Public Perception of the National Assembly and Legislators Turnover in the Fourth Republic’

Imuuokhome, Oghale Maris (2020-01)


This study examines the perception/image problem of the National Assembly and the high turnover rate of legislators which has been a worrisome issue for the legislature in the Fourth Republic. (1999-2019). Turnover is the rate at which a legislator is re-elected or not returned back into the National Assembly. The specific objectives of the study are; to find out the public’s perception(opinion) of the National Assembly, factors accounting for the public’s view of the National Assembly, the effects of such views on legislator’s turnover and the causes of high turnover rate of legislators. This study is significant at this point in time considering the fact that the National Assembly still grapples to launder its image before the public in spite of its efforts over the years. The attrition rate recorded in the 2019 general elections that saw the National Assembly loose most of its finest and competent legislators has also become a worrisome trend. Despite the fact that a lot of studies have been conducted on the subject matter, the problem still persists hence the need for the study. The sources of data required for the research were both primary and secondary data. Questionnaire was used in Objective one and two to find out the public’s perception of the National Assembly and factors responsible for the views they have about the National Assembly. Secondary data (available documents from the National Assembly, text books, journals and internet sources) was used in achieving objective three and four to see the trend in turnover from 1999-2019 and also explore issues on legitimacy of elections, evolution of the National Assembly, public perception, theoretical framework of the study and causes of high turnover rate respectively. The analyses of data gathered was basically descriptive using the simple percentage, statistical tables and graphs. For objective one, the study found out that the public has a negative perception of the National Assembly and the factors accounting for the negative perception(objective two) as identified by the study were; alleged high rate of corruption, conflictual executive-legislative relationship and misappropriation of constituency funds. For the third objective, the study also found out that negative public perception of the National Assembly has no effect on the rate of turnover, rather factors like godfatherism, quality of challengers at elections, imposition of candidates amongst others were identified as the causes of high turnover rate in the fourth republic. To address the issue of negative perception, it was recommended that the National Assembly should be opened to the public by granting uninterrupted access to the media so citizens are carried along and kept abreast about the happenings in the National Assembly. Secondly, to curb the issue of alleged corruption and misappropriation of constituency funds, the National Assembly should be transparent in the conduct of its core mandate especially as it concerns oversight activities by ensuring that monies budgeted are utilized for the purpose they were appropriated for and the legislature should ensure a cordial working relationship with the executive to avoid friction. Thirdly, since the study showed perception had no effect on turnover, the study recommends strengthening our electoral laws to give credibility to the electoral process. Finally, to address high rate of turnover, internal party democracy in political parties should be taken seriously as a way to addressing issues of imposition of candidates, godfatherism, zoning, power of incumbency, judicial decisions etc. that account for high turnover rate.