Assessment of the Effects of Leadership Recruitment Process on Independence of the Legislature: A Study of the 8th Nigerian Senate

Saleh, Fatima (2021-02)


The Legislature, as the bastion of democracy, remains the distinguishing feature between autocratic and democratic administrations. Therefore, to add to the growing literature on legislative leadership, this study assessed the effects of institutional, electoral, and personal factors on the recruitment process of legislative leaders in the 8th Assembly of the Nigerian Senate. However, specific aims of the study include examining the process of recruiting legislative leadership viz-a-viz the Presiding Officers of the 8th Nigerian Senate; assessing the roles played by institutional, electoral, and personal factors in the election of the 8th Senate Leadership and evaluating the effects of the influences of these factors in the election of the 8th Senate Leadership on the independence of the Legislative House. The study adopted the objective-by-objective approach which outlined specific methods for the objectives. Broadly, the study adopted the mixed research design thus relying on both qualitative and quantitative data. Data were sourced from both Primary and Secondary sources. Primary data were collected from Key Informant Interviews [KII] selected purposively while Secondary data came from journal articles, newspapers, official publications of the government (i.e., official proclamation letter,), the internet, among others. Content analysis method was used to analyse the data. Besides, data were presented in themes depicting the objectives of the study. Based on Objective one, the findings showed that the process of recruiting legislative leaders in the 8th Assembly was constitutionally premised. In addition, Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Order stipulated the requirement for the recruitment of presiding officers in the Senate. The study affirmed the constitutional procedure in the recruitment of legislative leaders. Objective two revealed that indeed, individual ambition, conduct of election, and political parties influenced the recruitment of leaders in the 8th Senate. Specifically, the study found that individual ambitions drove the interest in legislative leadership. Also, the conduct of election had a direct correlation to shaping the recruitment of leaders in the 8th Senate. An examination of the roll call showed that indeed, one-third (1/3) quorum was formed. Consequently, merits and demerits were established from the influences of the highlighted factors.The influence of political parties appeared unhealthy for a presidential democracy but it ironically galvanized common action in governance. Individual ambition could propel individuals to serve, but such a desire may not be driven by patriotism. The conduct of election ensured the preservation of minority status. Finally, the study recommended adherence to the provisions of extant laws to addressing the issue of the recruitment process; consensus building, imbibing the democratic culture of lobbying, etc. to mitigate the influences of the identified factors. In the end, merits and demerits of the recruitment of leaders in the 8th Senate were the avowed assertion of its independence in the confirmation of executive nominees like Ibrahim Magu and the presidential veto of legislations like the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), respectively.Overall, the legislative leadership recruitment process preserves the style of leaders thereby assuring the independence of the legislature.