NILDS-UNIBEN PG PROGRAM RECEIVES ACCOLADES AS IT HOLDS 2ND CONVOCATION
The National Assembly, for the first time played host to the 2nd Convocation ceremony of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)/University of Benin (UNIBEN) Postgraduate Programme. At the epoch-making event, the UNIBEN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Orumwense, in his opening remarks stated that the UNIBEN Governing Board is pleased to partner with NILDS in a venture that has culminated to the award of Masters Degree in specialized areas to graduands who have demonstrated discipline, both in learning and character, he further informed that the collaboration has yielded quality man-power training.
In its five years of its existence, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai appreciated the leadership of the National Assembly for their unflinching support to the Institute which she said has served as a catalyst towards the giant strides being taken by the Institute; Prof Hamalai also expressed appreciation to the University of Benin for providing the enabling resources and platform for NILDS to actualize its vision of being a premier legislative center of excellence.
One of the guest presenters of the Special Convocation Lecture on the Theme, Parliamentary Institution Building and Sustenance of Democracy in Africa, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State and Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal postulated that institutions among other things links the government with people and important groups in the society, adding that conventional wisdom suggests that a test of institutional democracy is to provide good governance to the populace.
He further stated that vital pillars of democratic institutions include constitutionality and rule of law; freedom of press and civil society organizations and independence of the legislature. He however posited that some of the challenges facing the legislature in Nigeria include: absence of adequate legal framework to compel the Executive to implement oversight functions reports of the legislature; inadequate financial resources which he noted that has grossly hampered the effectiveness of the legislature. “Increased funding for capacity and institutional development of the legislature is unavoidable” he emphasized.
He tasked NILDS on providing more robust technical support that would enhance skills and competence of staff, particularly Committee staff who are saddled with the responsibility of drafting comprehensive reports of oversight duties.
The second guest presenter,Prof. Peter Lewis, Director of African Studies and Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington D.C, United States of America delivered a lecture on democracy and the legislature in Africa where he expressed optimism that democracy will thrive in Africa while lauding the 8th National Assembly for its proactive nature and landmark achievements
He commended NILDS for partnering with John Hopkins University, particularly in the area of financial accountability and budgetary functions of legislatures.
The 2nd Convocation ceremony of the NILDS-UNIBEN PG Program graduated 73 students from programs ranging from Masters in Legislative Studies; Masters in Legislative Drafting and Masters in Parliamentary Administration.