Senate President Ahmad Lawan has submitted that the fact that many experienced lawmakers didn’t win their re-election bids in the 2023 election will mean the National Assembly will need more money for capacity building.
He said this becomes necessary because many experienced hands won’t be returning as legislators for the 10th National Assembly, hence the need to spend on the capacity building so the new lawmakers can hit the ground running.
Lawan made the submission on Thursday when he received 2020, 2021, and 2022 annual reports of the activities of the National Assembly Service Commission in Abuja.
The Senate President stated that the high turnover of experienced lawmakers at every session of the parliament is very costly for the legislature and the nation.
It is understood that of the 426 members-elect, 306 are new lawmakers; while 120 were re-elected. Winners are yet to be declared for the remaining 43 seats.
A further breakdown shows that only 28 of the 109 senators were re-elected; while 73 are new members. Eight seats are still vacant.
In the House of Representatives, of the 325 members-elect, only 92 were re-elected; while the 233 others are coming into the parliament as first-timers. 35 seats are yet to be occupied.
With the 10th National Assembly set for inauguration in June, Lawan submitted that more money and resources should be provided for capacity building for new members so the targets and objectives of the legislative arm of government can be achieved.
He said: “What is critical to us is what happens when we leave. Everybody knows the turnover rate has been very costly and this is without prejudice to anybody elected.
“Costly in the sense that when you have only about 30 percent of members of the ninth National Assembly going to the 10th Assembly, you know that you have lost capacity. You have lost experience. You have lost skills, enterprise, and so on and so forth. These are traits that you need to hit the ground running immediately.
“And I use the word costly deliberately because what this means is that, in the 10th Assembly, we must make provisions immediately for capacity building for new members of the National Assembly if we want to achieve our goals and set targets.
“Therefore, I’m using this channel to sound that advisory that the National Assembly will need money will need more resources for capacity building for members of the National Assembly that are coming new as well as those staff that we’ll be working with.
“I also want to urge here that the National Assembly Service Commission, the management of the National Assembly, as well as the management of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, will have their hands full because the tenth National Assembly.”