President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has charged the newly inaugurated Board of Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) to focus more on the capacity building for members of National and State Assemblies.
Lawan, who is the chairman of the Council made the charge on Thursday when he inaugurated the council in Abuja.
The capacity building, he said should include legislative aides to ease the burden of legislative work on the lawmakers.
“I want to assure the Director General and management of NILDS that this governing council is going to give every possible support that you will need.
“This is in our interest as legislature especially we in the National Assembly where the turn over of legislators is very high. It means after every four years we have to make some conscious and concerted efforts to do some capacity development for members of National Assembly and legislators across the country.
“This requires that you continue to review and revise your programmes so that they meet the needs of the legislature.”
He said since its establishment, NILDS has transformed, saying that, “in fact it is still going to transform because as our needs as legislators and as a parliament are dynamic so will be the activities of NILDS.
“We cannot afford to waste time but work as a council to give NILDS the kind of support it requires to continue to give us the capacity development for the National Assembly, state houses of assembly and the general public who are stakeholders in what we do.
“This requires that you continue to review and revise your programs so that they meet the needs of the legislature.”
On the training of aides, the Senate President said “we have our legislative aides who also requires some kind of capacity building.
“I believed that from time to time NILDS will have some programmes that will ensure that our aides understand why they are here and what is expected of them.
“Presently we are disadvantaged. Senators and members of the House of Representatives have five legislative aides each and of course the expertise that may be required to that extent is not there.
“That places a lot of burden on us because some things that ordinarily your aides will do for you, you will end of doing it yourself.
“So we want to ensure that the five aides we have now have the enhanced capacity, expertise and capability so that it will reduce the burden on us.”
Lawan assured the council of speedy completion of NILDS permanent site which he described as, “a landmark as far as democracy is concerned, not only for legislators but for universities and other research institutes”.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Representatives and alternate chairman of the Council, Femi Gbajabiamila assured the Institute of support in discharging its mandate.