1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Since Nigeria returned to democratic system of government in 1999 after years of military dictatorship, the operations of the legislature have often been in the spotlight for several reasons. Expectedly, the question of the cost of maintaining the two chambers of the National Assembly where there are 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members has often overshadowed other critical issues such as the assessment of the effectiveness of the legislators towards the development of the country. The principle of separation of power is the major ingredient of democracy which guarantees that the executive arm of government does not control the affairs of the legislature nor the judiciary. The doctrine of the separation of powers implies that there should be three separate organs of government with their separate sets of functions and powers. The presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria makes provision for separation of powers, apportioning disparate powers and duties to the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government. Essentially, the legislature as a symbol of true democracy, makes laws which the executive is under obligation to implement. The judiciary is legally called upon in the determination of civil rights and obligations to interpret the laws. This system of government understands from the onset that powers may be abused and therefore introduced a system that guarantees checks and balances amongst the three arms of government. Therefore, through the power of interpretation, the courts can declare laws made by the legislature unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. On the other hand, the legislature has the power of oversight over the execution and administration of laws by the executive. The executive holds the powers of investigation, coercion and implementation of laws and can as well use these powers to call the legislature and judiciary to order (Onyekpere, 2012). In other words, it implies that the three organs of government should be kept apart from each other in the interest of individual liberty and it is a perfect system created for the overall benefit of the citizens. The functions of the government should be differentiated and performed by different organs consisting of different bodies of persons so that each department be limited to its respective sphere of activity and not be able to encroach upon the independence and jurisdiction of another (Johari, 1989:280). The principal function of the executive is to execute laws, orders, rules, regulations, decrees, prevention of the breaches of law, rendering a host of social welfare services and meting punishment to the delinquents so as to maintain peace and good government. On the other hand, in spite of its primary function of legislating laws, amending or repealing existing laws, the legislature serves a number of overlapping objectives and purposes to improve the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of governmental operations; evaluate programmes and performance; detect and prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, arbitrary and capricious behaviour, or illegal and unconstitutional conduct; protect civil liberties and constitutional rights; inform the general public and ensure that executive policies reflect the public interest; gather information to develop new legislative proposals or to amend existing statutes; ensure administrative compliance with legislative intent; and prevent executive encroachment on legislative authority and prerogatives encapsulates in oversight functions (http://en.wikipedia.org.wiki/Congressional_oversight). It also executes the functions of oversight over the actions or inactions and other activities of the executive and its agencies.
On the other hand, legislative oversight encourages checks and balances; it enthrones fiscal discipline, good governance, accountability and transparency in public offices. It promotes accountability in government through enforcing efficiency and cost effectiveness in course of generating people-centred policies and programmes necessary to address the numerous challenges confronting governments at all levels. Congressional oversight takes place when the National Assembly (the Senate and the House of Representatives) continually review the effectiveness of the executive arm in carrying out the congressional mandates through supervision, watchfulness, or review of executive actions and activities. This helps the National Assembly to establish issues and address problem areas in order to make the necessary improvements or changes to create an effective process. This legislative process brings to the knowledge of the public what the executive branch is doing, and it affords the electorates the opportunity to see what public office holders are actually doing, whether they are really serving their collective interest or not. Most often, the public is not aware of what the government is actually doing.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor development of the country has been a cause for major concern as it has resulted to a lot of crises ranging from economic crises to social crises and other forms of crises and agitations across the country which has ultimately led the country to her recession in over three decades. Most school of thoughts has fingered the legislative arm of government for not living up to their responsibilities in ensuring an effective legislative arm of the country through the creation of effective and far reaching laws and policies that would be a catalyst for speedy development.
This current poor development of the country has a lot to do with the nature and pattern of policies in the country.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine legislative effectiveness and oversight functions in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Legislative effectiveness and oversight functions have no impact on national development.
H1: Legislative effectiveness and oversight functions have no impact on national development.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would greatly improve the development of country as relevant recommendations would proffer solutions towards that effect. This study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter through the provision of relevant literatures.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the impact of legislative effectiveness and legislative effectiveness in Nigeria from 1999-2007 using the Enugu state house of Assembly as a case study
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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