of government agencies and Nigerian leaders holding political offices.

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study will be limited to an appraisal of oversight

functions of the legislative arm of government in Nigeria, using Oyo State

House of Assembly as a case study.

1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between oversight functions of the

legislative arm of government and democratic governance in Nigeria.

Hi: There is significant relationship between oversight functions of the

legislative arm of government and democratic governance in Nigeria.

2. Ho: The oversight functions of the legislative arm of government does not

help to reduce political corruption.

Hi: The oversight functions of the legislative arm of government helps to

reduce political corruption

3. Ho: The oversight functions of legislature does not guarantee rule of law in a

democratic settings

Hi: The oversight functions of legislature guarantee rule of law in a

democratic setting

1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The researcher will encounter problems while conducting the research

work. Some of it is that, the respondents might refuse to grant the researcher all

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the require attention needed to gather enough data for the study due to security

reasons. Other forms of limitations are:

- Time constraint is one of the factors that might hinder the completion of this

research work. The time given for the completion of the project may be very

short, so the researcher will have to make use of the available data.

- Lastly, lack of adequate finance is another issue that may limits how

widespread the data can be collected, as more data would have been necessary

to have a better assessment of respondents.

1.8 DEFINITION OF OPERATIONAL TERMS

Legislature: A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to

pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called

legislation or statutory law.

Economy: An economy consists of the economic systems of a country or other

area; the labor, capital, and land resources; and the manufacturing, production,

trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area.

Insecurity: insecurity refers to the breach of peace and security, whether

historical, religious, ethno-regional, civil, social, economic and political that

have contributed to recurring conflicts, which Nigeria has witnessed over the

years resulting in wanton destruction and loss of lives and property.

Organization: Herbert Sinyou (2017), define as an exchange system in which

inducement are exchange for work. He saw management as a process of

rational decision making that influence the behaviour of member between the

organizations.

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Poverty: Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material

possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the deprivation

of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation,

clothing, shelter, health care and education. Relative poverty is defined

contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people

live

Unemployment: Unemployment (or joblessness) occurs when people are

without work and actively seeking work.

1.9 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF OYO STATE HOUSE OF

ASSEMBLY

The Oyo State House of Assembly has its origin in the old Western

Regional House of Assembly. The foundation stone of the Parliament Buildings

was laid on Tuesday, 1st March, 1955 by sir John Dalzell Rankine, while the

official opening was done by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on the 15th

February, 1956.

The British Parliamentary System of Government was then in practive,

hence the building provided for a bi-cameral Legislature. There was a Chamber

for the House of Chiefs and another for the House of Assembly. Several

historic ceremonies and events have taken place in the buildings: The Building

hosted the Western Nigeria Self-Government Celebrations in 1957, where

H.R.H. the Princess Royal addressed a joint meeting of the Legislature on 20th

November, 1957, as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen. The first

Inaugural Sitting of Western Nigeria Parliament had Eighty-Nine (89)

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Members including the Premier and Cabinet Members. It is also important to

note that a Motion for the Independence of the Nation, Nigeria, was passed by

the Western Nigeria Parliament as moved by Sir Anthony Enahoro. On 8th July,

1960, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife was installed the Governor of

Western Nigeria, as the first African to be elevated to the highest to the highest

office in a British colonial territory.

The British Parliamentry System of Governement continued until 15th

January, 1966 when there was a Military putsch which lasted for about 13

years. On 1st October, 1979, the country was returned to democratic rule,

adopting the American Presidential System of Governement. The States under

the presidential system had a Uni-Cameral Legislature. The Second Assembly

had 125 Honourable Members at its First Sitting. The Principal Officers of the

House then were:

Speaker Hon. Davidson Mokolade Gbolagunte


Deputy Speaker Hon. (Chief) Pekun Adesokan
Majority Leader Hon. J.O. Windapo
Minority Leader Hon. Olatunji Mohammed
Chief Whip Hon. A.A. Kuponiyi

The democratic rule was however, not to last as the Military sacked the

political class on the 31st December, 1983 for alleged economic

mismanagement and political profligacy. Between 1992 and 1993 there were

elected political office holders in the State with a Military Head of States as the

"President". Then the Third Assembly was inaugurated in the State with 32

Honourable Members. The Principal Officers then were:

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Speaker Hon. Akinpelu Onigbinde
Deputy Speaker Hon. Niyi Akintola (resigned the
position)
Hon. Femi Emmanuel
Majority Leader Hon. K.K. Adisa
Minority Leader Hon. C.O. Ogundiya
Chief Whip Hon. M.B. Babalola

Thereafter, the Military took over until 28th May, 1999. On the 29th

May, 1999, the country returned to democratic rule with the three Arms of

Government fully constituted. The Oyo State House of Assembly consisting of

Thirty-Two (32) Honourable Members then consitituted the Legislature. On 1st

June, 1999 the fourth (4th) Assembly was proclaimed with 32 Honourable

Members at the Sitting. The Principal Officers of the House were:

Speaker Hon. Kehinde Olatunji Ayoola (June - Nov. 1999)


Hon. Asimiyu Niran Alarape (Dec. 1999 - May, 2003)
Deputy Speaker Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo
Majority Leader Hon. Taofik Olufemi Adeleke (deceased)
Hon. Bola Olukayode Fawole
Minority Leader Hon. Isiaka Adesina Adeola
Chief Whip Hon. Ojutola Adebayo Kasali Amao
Chairman Parliamentary Council Hon. Emmanuel Olaogun Adelowo
Deputy Majority Leader Hon. Bashiru Akinbolanle Akinteye
Deputy Chief Whip Hon. Isiaka Akinwumi Ajibola

The fifth Assembly was proclaimed on the 4th of June 2003 with 32

Honourable Members. The tenure of the 5th Assembly was marked with

wrangling and political crises. Infact, it was a turbulent period, The

membership of the Assembly got polarized and Principal Officers were

changed at will. The Principal Officers of the 5th Assembly were:

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Speaker Hon. Moroof Olawale Atilola, June 2003 - Jan. 2004 (resigned
the position)
Hon. Makhail Alarape-Azeez, Dec. 2003 - July 2005
Hon. Abraham Adeolu Adeleke, Aug. 2005 - May 2007
Deputy Speaker Hon. Makhail Alarape-Azeez, June 2003 - Dec. 2003
Hon. Abraham Adeolu Adeleke, Dec. 2003 - July 2005
Hon. Olayemi Taiwo
Majority Leader Hon. Isiaka Adesina Adeola (resigned the position)
Hon. Kazeem Abiola Ayilara
Hon. Ayorinde Tahoheed Abiola
Minority Leader Hon. Samuel Modepoola Egunjobi
Chief Whip Hon. Asimiyu Olalekan Ganiyu, June 2003 - Dec. 2003
(resigned the position)
Hon. Ebenezer Olubowale Fasola, Dec. 2003 - July, 2005
Hon. Hon. Mufutau Olatunde Ogunremi, July 2005 - May 2007
Chairman Parliamentary
Hon. Oyewale Akinriade
Council
Deputy Majority Leader Hon. Simeon Adegbola Oyeleke
Deputy Chief Whip Hon. Tunde Adegbenjo

The 6th Assembly was inaugurated on the 4th June, 2007 by the

proclamation of the Executive Governor, Otunba (Dr.) Christopher Adebayo

Alao-Akala. The Principal Officers of the 6th Assembly were:

Speaker Rt. Hon. Speaker, Moroof Olawale


Deputy Speaker Hon. Kazeem Abiola Ayilara, June 2007 - Feb. 2009
Hon. Jelili Adewole Adeleke
Majority Leader Hon. Micheal Aderonju Okunlade, June 2007 - Feb. 2009
Hon. Samuel Ademola Adejumobi, Feb 2009 - June 2010
Hon. Waheed Olaniyi Olaniyan
Minority Leader Hon. David Akinwale Ajekiigbe
Chief Whip Hon. Asimiyu Olalekan Ganiyu
Chairman Parliamentary Hon. M.M. Inakoju, June 2007 - June 2010
Council Hon. Jimoh Oladeji Fadipe
Deputy Majority Leader Hon. Ademola Ajadi Olateju
Deputy Chief Whip Hon. Nafiu Baale Lamide
Permanent Secretary/Clerk Overseer S.O. Adebolu

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The 7th Assembly has scored a first with the emergence of the First

Female Speaker in the history of this Legislature: She is the amiable energetic

and resilient leader, Rt. Hon. (Alhaja) Monsurat Jumoke Sunmonu. The House

under her leadership with other functionaries has made remarkable progress in

the following ways:

The 1st Member's Bill in this dispensation on Oyo State Security Trust

Fund has been passed, thereby giving legal muscle to the pro-active and

visionary establishment of a State joint Security Outfit "Operation Burst"

designed and programmed to meet the increasing security challenges in the

State by the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Administration. Other Executive Bills

have been passed or in the process. Some other salient achievements include

the thorough job done on prevention of maternal mortality in Oyo State in the

belief that "mothers do not have to die while giving birth to life". Public

hearing are also being held, thereby involving the user public in the act of

lawmaking, aggregating their inputs into bills to arrive at optimal impact. The

Assembly has also given legal backing to establishment of additional

Ministries; all geared towards realization of the transformation agenda of the

Abiola Ajimobi Administration.

The 7th Assembly is also pursuing the welfare of the people through the

various oversight and representational activities of House Standing Committees

in line with the motto, truly "advancing people's interest". A major focus of the

Assembly is to ensure the greatest happiness for the greatest number of our

people: Members therefore, have been rising to various challenges from their

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Constituencies, acting as true avatars for the hopes and aspiration of their

people.

CHAPTER TWO
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 CONCEPTUAL DISCOURSE

According to Ndoma-Egba (2012), legislative oversight refers to the

power of the legislature to review, monitor and supervise government agencies,

programmes, activities and policy implementation strategies of the executive

arm of government. This is to ensure that the arm sustains the principles of

good governance, remains responsive, transparent and accountable to the

electorates. The committee structure of the National Assembly (House of

Representatives and Senate) is being used to execute oversight functions

through supervision, watchfulness, or curtail excesses, review of executive

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actions and activities. Oversight functions ensure that activities of the executive

arm of government and its agencies are kept under constant surveillance and

scrutiny by the legislature. A leading role for the legislature has always been

adjudged an essential defense against executive tyranny. The legislature

monitors, raises queries and (where necessary) censors executive activities,

activities of government agencies (such as ministries, departments, parastatals,

etc.) to ensure good governance and accountability (Onuoha, 2009).

John Locke (quoted in Claude (2010) noted that it may be too great a

temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power for the same persons who

have the power of making laws to have also in their hands the power to execute

them, whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience to the laws they

make. When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same

person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty because

apprehension may arise, lest the same monarch or Senate should enact

tyrannical laws, and execute them in a tyrannical manner (Claude 2010).

Ejikeme (2014) observed that the legislative and representative roles of

assemblies have declined in significance, greater emphasis has been placed on

the ability of assemblies to constrain or check executive power. Assemblies

have increasingly become scrutinizing bodies, the principal role of which is to

deliver responsible or accountable government. He noted that assemblies are

not always effective in calling executives to account. For example, in the

National People’s Congress in China, control by a monopolistic party, party

loyalty has turned the assembly into a mere propaganda weapon, with

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government policy nearly always being approved by unanimous votes. This

means that party discipline also constrains parliamentary scrutiny of the

executive. (Ezeani, 2010)

In essence, the principal function of the assembly in this context is to

uphold and support government actions and activities as majority of the

members of parliament belong to the governing party. The ruling political party

ideology and interest override national interest to retain, sustain and

consolidate political power.(Ezeani, 2010)

Onwe, Ibeogu, and Joseph (2015) argued that the legislative oversight,

a critical aspect of the functions of the legislature other than law making, have

been severally compromised and often misused to serve personal interest.

These lapses have given rise to query why the legislative oversight, a robust

mechanism institutionalized to checkmate the excesses of the executive arm of

government and its agencies to curb waste in governance, corruption,

absolutism in the exercise of political power, has been compromised. The end

of absolute executive power is affirmed by giving to the legislature, and to it

alone, the right or power to make laws. In this context, arbitrary government is

replaced by a formal procedure for law making (Onwe, Ibeogu, and Joseph

(2015) .

Therefore, if the painstaking process for passing bills into law is

eloquent signal to demonstrate the degree of importance attached to

government by rules rather than individual arbitrariness, why do law makers

compromise the very ingredient for checks and balances in governance? Thus

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the criticism as to the relevance of legislative oversight in democracy. (Vibeke

2015)

2.1.2 The Legislative Oversight Functions in Nigeria

Philips & Jackson, (2008) claimed that The constituent representative

nature of the legislature under a presidential system as a check and counter

balance to the executive constitutes a veritable mechanism for the limitation

and accountability of executive powers, although this is often not well

appreciated36. Democracy as a form of governance emphasizes the logic and

rationality of dialogue, debate, choice and consensus in the pursuit of the

fulfillment of the needs of the citizenry and the primary functions of meeting

the needs of the public. Legislative oversight is an important legislative duty in

the promotion of public interest37 by developing and sustaining democratic

values, promoting equality and human development which are theories of

nation building.(Vibeke, 2015)

Vibeke, (2015) posits that oversight functions of the legislature is a

very important instrument for nation building in that it assures that the nation’s

resources in addition to state revenue and expenditure are properly considered

and fiscally sound, that government programmes address the people’s relevant

needs and are executed in a timely and proper manner. Through an effective

exercise of oversight functions, the legislature can exercise adequate checks

and balances, transparency and political legitimacy and better enforce financial

regulations and policies and ensure wide participation, ownership and

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sustainable democracy. The legislature can create a responsible and

accountable environment that facilitates the achievement of development goals.

Oversight functions consist essentially among others the examination of

the activities of government agency or department in its entirety to ascertain

whether it has achieved the goals set for it. That is, the examination of the

effectiveness, efficiency and adequacy of the administration of the department

or agency. It also seeks to study the process within such an organization to

ascertain whether due process of the law has been followed. (Claude 2010)

In Nigeria, the oversight functions which attempts to make the

executive behave and conform to the political order exists. The 1999

Constitution diffuses and entrenches these oversight functions in the legislative

role38 of law making, watch- dog of public finance, investigative functions and

even constituency responsibilities and so on. This constitutional legislative role

which embraces oversight functions will now be examined as follows(Claude

2010):

i. Law Making

The law making powers and procedures of the National Assembly as

contained in sections 4, 58 and 59 of the 1999 Constitution and section 100 for

state Houses of Assembly can be used steadily to control the administration and

its units, especially as executive policies and programmes must have legislative

backing before they are implemented. The consideration of

executive/administrative bills affords legislative committees the chance to

inquire into the work of the agencies. The constitutional and legislative

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procedures employed by the National Assembly and the State Houses of

Assembly which involves several readings, public hearings, legislative

committees and sub-committees, deliberations and publicity, principles of

limitations and checks, enhance transparency and accountability in the exercise

of governmental powers that accords with constitutionalism41 and promotes

nation building. (Ejikeme, 2014)

ii. Watchdog of Public Finance

Ewuim, Nnamani, and Eberinwa, (2014) argued that the management of

public finance is the centre of economic and social development of every

modern society. Public finance and fiscal policies in particular play crucial

roles in government intervention to promote development and people’s welfare

as well as facilitates, private sector contribution, and development towards

nation building. The role of the legislature as the watchdog over public finance

is part of its oversight functions over the executive in the management of the

capital resources of the Nigerian State in order to ensure good governance,

accountability and probity for a sustainable democracy and strong nation. By

virtue of section 80 and 81 of the Constitution43 it is the National Assembly

that gives authorization to the President for all expenditure from the

Consolidated Revenue Fund, thus affording the representative body an

opportunity to rigorously debate and rationalize the budget. (Ejikeme, 2014)

The National Assembly’s power also extends to auditing of public

accounts by the Auditor General and the conduct of investigations into the

expenditure patterns of the government44. Auditing of account is a recognized

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method of showing prudence in the spending of the funds of government or the

manners in which the funds of the nation has been spent. Section 85 of the

Constitution provides for the appointment of the Auditor-General for the

Federation for the purpose of auditing the public accounts of the Federation and

all offices and Courts of the Federation. The Audit Report is to be submitted to

the National Assembly. For example, on January 10, 2003, the Audit Report,

2001 was submitted to the National Assembly and the revealing information

contained therein about the expenditure pattern of the executive/administration,

demonstrated the usefulness of the Audit Report as an effective instrument for

legislative oversight over the executive’s dealings with public finance.

Although the action of the Auditor General was unacceptable to the

government and his appointment was not renewed or confirmed by the

president who claimed that the Auditor General (Mr. Azie) was functioning in

an acting capacity and failed in his duties. (Akomolede 2012)

iii. Power to Conduct Investigations

Section 88 of the Constitution empowers each House of the National

Assembly to conduct investigations into the affairs of government. This power

covers (a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws;

and (b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority or Government

Department charged, or intended to be charged with the duty or responsibility

for

(i) executing and administering laws enacted by the National Assembly

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(ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by

the National Assembly. In exercising its powers to conduct investigations the

legislature uses investigating Committees like appropriation committee,

standing committees, adhoc committees, Audit committee and various other

committees set up by the legislature to analyze information concerning the

administration of state programmes and implementation of governmental

policies as almost any aspect of governmental policies may come under

legislative examination. The possibility of legislative investigation doubtless

contributes to administrative responsibility and rectitude47, for example the

Committee on Public Accounts in 2001 investigated the Nigerian National

Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the

National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and raised a lot of controversies on

the activities of the administrative bodies.(Jaja, 2012)

Through such intervention, the Senate discovered that some public officials

had kept public funds in undisclosed bank accounts. The works of Senate were

held up as a result of the undisclosed illegal accounts held by ministries,

departments and agencies of the Federal Government in the Central Bank of

Nigeria. The then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and

Communications, Senator Ayogu Eze had after the defense of the 2008

Appropriation Bill by Ministries and heads of parastatals at the National

Assembly, disclosed that several ministries, parastatals and agencies had kept

between 200bn and 300bn in such illegal accounts in the past four years49.

According to the Senate, these accounts had been made up of unspent funds

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from the preceding budgets which were then introduced to the financial system

the following year even though they were not captured in the budget.

Subsequent reports also revealed that this criminal practice had prevented

government projects from being implemented as and when they should have

been. It also enabled the perpetrators to keep public funds in interest - yielding

bank accounts to line their own pockets.

In situations as above, each House of the National Assembly has the

power under Section 67 of the Constitution to summon and question the

minister in charge or whose Ministry has responsibility for the government

agency concerned. This was the case when the then minister of Aviation, Dr

(Mrs) Kema Chikwe and the then Director General of the Bureau for Public

Enterprise (BPE) were summoned to appear before the Committee of the

National Assembly on the Privatization of the Nigerian Airways Limited

(NAL) and the establishment of new national Airlines. The secret deals of the

Ministry were exposed and the plans to purchase the assets of NAL under

shrouded circumstances were scuttled. (Akomolede, 2012)

In year 2007, the House Committees on National Drug Law

Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes

Commission (EFCC) summoned the authorities of the two agencies to tender

their accounts and budgets in the past four years. According to the report of the

Nigerian Tribune,52 the essence of the probe of the two agencies was to ensure

proper accountability as they (the agencies) had been receiving foreign grants

and allocations from the Federal Government. (Khbele, 2013)

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A Committee of the House of Representatives on an inspection visit to

Kwara State in November 2006, ordered the Federal Ministry of Works to carry

out work on erosion in four local government areas of the State. On

January 23, 2008, the House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing

its committee on Marine Transport to conduct a thorough investigation into the

degree of underutilization of the facilities at Koko Port in Sapele. (Khbele,

2013)

The most notorious exercise of the investigative powers of the National

Assembly was the investigation into the Petroleum Trust Development Fund

(PTDF) Saga. The Senate Review Committee Reports on the PTDF concluded

that both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar

were guilty of breaching the laws setting up the fund and misapplying its ample

funds. It therefore recommended that the duo be disciplined by the Code of

Conduct Tribunal for breach of trust and abuse of office. Although attempts by

the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute them was held to be

constitutionally impossible due to the immunity clause in section 308 of the

Constitution that protects both persons from criminal prosecution or civil

proceedings while in office The foregoing indicates that from 1999 till date, the

legislature at the Federal level demonstrated the importance of oversight

functions of the legislature in not only exposing corrupt practices of the

administration but in controlling the excesses of the executive in governance

and the management of the nations resources. The exercise of this power

however must be to the extent prescribed by the Constitution. (Khbele, 2013)

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iv. Approval of Executive Appointees

In addition to the oversight functions of the legislature enumerated

above, the Senate is also empowered by the Constitution to screen certain

appointees of the president such as judges, ministers, ambassadors,58 chairmen

and members of certain executive bodies listed in section 153 of the

Constitution for confirmation as provided by section 154. A State House of

Assembly has similar confirmatory role in certain appointments made by the

State Governor.

v. Power of Removal of Chief Executive

The legislature is empowered to remove the President, Vice President,

Governor or Deputy Governor through the process of impeachment60. The

provisions for the removal provided by 1999 Constitution for gross misconduct

are arguably meant to be used sparingly by the National Assembly or State

House of Assembly. The flagrant use of impeachment powers by the State

legislatures to settle Political scores against the Chief Executive of the State,

has been severally subjected to judicial review by the courts. The Supreme

Court in Adeleke & Ors V. Oyo State House of Assembly, took Nigerian

practice of constitutionalism to a new height by declaring the exercise of the

impeachment powers in breach of the Constitution null and void, consequently

resulting in the restoration to office of a Governor who were purportedly

impeached by the legislature, may have chilled the inclination of the legislature

to resort to their impeachment powers to score political points. (Ejikeme, 2014)

24
What is important however is that the legislature in the proper exercise

of this power can remove from office, a Chief Executive who has been

conducting the affairs of State in an oppressive manner. It is a good means of

curbing the excesses of the executives in Nigeria if exercised in compliance

with the provisions of the Constitution. (Ejikeme, 2014)

2.1.3 Barriers to Oversight Functions

Inspite of the important role that oversight functions play in nation

building, there are various factors that contribute to diminish the legislature’s

capacity to engage in steady and resourceful oversight of the executive. They

include;

i. Lack of Democratic Culture

The presence of amateur legislators in great number and the shortage of

staff aides due to the lack of continuity in legislative membership accounts for

the lapses of the legislature in the discharge of its functions63. The vast

majority of new democracies lack a democratic culture, dialogue, tolerance and

respect for each others opinion. These are relatively new concepts. This

constitutes a serious handicap for the development of parliamentary democracy

which is founded on the virtues of robust debate and compromise on major

issues of national interest. (Ewuim N.C, Nnamani,and Eberinwa, 2014)

ii. Constitutional History

Nigeria’s constitutional history has shown that the representative

legislature is usually abolished by successful military coupists, whenever they

subsequently establish their military regime whlist the executive and

25
administrative structure of the military government gets more expanded in the

absence of any legislative body to oversight and check the exercise of the

powers of the military administrations.

In Nigeria, these past military leaders dominate the political parties

during transition to democracies after periods of military rule. For example,

former President Obasanjo who was also former military head of state was

rightly accused of overbearing posture in the style of the military and could

scarcely suffer the intrigues and politicking that goes with democratic

practices.64

iii. Personal Ambition, Interest and Agenda of Legislators.

The leadership of the National Assembly or State Houses of Assembly

often demonstrate propensity for confrontation with the executive without

reflecting on the negative impact on the national or public interest.

iv. Corruption

The National Assembly in Nigeria was plagued with allegations of

corruption and the resultant compromise of their independence in the past. For

example, members were bribed during the threatened impeachment of former

President Obasanjo in order to dissuade them from supporting the

impeachment. The executive was also alleged to have given money to

legislators to compromise their integrity in the discharge of their functions.65

v. Adverse Legislative Environment

26
The large number of legislators in the House of Representatives or the

state Houses of Assembly tend to induce the members into compromising

stands in order to be noticed or to get the projects for their constituency noticed

by the executives. (Hout, 2006)

vi. Undermining Legislative Oversight Functions by the Executive.

Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the then Senate President has argued that

the National Assembly’s attempts at fulfilling its constitutional roles including

the oversight functions were undermined by the executive on several occasions.

Other barriers to effective exercise of oversight functions especially in Nigeria

can be summarized as follows; the politically charged environment of

conflicting interests, antagonism between the majority and opposition parties

often resulting in a stalemate; antagonism between the legislature and the

government with the latter often reluctant to accommodate a robust parliament

that can hold it to account; and lack of adequate information, human and

material resources. (Ejikeme 2014)

2.1.4 Incidents of Legislative Oversight Abuse in Nigeria

The oversight functions of the legislature or its investigative power has

attracted some degree of criticisms against its apparent abuse of this

parliamentary mechanism since the inception of 1999 democratic dispensation.

The National Assembly’s perception of legislative oversight function as a short-

cut to richness is generally worrisome because it negates the principle of good

governance. Any legislative investigation means a sure way of enriching the

legislators involved in the exercise, and it earns them political relevance in the

27
system as they seem to assume quasi-judicial demigods to those public officers

being investigated (Hout, 2006). This is why members of the National

Assembly lobby for juicy committees either in the Senate or in the House of

Representatives. Legislators often apply ungodly strategies or undue influence

on the leadership of the National Assembly to obtain the chairmanship ticket of

one juicy committee or the other, and as well be appointed as members to many

other legislative committees. As soon as they secure the chairmanship of these

committees, the next item on their political agenda is oversight functions,

which results in the preliminary investigation trips to parastatals and

government departments under their supervision, and subsequent public sittings

(a parliamentary simulation exercise for public entertainment). Most often, the

orchestrated committees abandon the substance at issue to chase the shadow

with a view to humiliating and intimidating their prey to bow to pressure and

accept to negotiate for unholy settlement. (Khbele, 2013)

The legislature often enmesh its integrity in inordinate crave for

materialism as against service to humanity. It is unfortunate that majority of

members of parliament have lost their senses of decency and dignity. They are

in the National Assembly to feather their selfish gluttonous nest at the expense

of their constituencies. Some are so kleptomaniac to the extent that legislative

functions are secondary to them and they would prefer not to attend House

sessions that would not involve loot disbursements. This is an act of

misrepresentation of the people, whose mandate the legislature is exercising.

Akomolede and Bosede (2012) espoused this observation thus:

28
The legislature is truly not independent of the executive and therefore,

is often incapacitated from acting as the watchdog of executive activities. Thus,

the inordinate ambition of members and leadership of the legislative houses

often sees them hob-nobbing with the executive such that valuable time for

law-making is lost in the process of lobbying for juicy leadership positions and

committees in the legislative houses. It is common knowledge that a good

number of members of the legislative houses pursue pure selfish interests that

often inhibit them from combating the challenges of lawmaking. Members

pursue contracts from the leadership of the houses and even from the executive

such that they easily compromise when it comes to contributing meaningfully

to debates on the floor of the house. (Ejikeme, 2014)

At times, some members resort to absenteeism from the floor of the

house and do not participate at all in the proceedings. Again, many of the

legislators have ambitions to contest for leadership positions in the house or

membership and chairman of juicy committees. A lot of valuable legislative

time is wasted while pursuing these ambitions. To buttress the inordinate

ambitions and dishonourable activities of some members of the legislature, an

inference may be drawn from this scenario where in a public hearing conducted

by a committee of the House of Representatives during which specific charges

of corruption were preferred by Ms Aruma Oteh, the Director-General of the

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the Chairman of the

House Committee (Mr. Herman Hembe) which raised fundamental questions

about Nigeria’s system of government (Ebere 2007). The report revealed that

29
“as part of its statutory oversight functions, the House [of Representatives]

Committee on Capital Market and Institutions probed the manifest cause of the

near collapse of the capital market” for two years running. (Maduabum, 2008)

Application of intimidatory strategy was adopted to compel and bring

the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission to her knees.

It was alleged that the House Committee Chairman resorted to unguarded

utterances on the accused thus: “you are not fit to regulate the sector”. The

Committee Chairman allegedly accused Ms Oteh of profligacy, asserting that

she had “been spending money as if it was going out of fashion since assuming

office one year ago. You stayed in a hotel for eight months and spent over N30

million. In one day you spent N85,000 on food at the hotel. The other day you

spent N850,000 on food. These are the things we should look at to see how you

will regulate a market that is collapsing (Khbele, 2013).

The Director-General was completely taken aback as she could not put

up a defense immediately. Rather, she questioned the credibility of the

Chairman to preside over the probe, alleging that the Committee Chairman

(Mr. Hembe) collected a cheque to travel to the Dominican Republic to attend a

conference. He did not attend the conference nor did he return the money. She

accused him of undermining his capacity to carry out his duties as Chairman of

House Committee by asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to

contribute N39 million for the public hearing, and demanded N5 million for

himself to avert justice. The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange

Commission (SEC) queried why the Chairman received information from the

30
SEC and passed judgment based on its face value without reference to the

Commission to verify the veracities of the issues raised therein. The

“Honourable” Chairman probably bursted out due to his apparent failure in the

illicit bid for gratifications. (Ewuim Nnamani, and Eberinwa,2014)

Aguda (2012) noted that while bribery and corruption could seriously

undermine any system of government, they are not as fundamental in the

damage they can do to a system of government as the breach of the principle of

separation of powers or as a disregard for fair hearing as illustrated above.

Hence, he made reference to the time-honoured procedure for the conduct of

judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings which has long been well established by

the courts in all the common law countries, including Nigeria. The procedure

requires that any person against whom any allegation is made, or whose

interest may be adversely affected by such allegation, or by any statement

made, must be clearly and fully informed of such allegations or statements in

advance of any trial or investigation involving the accused (Ezeani, 2010).

Therefore, the principles of legal procedure demands thus: before any accused

person is required to make his or her defense or counter any statements

adversely affecting him or his interest, the following requirements must be

complied with. First, the accused must be given the details of all allegations or

statements made against him; then he must be afforded reasonable time and

opportunity to prepare his defense effectively to all the matters at issue; he

must be able to confront and challenge his accuser or accusers at his trial or

during any investigation. These requirements apply in all situations and to all

31
proceedings involving any form of trial or investigation no matter who

conducts the trial or carries out the investigation and for whatever purpose

(Claude, 2010).

Aguda (2012) observed that in carrying out the statutory legislative

oversight function, had the Committee Chairman followed the requisite judicial

requirement to give the accused prior notice of the charges she was going to

face at the trial, he would have found out, as the accused subsequent defense

might have indicated, that she had plausible explanations for the allegations the

House Committee Chairman was making against her. However, the most

important point at issue here is not whether the House Committee Chairman’s

allegations against the SEC Director-General were true or whether the truth lies

on the domain of the accused. The fundamental issues are that the Legislative

Committee breached the principle of separation of powers by conducting

judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and in doing so, seriously violated the

most fundamental rule of fair hearing. For example, The Investigation

Committee purportedly obtained information from the SEC without giving the

Commission or Ms Oteh (the Director-General of the Commission) the

opportunity of knowing in advance the charge or charges she was to meet

during the committee’s investigation or giving her the chance of commenting

on the allegations before using it to arrive at judgment nor told the source or

sources of the allegations preferred against her. It was obviously clear from the

media reports that the House Committee Chairman was both the accuser, the

32
prosecutor and the judge during the probe (Aguda, 2012). The obvious

prejudice emerged as a brave fight to cover illegalities in the entire processes.

A situation where legislators abandon their constitutional functions on

oversight and assume sitting contractors does not only worsen the Nigeria

problems but result in conflict of interest between public interest and private

concern. In cases where ministries, parastatals, agencies and other

organizations that are supposed to be under the ‘supervision’ of the legislature

end up sponsoring the wellbeing of these law-makers and their nuclear

families, prepaying for their oversea trips and other emoluments of the

legislature, oversight functions in such scenario automatically assumes fiddle

roles in aiding and abetting crimes in public offices. The legislative oversight

process in Nigeria signals that the legislature has not lived up to the expectation

of Nigerians in terms of making laws that will guarantee good governance for

the benefit of all and sundry. The legislators have not demonstrated enough

patriotism in support of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy. Majority of the

parliamentary members are driven more by selfish desires of wealth

accumulation than the patriotic desire of leaving enduring legislative legacies

for posterity to print their names in the sand of history (Akomolede and

Bosede, 2012).

The legislature has reduced this all important constitutional

responsibility to mere alarm mechanism being used to blackmail or witch-hunt

political opponents, extortion of money from the parastatals, departments and

ministries under its supervision for selfish or personal aggrandizement. For

33
instance, “Honourable” Farouk Lawan, Chairman, House of Representatives

Ad Hoc Committee on the Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy is alleged to have been

enmeshed in a US$620,000 bribery scandal. It was alleged that in course of

executing the statutory legislative oversight function on the N1.3 trillion fuel

subsidy probe, the “honourable” House Committee Chairman was alleged to

have received US$500,000 bribe from Zenon Oil and Gas Chairman, Mr Femi

Otedola to facilitate the removal of Zenon Oil and Gas company’s name from

the list of oil marketers who bought foreign exchange from the Central Bank of

Nigeria (CBN) without importing petroleum products. (Ejikeme, 2014)

Security operatives report is alleged to have revealed that initially the

accused denied collecting any bribe from the accuser, later he claimed that he

collected the bribe to use it as exhibit against Mr Femi Otedola. The oil

magnate alleged that the House Ad Hoc Committee Chairman demanded US$3

million but collected $500,000 bribe as first installment for the purpose

disclosed above. Subsequently, the “honourable member” was suspended from

the House of Representatives while legislative probe into the matter is still on

course. The Clerk of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Monitoring of Fuel

Subsidy, Mr Boniface Emenalo who was also implicated in the bribery scandal

had as well been suspended from the House. “Honourable” Emenalo allegedly

collected a bribe sum of US$120,000 from Adetola, making the total bribery

sum to $620,000. (Ejikeme, 2014)

These incidents are incredibly terrible, shameful, disgraceful and

egregious legislative oversight outings of the 21st century in a developing

34
country. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu

Waziri Tambuwal, in a swift and subtle reaction to the unfortunate and quite

embarrassing development, reprimanded his fellow parliamentarians (a tactful

caveat) thus: when we elected to pursue the entrenchment of probity,

accountability and transparency in the conduct of government business as a

cardinal legislative agenda, we advised ourselves never to expect that it will be

an easy task. Accordingly, I have had cause to occasionally sound a note of

warning and reminder that our constitutional task is inescapably hazardous

requiring total commitment, diligence, transparency, determination and

sacrifice … we shall not hesitate to sanction anyone who in the course of these

investigations overreached himself or uses the process to intimidate anyone or

engages in corruption. Legislators must continue to adhere to their legislative

agenda and remain not only sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of

Nigerians but also proactive on all matters of urgent national importance

(Onwe, Ibeogu, and Joseph 2015).

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan was reported to have

directed that the police investigation report on the matter be forwarded to the

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further action in

demonstration of the commitment of his administration to get to the root of the

pervasive fraud that has blighted the management of the fuel subsidy scheme.

The bribery allegation was in its entirety a negation of the legislative oversight

function, particularly on its resolve to ensure probity, accountability and

transparency in the conduct of its business. The precarious situation in Nigeria

35
polity has made most Nigerians to lose faith in the supposedly good intentions

of the government.

Jaja (2012) noted that as Nigerians seek an end to the scourge of

corruption in public sector, the expectations are that the legislators would be

more proactive rather than reactionary in the discharge of their oversight

functions. They are expected to do this by detecting and preventing waste,

inefficiency and corruption before they take place. Unfortunately, this has not

been the case as series of public hearings and probes of agencies have been

conducted without official reports on some of these investigations at all levels

of government since the inception of the new political dispensation. The

legislature is a principal arm of government through which governments are

held accountable for their actions and inactions. The public is hapless when

legislators compromise the very ingredient that protects democracy and good

governance.

As Schlesinger and Roger (1975) (quoted in Jaja, 2012) succinctly

corroborated this view thus: The principle behind legislative oversight of the

executive activity is to ensure that public policy is administered in accordance

with the legislation … the legislative function does not cease with the passage

of the bill. It is, therefore, only by monitoring the implementation process that

members of the legislature uncover any defects and act to correct

misappropriation and maladministration. In this sense the concept of oversight

exists as an essential corollary to the law making process.

36
Corrupt legislative oversight has been institutionalized as the

foundation of governance at all levels of government in Nigeria. Institutions’

decay is unprecedented as available meagre resources is siphoned and

opportunities for good governance is derailed and debased. This undermines

accountability and responsible government as due process is subverted and

subsisting laws, rules and regulations are compromised for selfish

aggrandizement. These shortcomings have not only inhibited the effective

performance of the legislature but have served as catalyst for corruption in a

drifting nation. In most cases, the legislature performs ultra vires legislative

oversight functions, wielding investigative powers outside their legislative

jurisdiction, thereby usurping the constitutional functions of the executive and

the judiciary arms of government.(Onwe, Ibeogu, and Joseph 2015)

2.1.5 Ultra Vires Legislative Oversight Functions

Onwe, Ibeogu, and Joseph (2015) argued that the defects in the

legislative oversight functions in Nigeria’s present system of government have

emerged explicitly in the instant executive and legislative conflicts of interests.

Its manifestation raises the question whether the National Assembly [the Senate

or the House of Representatives] have the constitutional power to conduct the

kind of investigation into the Securities and Exchange Commission which the

House of Representatives Committee embarked upon in the manner it exhibited

flagrant abuse of power. Assuming the House has such constitutional

competence in its schedule, did it adhere to the constitutional procedure as laid

37
down? The response is obviously in the negative. Ironically, the legislature

claims and exercises such unbridled powers. For example, in 2007 the Senate

President was alleged to have informed the upper house that “it is our

responsibility to review the circumstances of the recent list of indicted persons

by the EFCC to ensure that the power exercised by the Agency was not

contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act. We need to inquire why some

persons whom EFCC had charged to court for corrupt practices were not

disqualified from elective offices while persons [members of the Senate] not

yet charged are now faced with disqualification” (Vibeke, 2015).

The Senate President, with his genuine intention to correct what he

perceived as anomaly, erred in his function because, following the demarcation

in the borders of separation of power, it lies in the functions of the judiciary to

determine whether or not the EFCC has acted outside the law that created it,

definitely not that of the Senate (Aguda, 2012). The legislature has enjoyed

unbridled latitude in its oversight functions and has continually extended its

exercise of this constitutional power into all areas of governance without regard

to functions of other arms of government. For instance, the House [of

Representatives] Committee on Aviation, under the chairmanship of the Deputy

Speaker of the House, allegedly imposed fines on some foreign airlines accused

of charging Nigerian travelers discriminatory air fares. The Committee on

Aviation conducted a public hearing where British Airways, Virgin Atlantic,

Air France, Emirate and eight other foreign airlines were allegedly found

culpable in the payment demand by the House Committee on Aviation that

38
investigated the matter. Apart from the alleged tax evasion, the airlines were

also accused of arbitrary fixing of fares and colluding with dubious aviation

officials to shortchange Nigerian air travelers. The Investigative Committee

was said to have arbitrarily ordered the airlines to refund N230 billion to the

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and mandated the airlines to make

the refund or risk necessary sanction. (Vibeke, 2015)

Besides, the committee directed NCAA to review the British Airways

Service Agreement (BASA) with British Airways. It was insinuated that the

committee was very angry with the foreign airlines and might summon them

for another round of talks in the near future. The House of Representatives here

again usurped the function of the judiciary in its oversight function. The

legislature derives its power under the Constitution “to direct or cause to be

directed” an investigation by the Executive arm of government into the alleged

mismanagement of public funds or any such or other cases. Inasmuch as the

oversight function is apt in governance, on completion of its investigation, the

Committee supposed to have passed on the report with its findings and

recommendations to the parent body [House of Representatives], urging the

House for a judicial panel to be constituted by the executive arm of the

government to conduct full-fledged inquiries on the issues raised therein. It is

the constitutional responsibility of the executive arm of government [not the

legislature] to set up a judicial panel of inquiry into the matter. It is outside the

legislative function and jurisdiction to dispense justice and impose or threaten

to impose penalties. The legislature would have as well passed jail sentence on

39
those indicted or found culpable of the offences, or ordered that the air-crews

be detained in prison custody for further hearing of the case in a future date.

This is not the proper function of a legislative house in a democracy where

obedience of the rule of law is being respected, protected and observed

(Akomolede, 2012).

Until the principle of separation of power is respected and strictly

adhered to, and the doctrine of fair hearing is properly adopted in clear terms in

all sorts of legislative investigations, this area will remain for a long time the

major source of executive and legislative conflict in governance. Any departure

from this legal and constitutional procedure in the act of governance would be

a perversion of justice. Most often, it is observed that such perversion of justice

in our system has been the outcome of the so-called “oversight functions”

being carried out unregulated by the legislative arm of government (Aguda,

2012). In the presidential system of government, the principle of separation of

powers is the most fundamental element, particularly in a true democratic

government. In the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the

legislature is not given the power to execute what the legislators now brand

“oversight functions” which most often involves the execution of the judiciary

and executive functions. Section 88 of the Constitution gives the National

Assembly only the power “to direct or cause to be directed” that such

investigation should be carried out into matters perceived to be anomalous in

nature. (Akomolede, 2012)

40
The various matters enumerated in subsection (1) of section 88 and that

they “are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling” the legislature (a) to

make laws with respect to certain specified matters; and (b) to expose

corruption, inefficiency and waste. The power is required to be exercised “by

resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government

of the Federation. The legislature does not seem to be observing the boundaries

between it and other arms of government in its oversight functions. There is

need for committed coordination and streamlining of government functions to

harness the dividend of democracy and good governance. (Akomolede, 2012)

2.2. EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS

2.2.1 Relationship Between Oversight Functions of the Legislative Arm

of Government and Democratic Governance in Nigeria

As Ewuim, Nnamani, and Eberinwa, (2014) has noted, the legislature is

the distinct mark of a country’s sovereignty, the index of its status as a state and

the source of much of the power exercised by the executive in the

administration of government. The sovereign power of the state is therefore

identified in the organ that has power to make laws by Legislation, and to issue

‘commands’ in the form of Legislation binding on the community.

41
Nwabueze buttresses this argument by pointing out that in our

Constitution, the Legislature is dealt with first before the other organs of

government. Thus Section 4 deals with Legislative powers, Section 5 with

Executive powers and Section 6 with Judicial powers. He however points out

that the constitutional primacy of the Legislature is not contradicted by the fact

that the head of the Legislature is not the first citizen. For the office of

President (or Governor) is distinct from that of Chief Executive. It is not the

Chief Executive who is the first citizen, it is the president or governor as the

case may be; the President, being the Head of State of Nigeria, and by the same

token the Governor being the Head of State of his State. It is the President as

President who is the first citizen of Nigeria, not the Chief Executive.

(Akomolede, 2012)

Ewuim, Nnamani, and Eberinwa, (2014) opined that it is the Governor

as Governor that is the first citizen of the State, not because he is the State’s

Chief Executive. In other words, the President is the first citizen, not by virtue

of being the Chief executive but by being the Head of State. The same thing

applies to the Governor. This is easily appreciated when we consider a system

like the British one in which the office of 1st citizen and Chief Executive are

separated. The Queen is the 1st citizen and the Prime Minister is the Chief

Executive. In Nigeria, the President and the Governors combine both positions

in one person. (Ewuim, Nnamani, and Eberinwa, 2014)

It is because these two offices of President and Governor symbolize

incarnate and embody the State itself that they are protected by immunity from

42
arrest, prosecution or civil suits 42 for, any indignity inflicted on them is an

indignity on the state itself. This long detour from my discussion of the status

of the Legislature is meant to establish the fact that the head of the Legislature,

the first arm of government, is made to take his position behind the President or

the Governor as the case may be, because of the position of the former as Head

of State of Nigeria or Head of a State within Nigeria, not because he is Chief

Executive. The Legislature is, therefore, the number one arm of government in

any democratic state.(Ejikeme 2014)

Ejikeme (2014) claimed that the current low esteem in which the

Legislature, particularly the national legislature, is held, arises, not from lack of

legislative primacy, but from its exhibition of negative values and practices,

grossly against the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. When referring to

democratic governance, whether parliamentary or presidential, the organ of

government that captures the mind most as epitomizing the concept, is the

legislature. For that is the place where the public sees democracy in action, in

the form of debates, and consideration of motions, resolutions and bills. The

closest politician to the voter is the representative of his constituency in the

legislature.

During Military regimes, we still see the judiciary and the executive in

action. It is the Legislature that is really missing; for a Supreme Military

Council or Provisional Ruling Council is no different from the Military

executive. Thus, the most significant phenomenon in a democratic set up is to

43
see the legislature, the assemblies of the people’s representatives in action.

(Ejikeme 2014).

According to John Start Mill, it is the duty of the legislature ‘to watch

and control the government (executive); to throw the light of publicity in its

acts, to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them which anyone

considers questionable. ‘If effectively discharged, the legislature’s critical

function would produce an attitude of responsibility and restraint in the

executive, which would oblige it to reckon with the possible reaction of the

legislature in framing policies and taking decisions.(Ewuim, Nnamani, and

Eberinwa, 2014)

2.2.2 Strengthening the Oversight Functions of the Legislature for


Nation Building

Presently in Nigeria there appears to be evidence of greater legislative

activism but it cannot still be said to emulate best practices as indicated by the

aforementioned challenges. So what is the most essential building blocks to put

in place for efficient exercise of legislative oversight that could build the

nation? (Arowolaju & Omolayo, 2007)

The framework for effective legislative scrutiny (oversight) must take

into account two important issues. First, there must be the establishment of

specific oversight mechanisms to effectively hold the executive to account for

their activities. Second, there is need for a bi-partisan approach in parliament

when overseeing executive activities. This would assist the capacity of the

legislature to fulfill its oversight functions. The oversight mechanism chosen

must seek to address the interplay of the inalienable rights of the governing

44
party to be able and be seen to govern, while at the same time, the members of

opposition parties must be able to ventilate, criticize and put across alternative

positions and policies within the modus operandi of the set mechanisms. There

must be a truly participatory parliament especially for members of opposition

parties in the House aimed at having a minimum commonly accepted standard

for specific oversight mechanisms which would pass the public’s approbation

test. There are several mechanisms that can be adopted but the underlisted are

hereby recommended for efficient legislative oversight; (Arowolaju, &

Omolayo 2007)

i. The System of Committees

Taking into account the different mechanisms available for ensuring

accountability, the system of committees is highly recommended to strengthen

the performance of legislative oversight. In the commonwealth, committees are

used to refer to the formation or constitution of a group of members of

parliament who are specially named to address a specified mandate whose

terms of reference and limit are spelt out. Although the committee system

already exists in Nigeria but they must be given the capacity to function

effectively. They must be given the independent research capacity so as to

obtain quality and timely information to pursue its objectives and enhance

legislative oversight. (Ezeani, 2010)

Ezeani, (2010) argued that a committee is expected to operate

according to the procedure of a particular parliament. Such a committee is

distinct from the Committee of the whole House and any extra parliamentary

45
bodies including party caucuses or inter and intra party formations. Committees

have been noted to be flexible means of accomplishing a wide variety of

different purposes. Committees may be given different powers to meet difficult

circumstances. They may be created ad-hoc to meet a particular requirement or

be re-appointed from session to session or from parliament to parliament to

carry out a more continuous function69. Examples are; Public Accounts

Committee, Budget Committees, Committees on Judiciary, Education, Health

and so on.

The idea that it should be in part through Committees that the House

should play an active part in informed criticism and scrutiny of the aims and

actions of the executives is one which is central to any parliamentary

committee system. What is true is that Committees are part and parcel of the

operational mechanisms devised by parliaments over the years to enable them

discharge their expanding role and increasing functions of oversight with

efficiency and effectiveness70. Parliamentary committees are essential tools to

enforce accountability and members of parliament as representatives of the

people must fight without fear or favour in their committee meetings for a

strong public financial accountability culture necessary to develop capabilities

for legislative oversight. (Ezeani, 2010)

ii. Training of Members of Legislature

Since parliamentarians have different backgrounds, training and

supporting members to ensure that they acquire knowledge on policy

formulation, budgets and budgetary processes should be undertaken by

46
parliament themselves, given the intricacies involved in formulating policies

and debating the budget, such training should be in collaboration with

specialized international organizations such as the World Bank Institute and the

International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Jaja, 2012)

iii. Legislature and the Auditor General

Jaja, (2012) claimed that the relationship between Parliament and

Auditor General should be maintained pursuant to the statues under which they

were created and appointed. In South Africa for example, the relationship was

considered as a partnership based on mutual and reciprocal functions

notwithstanding that the legislature is ‘first among equals’ in this arrangement.

In Canada, and the United Kingdom, the independence of the Auditor General’s

office is secured by it being statutorily independent - it cannot be subject to

direction by the Government or the organization that it audits. In Uganda, the

constitutional provisions for the separation of powers has brought about

forensic audits, giving the audit office a range of powers to obtain information

that allows it to properly discharge its duties including the power of attorney. In

Kenya and Tanzania, the audit office is free to report what they see the need for

and when and how to do this.

The relationship between the legislature and the Auditor General should

be balanced so that their roles and independence remain clearly defined and

separate. The role of the Auditor General is to assist the legislature to ensure

that there is proper use of public resources by auditing government and those

quasi - government institutions which receive public funding. The provision of

47
fair and impartial audit reports and information to parliament through the

Public Accounts Committee and the presence of the Auditor General during its

deliberations on the audited accounts of the public and any other bodies which

received public funding are important measures necessary to assure the

taxpayer that there exists a body to investigate accountability on behalf of

parliament. (Jaja, 2012)

Jaja, (2012) posits that a close working relationship between the

Auditor General and Parliament enhances public confidence that resources are

used with due regard to the efficient and effective running of the economy. To

sustain this confidence and uphold the highest audit standards possible, there

must be sound constitutional arrangements based on the principles of

accountability, good governance and independent public auditing.

iv. Budgetary Cycle and Budgetary Process

On the subject of the budgetary cycle and the budgetary process and

their implications for oversight, a constant point of reference is that budgets

details government’s priorities within the context of fiscal pressures and

economic forecasts. In the commonwealth, budgets underscore interplay

between the Executive and the Legislature in providing the public with (a)

information on the Appropriation Bills, (b) reports on accounting, financial

control and government performance; (c) coherent laws and regulations that

48
govern financial transactions and (d) comprehensive reports on public audit and

legislative scrutiny. (Maduabum, 2008)

Since budgets are accompanied by different or standard requirements

which highlight the executive policy focus, there is need to implore

institutional capability, that is the willingness of parliament, committees and

public auditors to carry out their respective functions by being provided with

sufficient resources, training and access to expertise that they may require in

the budgetary process, timely, accurate, quality and useful information on

budget implementation is critical to help parliament improve the quality and

effectiveness of expenditure. (Hout, 2006)

v. The Legislature, Media and Civil Society

Parliaments should be open to the media and civil society as a

fundamental way of ensuring effective parliamentary oversight. Parliamentary

reports in New Zealand are open to the media and the recommendations of the

Public Accounts Committee in Jamaica have widely been circulated leading to

the successful prosecution of individuals. The public exposure of corruption

and waste allows stakeholders to demand action and explanations on the part of

the Government or executing authority. To engage in this battle, parliament will

need all the allies, that is, the civil society institutions, the media and the

Auditor General. A strong coalition or partnership between these institutions is

an important way to build arguments and skills to counter the tradition of

executive dominance. (Jaja, 2012)

49
In the process of enhancing oversight, parliament will over time build

allies within the executive branch that are also set on improving the allocation

and management of public resources. The beginning of the battle will be rough

but the goal is a central element in democracy and nation building, that is, how

to align the nation’s scarce resources with human development (the real needs

of its citizens). (Jaja, 2012)

3.3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

3.3.1 Structural – Functionalism Approach theory

This study adopted the Structural – Functionalism Approach theory as

propounded by Augustus Comte (1798 – 1857) Herbert Spencer (1820 –1903),

Emile Durkheim (1902 – 1979) and Talcott Parson (1960) who later refined

and reform the theory. The theory which was dominant in sociology views the

society as a system or set of interconnected parts which together form a whole.

However, the theory which witness. A significant drop from the discipline of

sociology, partly because of criticisms against it, was adopted in political and

administrative studies.(Ejikeme, 2014)

Frederick (2004) states, that functions as used by scholars in politics

and administration refers to the contributions of an activity (Legislature) or

patterns of behavior to the maintenance of a given society. For Jaja, (2012),

structural functionalism when related to politics and administration can be

described as a means of explaining basic functions of both political and

administrative structures, and it is a tool of investigation. It tries to explain the

relationship between the parts (structures) on the one hand, and between parts

50
and the whole on the other hand. This relationship is explained in line with the

basic functions of each, which are considered positive contributions that help

maintain the system, or the dysfunction which refers to the negative

contributions that led to the breakdown of the system, or non functional when it

bears neither positive, nor negative impacts to the operation of the entire

political or administrative system. (Lara, 2007)

Therefore, this theory, structural functionalism approach, adopted in

this study is to analyze effective legislation which should give room for good

governance in Nigeria. As it’s methodological foundation, structural

functionalism approach has it that in any political system, there is a set of

functional requirements and operational conditions that must be satisfied if the

structure is to perform creditably well (Peter, 2003). Perhaps, the sub-system

(Legislature) must meet up with certain individual and group needs which are

fundamental, such as efficient, effective and healthy legislation, which leads to

good governance, hence the legislature is seen as the eye of the government

and indispensable in any democratic settings. To that effect, the rules, norms,

attitudes and behavior of individuals are connected with the society and

moreso, the role of the legislature must be explicitly defined and jurisdiction

carefully indicated, if not, it will be difficult to understand whether the

legislature is actually empowered by the law (constitution) to make legislation

or not. The theory also further emphasize the roles of the legislature in

understanding good governance, and conditions under which they can perform

and their functions be fulfilled, and it is only when this is fulfilled that good

51
governance and maintenance of the system (society) is said to be achieved.

(Jaja, 2012)

Therefore, the application of this theory to imperatives of legislative

oversight function in Nigerian democratic system, we opine that the power and

efficiency of the legislature in performing it’s statutory roles creditably depends

largely on the legislature providing visionary leadership, since it services as the

“watch-dog” to the other arms of government, but if it fails to legislate well, the

entire system (government) will be affected. (Maduabum, 2008)

CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter will give detail of the research design to be employed, and
examine the procedure for the selection of the subject through sampling
approaches, the instruments of data collection will be extensively discussed and
end with a brief highlight of techniques available for data processing and
analysis.

3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN

52
Survey research design of descriptive type will be adopted in this study,

which will enable the researcher to carry out an an appraisal of the oversight

functions of the legislative arm of government in Oyo State House of

Assembly.

3.2 STUDY POPULATION


The population of the study is entire Staff members of Oyo state House
of Assembly, Nigeria.

3.3 SAMPLING TECHNIQUES


The sample size that will be used from the population of the study is 70
people from the Oyo state House of Assembly, this will represent the total
population of the industry.
The researcher also will adopt simple random sampling technique in

selecting sample size for the study.

3.4 STATISTICAL TOOL APPLIED IN DATA ANALYSIS


The research study will utilize the descriptive research survey to
generate primary and secondary data for the research topic. The data collected
will be analyzed through the use of simple percentage, tables, descriptive
analysis and Chi-square.
In analyzing the data, the analytical tools to be used are percentage
descriptive analysis and Chi-square. The Chi-square formula is as follows:

Formula: x2 = ∑ (0i - ei)2


ei
Where x2 = Chi-square
0i = Observed data
ei = Expected data

53
The operational assumption of 5% level of significance will be utilized.
The method will be use in chapter four (4), which follows suit to the hypothesis
formulated in chapter one.
Decision rule to be employed is reject the null hypothesis if the
calculated value is greater than the table value and affect the alternative
hypothesis generally.

3.5 RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS


A self designed questionnaire will be used by the researcher in getting

information from the respondents. The questionnaire will be divided in to two

sections, section A and section B. Section A contains demographical data of

respondents while section B contain 15 items questions. The items were

structured in five points format.

A copy of the proposed questionnaire was subsequently given to the

researchers’ supervisor for his observation, comments and subsequent approval

before it will be administered to the respondents.

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND TEST OF HYPOTHESES

4.1 DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

This chapter deals with the presentation and analysis of data collected

during the research work conducted. The effort here is to present the data

collected from the different respondents in a more meaningful ways to the

54
readers. Hence, each response is presented in percentage in relation to the

general or overall responses received in each particular case. This was done to

raise comparison among the variables involved and the guard the heart of the

researcher into proper findings.

4.1.1 Questionnaire Results

Out of the 70 questionnaires sent to the staff of Oyo State House of

Assembly Ibadan, 60 were properly filled but the rest 10 questionnaires were

also received but they were not filled. The statistics reported in this chapter

were all based on the above responses and interviews conducted.

Table 1: Questionnaire Administered and Returned


Number of Questionnaires Number of Responses Percentage of
Distributed Received Responses
70 60 86%
Source: Compiled by the researcher

The table one above shows that 70 questionnaires were distributed

among the sampled staff of Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibadan. However,

the responses receive was 60 respondents representing 86% of the total

questionnaires distributed. The statistics reported in this chapter were all based

on the above responses and interviews conducted.

Table 2: Personal Data of the Respondent on Sex


Variables Numbers of the responses received Percentage
Male 38 63
Female 22 37
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

55
From the above table, 38 respondents which represent 63% of the total

population are male, while 22 respondents which represent 37% of the total

population are female.

It can therefore be deduced that male respondents are more than female

respondents.

Table 3: Age Distribution of the Respondents


Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
21-30yrs 22 37
31-40yrs 26 43
41yrs & above 12 20
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 22 respondents which represent 37% of the total

population were between the age range of 21-30yrs, 26 respondents which

represent 43% of the total population were between 31-40yrs, while the

remaining 12 respondents which represent 20% of the total population were

between the age range of 41yrs & above.

It can therefore be deduced that respondents within the age of 31-40yrs

responded more to the questionnaire compare to others.

Table 4: Marital Status of the Respondents


Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Single 24 40
Married 36 60
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

56
From the above table, 24 respondents which represent 40% of the total

population are single, while 36 respondents which represent 60% of the total

population are married.

It can therefore be deduced that married respondents are more than

single respondents.

Table 5: Educational Background of the Respondents


Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
ND 20 33
HND/BSc 25 42
Professional 15 25
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 20 respondents which represent 33% of the total

population are ND holders, 25 respondents which represent 42% of the total

population were HND/BSc holders, while the remaining 15 respondents which

represent 25% of the total population are also having professional certificates.

It can therefore be deduced that majority of the respondents who filled

the questionnaires are HND/BSc holders.

Table 6: Length of Services


Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
1-4yrs 15 25
5-10yrs 33 55
11 & above 12 20
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 13 respondents which represent 25% of the total

population have serve the organization between 1-4yrs, 33 respondents which

represent 55% of the total population have served the organization between 5-

57
10yrs, while the remaining 12 respondents which represent 20% of the total

population have also serve the organization for more than 10 years.

It can therefore be deduced that majority of the respondents who filled

the questionnaires have served the organization between 5-10yrs.

Table 7: Position Held


Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Junior Staff 36 60
Senior Staff 20 33
Management 4 7
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 36 respondents which represent 60% of the total

population hold a junior position in the office of Oyo State House of Assembly,

Ibadan, 20 respondents which represent 33% of the total population hold senior

staff position, while the remaining 4 respondents which represent 7% of the

total population also hold a position of management.

It can therefore be deduced that majority of the respondents who filled

the questionnaires are staff members who are holding a position of junior staffs.

SECTION B

4.1.2 Data Analysis And Interpretation

Table 8: Question 7: There is significant relationship between Legislature and


democratic governance in Nigeria.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 37 62
Agree 23 38
Undecided - -

58
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 37 respondents which represent 62% of the total

population strongly agreed that there is significant relationship between

legislature and democratic governance in Nigeria, while the remaining 23

respondents which represent 38% of the total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that there is significant relationship between

legislature and democratic governance in Nigeria.

Table 9: Question 8: The roles performed by Oyo State House of Assembly


could facilitate the smooth functioning of the democratic systems.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 35 58
Agree 13 22
Undecided - -
Disagree 12 20
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 35 respondents which represent 58% of the total

population strongly agreed that the roles performed by Oyo State House of

Assembly could facilitate the smooth functioning of the democratic systems. 13

respondents which represent 22% of the total population support the opinion,

while the remaining 12 respondents which represent 20% of the total

population disagreed.

59
It can therefore be deduced that the roles performed by Oyo State House

of Assembly could facilitate the smooth functioning of the democratic systems.

Table 10: Question 9: Oyo State House of Assembly makes democratic system
of government a success with the kind of laws and orders put in place.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 30 50
Agree 30 50
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 30 respondents which represent 50% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly makes

democratic system of government a success with the kind of laws and orders

put in place, while the remaining 30 respondents which represent 50% of the

total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly makes

democratic system of government a success with the kind of laws and orders

put in place.

Table 11: Question 10: Oyo State House of Assembly protect the rights of the
citizens of Oyo state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 20 33
Agree 40 67
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100

60
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 20 respondents which represent 33% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly protect the rights

of the citizens of Oyo state, while the remaining 40 respondents which

represent 67% of the total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly protect

the rights of the citizens of Oyo state.

Table 12: Question 11: Oyo State House of Assembly hold government,
particularly the executive, to account on any irregularities in the state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 20 33
Agree 40 67
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 20 respondents which represent 33% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly hold

government, particularly the executive, to account on any irregularities in the

state. 40 respondents which represent 67% of the total population support the

opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly hold

government, particularly the executive, to account on any irregularities in the

state.

61
Table 13: Question 12: Oyo State House of Assembly control and administer
state budgets.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 45 75
Agree 15 25
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 45 respondents which represent 75% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly control and

administer state budgets, while the remaining 15 respondents which represent

25% of the total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly control

and administer state budgets.

Table 14: Question 13: Oyo State House of Assembly help to promote
accountability, transparency and responsiveness on the part of the executive.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 40 66
Agree 10 17
Undecided 10 17
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 40 respondents which represent 66% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly help to promote

accountability, transparency and responsiveness on the part of the executive. 10

62
respondents which represent 17% of the total population support the opinion,

while the remaining 10 respondents which represent 17% of the total

respondents were undecided.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly help to

promote accountability, transparency and responsiveness on the part of the

executive.

Table 15: Question 14: Oyo State House of Assembly carryout check and
balance on his public actions.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 50 83
Agree 10 17
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 50 respondents which represent 83% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly carryout check

and balance of his public actions, while the remaining 10 respondents which

represent 17% of the total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly carryout

check and balance of his public actions.

Table 16: Question 15: Oyo State House of Assembly help to reduce political
corruption of the state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 37 62
Agree 23 38
Undecided - -

63
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 37 respondents which represent 62% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly help to reduce

political corruption of the state, while the remaining 23 respondents which

represent 38% of the total population support the opinion. It can therefore be

deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly help to reduce political corruption

of the state.

Table 17: Question 16: Oyo State House of Assembly makes laws to guide
against embezzlement and mismanagement of funds in Oyo state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 60 100
Agree - -
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 60 respondents which represent all the

respondents sampled strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly makes

laws to guide against embezzlement and mismanagement of funds in Oyo state.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly makes

laws to guide against embezzlement and mismanagement of funds in Oyo state.

Table 18: Question 17: Oyo State House of Assembly guarantee rule of law in
democratic system of Nigeria.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage

64
Strongly Agree 20 33
Agree 40 67
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, 20 respondents which represent 33% of the total

population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly guarantee rule of

law in democratic system of Nigeria, while the remaining 40 respondents

which represent 67% of the total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly guarantee

rule of law in democratic system of Nigeria.

Table 19: Question 18: Oyo State House of Assembly formulate policies for
proper management of the state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 32 53
Agree 18 30
Undecided - -
Disagree 10 17
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, it can be seen that 32 respondents which represent

53% of the total population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly

formulate policies for proper management of the state. 18 respondents which

represent 30% of the total respondents support the opinion, while the remaining

10(17%) disagreed.

65
It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly formulate

policies for proper management of the state.

Table 20: Question 19: Oyo State House of Assembly carryout investigation on
the executive and judiciary activities in the state.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree - -
Agree 60 100
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, it can be seen that 60 respondents which represent the

total respondents sampled agreed that Oyo State House of Assembly carryout

investigation on the executive and judiciary activities in the state.

It can therefore be deduced that all the respondents support the fact that Oyo

State House of Assembly carryout investigation on the executive and judiciary

activities in the state.

Table 21: Question 20: Oyo State House of Assembly perform representative
or constituency responsibilities role.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 50 63
Agree 10 17
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree - -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

66
From the above table, it can be seen that 50 respondents which represent

that 63% of the total population strongly agreed that Oyo State House of

Assembly perform representative or constituency responsibilities role, while

the remaining 10 respondents which represent 17% support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that Oyo State House of Assembly perform

representative or constituency responsibilities role.

Table 22: Question 21: The role of the watchdog of public funds, derived from
the legislative powers and duties with regard to public finance.
Variables Numbers of the responses Received Percentage
Strongly Agree 40 67
Agree 20 33
Undecided - -
Disagree - -
Strongly Disagree -
Total 60 100
Source: Compiled by the researcher

From the above table, it can be seen that 40 respondents which represent

67% of the total population strongly agreed that the role of the watchdog of

public funds derived from the legislative powers and duties with regard to

public finance, while the remaining 20 respondents which represent 33% of the

total population support the opinion.

It can therefore be deduced that the role of the watchdog of public funds

derived from the legislative powers and duties with regard to public finance.

4.2 TEST OF HYPOTHESES

4.2.1 Testing Of Hypothesis One Using Table 8, Question 7

67
Ho: there is no significant relationship between Legislature and democratic
setting in
Nigeria.
Hi: there is significant relationship between Legislature and democratic setting
in
Nigeria.
Tool employed:
Formula: x2 = ∑ (0i - ei)
ei
Where x2 = Chi-square
0i = Observed data
ei = Expected data = 0i = 60 = 12
5 5
Recall decision Rule:

Reject null hypothesis (H0) if the calculated value is more than the table value,

otherwise accept the alternative hypothesis

Table 23: Construct Chi-square Test


Responses 0i ei 0i – ei (0i – ei)2 (0i – ei)2/ei
Strongly agreed 37 12 25 625 52.08
Agreed 23 12 11 121 10.08
Undecided - 12 -12 144 12
Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Strongly Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Total 60 60 - - 98.16

Calculated Chi-square x2= 98.16

The degree of freedom is calculated as follows

Df = (R-1) (C-1)

(5-1) (2-1) = (4) (1) = 4

Where R = Row, C = Column

Df = 4

68
Df = 4 and 5% level of significance

(0.050) x2 = 9.49

Since 98.16 > 3.841 we reject the null hypothesis and concluded that there is

significant relationship between Legislature and democratic setting in Nigeria.

4.2.2 Testing Of Hypothesis Two Using Table 16, Question 15

Ho: The role of legislature does not help to reduce political corruption.

Hi: The role of legislature help to reduce political corruption

Tool employed:

Formula: x2 = ∑ (0i - ei)


ei
Where x2 = Chi-square
0i = Observed data
ei = Expected data = 0i = 60 = 12
5 5

Recall decision Rule:

Reject null hypothesis (H0) if the calculated value is more than the table value,

otherwise accept the alternative hypothesis

Table 24: Construct Chi-square Test


Responses 0i ei 0i – ei (0i – ei)2 (0i – ei)2/ei
Strongly agreed 37 12 25 625 52.08
Agreed 23 12 11 121 10.08
Undecided - 12 -12 144 12
Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Strongly Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Total 60 60 - - 98.16
Calculated Chi-square x2= 98.16

The degree of freedom is calculated as follows

Df = (R-1) (C-1)

69
(5-1) (2-1) = (4) (1) =4

Where R = Row, C = Column

Df = 4

Df = 4 and 5% level of significance

(0.050) x2 = 9.49

Since 98.16 > 9.49 we reject the null hypothesis and concluded that the role of

legislature help to reduce political corruption.

4.2.3 Testing Of Hypothesis Three Using Table 18, Question 17

Ho: The role of legislature does not guarantee rule of law in democratic system

of

Nigeria.

Hi: The role of legislature guarantee rule of law in democratic system of

Nigeria.

Tool employed:

Formula: x2 = ∑ (0i - ei)


ei

Where x2 = Chi-square

0i = Observed data

ei = Expected data = 0i = 60 = 12
5 5

Recall decision Rule:

Reject null hypothesis (H0) if the calculated value is more than the table value,

otherwise accept the alternative hypothesis

70
Table 11: Construct Chi-square Test
Responses 0i ei 0i – ei (0i – ei)2 (0i – ei)2/ei
Strongly agreed 20 12 8 64 5.33
Agreed 40 12 28 784 65.33
Undecided - 12 -12 144 12
Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Strongly Disagreed - 12 -12 144 12
Total 60 60 - - 106.66

Calculated Chi-square x2= 106.66

The degree of freedom is calculated as follows

Df = (R-1) (C-1)

(5-1) (2-1) = (4) (1) =4

Where R = Row, C = Column

Df = 4

Df = 4 and 5% level of significance

(0.050) x2 = 9.49

Since 106.66 > 9.49 we reject the null hypothesis and concluded that the role of

legislature guarantee rule of law in democratic system of Nigeria.

4.3 LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY

The researcher might be face with some limitations like the respondents

might refuse to grant the researcher all the require attention needed to gather

enough data for the study due to security reasons.

Time constraint: This is one of the factors that might hinder the completion of

this research work. The time given for the completion of the project may be

very short, so the researcher will have to make use of the available data.

71
Lack of adequate finance: This is another issue that may limits how

widespread the data can be collected, as more data would have been necessary

to have a better assessment of respondents.

CHAPTER FIVE

5.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

5.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

72
The empirical results indicate the roles of the legislature in the

democratic governance of Nigeria.

The results of the research hypothesis one revealed that there is

significant relationship between legislature and democratic setting in Nigeria.

With the help of oral interview, some of the respondents claimed that a

powerful legislature is needed to engender a democracy in which people have

some real decision making power over and above the formal consent of

electoral choice. The finding agreed with the findings of the study carried out

by Claude (2010) which pointed out that effective legislatures contribute to

effective governance by performing important functions necessary to sustain

democracy in complex and diverse societies. He further said that democratic

societies need the arena for the airing of societal differences provided by

representative assemblies with vital ties to the populace. They need institutions

that are capable of writing good laws in both the political sense of getting

agreement from participants, and in the technical sense of achieving the

intended purposes.

Findings of the research hypothesis two revealed that the role of

legislature help to reduce political corruption. During the oral interview, it was

revealed that legislatures play three major roles: they express the will of the

people, they pass laws, and they hold government, particularly the executive, to

account. They also control and administer national budgets. The result is

congruent with previous studies carried out by Norman (2010) which

emphasized legislative institutions perform rule making, representational and

73
oversight functions, which have serious implications for national development.

These are fundamental responsibilities are needed to be effectively carried out,

if challenges of democratization are to be addressed effectively. Norman (2010)

also said that, the ultimate objective of the oversight function of the legislature

is to promote accountability, transparency and responsiveness on the part of the

executive and by extension check and balance his public actions.

The research hypothesis three revealed that the role of legislature

guarantee rule of law in democratic system of Nigeria. This result corroborated

with Ibeanu and Egwu (2007) who have concluded that democracy can flourish

in Nigeria and in Africa; if the capacity of legislatures- federal, state and local

could be further strengthened to address critical issues relating to

constitutionalism, corruption, poverty and national question, check the excesses

of the executive, and collaborate with the judiciary to avert the consequences of

“democracy by court order”, as well as empower and work with the civil

society. In Nigeria, stricto sensus, a more pro-active National Assembly that is

ready to set the priorities right as well as resolve its internal crisis

democratically, is critically needed.

5.2 CONCLUSION

The absence of party discipline has opened space for considerable

independence among members of the Assembly, This has been evident in the

impeachment initiatives of 2002 and 2003, as well as resistance to presidential

term extension and support for the assertion of Vice Presidential powers during

President Yar’Adua’s extended illness in 2009-10. Another area of autonomy is

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the formation of a small reform cluster in the Assembly. The good governance”

caucus in the House has drawn around twenty members’ .around key issues and

bills, with larger numbers around particular votes. While this represents a

minority of legislators, the presence of a multi-party reform element focusing

on transparency, fiscal oversight, and responsive governance is a significant

voice in the Assembly.

Contrary to the opinion that national legislatures are declining in terms

of the roles they perform in a democracy, which is prominent in most literature,

it has been demonstrated in the paper that the National Assembly is central to

the resolution of the challenge posed by corruption to Nigeria’s democracy and

development. The National Assembly through its exercise of investigative

powers and establishment of some legal instruments was able to expose some

corrupt practices between 1999 and 2008. It is not surprising that Nigeria is one

of the countries that have the highest proportion of people rating their

government’s anti-corruption efforts as effective80. In fact, the performance of

the legislature of the Fourth Republic in Nigeria gives a glimmer of hope for

sustainable democracy in the country.

Nevertheless, the role of the legislature in tackling corruption as one of

the major challenges of democratic governance was affected in the period of

investigation by the character of the Nigerian state, weak institutional capacity

of the legislature, constitutional deficiencies, and lack of integrity by members

of the legislature who have been indicted one time or the other; undue

executive interference among others. In Nigeria, therefore, the effectiveness of

75
the legislature in the resolution of democratic challenges hinges on the

performance of its functions according to the rules and norms of democracy

and the resolution of its internal crisis.

To be more effective in tackling political corruption as one of the

challenging challenges of democratic governance, the paper supports deep

institutionalization of the legislature as against its de-institutionalization, since

legislative institutions are expected to be governed by laws and not by men.

5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS

1. A vigorous committee system should be active in reviewing legislation

and appointments, as well as sponsoring numerous hearings and inquiries.

Committee investigations will enhance governmental transparency by

exposing significant problems of public expenditure, administrative

probity and even internal leadership.

2. Personal networks and key notables are instrumental in determining

legislative outcomes and the distribution of resources. Nigerian legislators

should express a commitment to developing their constituencies, though

budgetary allotments and the use of constituency funds transparently.

3. Legislators should have a wide scope for rent-seeking and self-serving

behavior, and there should be a great deal of factionalism in the Assembly.

In other areas, however, the lack of strong central control allows

opportunities for reform initiatives and considerable independence from

the executive and the ruling party establishment.

76
4. Politicians should have a sense of the institutional roles of the legislature

in a presidential, federal democracy, and a significant proportion of

representatives have sought to shape the activities of Nigerian National

Assembly toward those objectives.

5. The President should respect the Assembly’s authority in law-making and

other roles. At the same time, relatively few Nigerians should be allow to

interact directly with their representatives, because many view legislators

as distant and self-interested. And new electoral reforms may help to

improve the credibility of |elections, the misconduct evident during

election

6. Professional seminars should be organized for legislatures in areas of the

economic policy, health, education, and foreign affairs can also be useful

areas of engagement with the Assembly. Support for civil society

consultations and the development of expertise among civic organizations

is a complementary area of assistance. Works with reform caucuses can he

strategically important, especially when there is a clear focus on particular

legislation or policies. More generally, donors can support internal

mechanisms for financial transparency and internal monitoring of rules

and procedures in the National Assembly. Stronger institutional routines

and structures will advance the performance of the legislature looking

ahead.

77
Conclusion

Legislative oversight function is the eyes of the people in

government that watch and monitor the activities of the executive arm

and its agencies in the implementation of laws, programmes and policies

meant to serve the collective interest of the electorates. It dictates waste,

inefficiency, ineffectiveness, corruption, mismanagement of public

resources, etc. Its relevance in a democratic governance need not be

overemphasized. Oversight function is essentially valuable in ensuring

that the intent of the legislature in legislating laws that will improve

the living standard of the poor is reflected in the performance of the

executive functions. As important as its role in government, it must

endeavour to conduct its oversight functions within the confine of the law

that established the National Assembly. It is important to respect and

observe the principle of separation of power as provided in the 1999

Constitution of the Federation. Usurpation of functions and unguided

encroachment into the constitutional functions of the executive and the

judiciary arms is unnecessary and should therefore be guarded against in

the performance of its oversight functions. Good governance is seriously

undermined by the legislature’s usurpation of both executive and judicial

functions. The damaging effect of the legislature’s totalitarian approach to

governance is made worse by the very high level of corruption prevailing

in the country, precisely located at the echelon of government hierarchy

78
where state looting, ungodly manipulations and low budget

implementations are taking place.

The legislature should live above the board in all its public and private

functions. The interest and unity of the country should override personal

and collective interests of the legislative members. Congressional

assignments are not and will not serve as sources of exploitation to enrich

oneself. Dignity, integrity, fair play, accountability and transparency in

the act of governance must always be the watch word of the legislature.

The legislature should see their membership in the National Assembly as

a call to national duty which demands sacrifice, commitment to duty,

sincerity of purpose in all aspects of governance and a demonstration of

the true representatives of the people. Fraudulent enrichment is abhorred

because it is a total aberration from our social value, against ethics of

good governance, a disservice to expectations and aspirations of those

who mortgaged their political power into your hands to represent their

interest in government. Remember, these same people you will definitely

meet again on your way to the village. Which face and eyes will you use

to look at them? Orderliness, patience, perseverance, diligence and

patriotism provide the answer for “service to mankind”. For as long as the

above fraudulent incidents persist and invariably contribute further in

79
undermining the system of government in this country, attainment of

political stability and socio-economic development is certainly elusive

in the near future.

The functions of the legislative oversight should advance beyond mere

investigation and recommendation. There is need for constitutional and/or

legal teeth to be structured for effective and efficient legislative oversight,

as a watchdog on the executive arm and its agencies, to bite culprits or

cause the persons found culpable to be sanctioned to serve as deterrent.

The legislature should have legal power to compel the executive arm of

government to take appropriate action to institute judicial panel of inquiry

on matters that have been completely investigated by the legislature and

the reports on such cases have been duly passed on to the executive to

take logical conclusive action. The legislature should have legal power to

ensure that the executive would actually be cause to take such conclusive

action on the matters referred to it by the law-makers. The era where

cases are buried for fear of exposing powerful elements in government

ought to be a thing of the past.

80
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83
THE POLYTECHNIC, IBADAN
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
P.M.B 22, U.I Post Office

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am an undergraduate student of the department of public administration of


the mentioned institution above.

The questionnaire is designed towards obtaining vital information on “An


appraisal of the oversight functions of the legislative arm of government in
Nigeria, a case study of Oyo State House of Assembly Ibadan, Nigeria”.

Your contributions and co-operation in answering the questions will be highly


appreciated. And you are assured that all the information provided will be
confidentially treated and it is only for academic purpose.

Thanks for your co-operation,

Yours Faithfully,

Rosemary

84
SECTION A
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
MARK (√ ) WHERE APPLICABLE
1. Sex: Male Female
2. Age: 21-30yrs 31-40yrs 41yrs above
3. Marital Status: Single Married
4. Educational Ground: ND HND/BSc Professional
5. Length of Service: 1 – 4yrs 5-10 yrs 11yrs & Above
6. Position Held: Management level Senior Junior
SECTION B
Please respond to each statement by ticking ( ) the appropriate box on the following scale:
SA = Strongly Agree,,A = Agree, U = Undecided, D= Disagree, SD= Strongly, Disagree
SA A U D SD
7 There is significant relationship between oversight functions of the
legislative arm of government and democratic governance in
Nigeria
8 The roles performed by Oyo State House of Assembly could facilitate
the smooth functioning of the democratic systems
9 Oyo State House of Assembly makes democratic system of government
a success with the kind of laws and orders put in place
10 Oyo State House of Assembly protect the rights of the citizens of Oyo
state
11 Oyo State House of Assembly hold government, particularly the
executive, to account on any irregularities in the state.
12 Oyo State House of Assembly control and administer state budgets
13 Oyo State House of Assembly help to promote accountability,
transparency and responsiveness on the part of the executive
14 Oyo State House of Assembly carry out check and balance on his
public actions
15 Oyo State House of Assembly help to reduce political corruption of the
state
16 Oyo State House of Assembly makes laws to guide against
embezzlement and mismanagement of funds in Oyo state.
17 Oyo State House of Assembly guarantee rule of law a in democratic
setting
18 Oyo State House of Assembly formulate policies for proper
management of the state
19 Oyo State House of Assembly carry out Investigation on the executive
and judiciary activities in the state
20 Oyo State House of Assembly perform representative or constituency
responsibilities role
21 The role of the watchdog of public funds, derived from the legislatures
powers and duties with regard to public finance.

85