OrderPaperToday – In the parliament, it is one thing to introduce a bill but another to push it through the critical stages of progression– second and third readings.

How bills progress in parliament…

A bill is read for the first time when its short title is listed on the order paper and mentioned at the day’s plenary by the Clerk. The bill then progresses when it is listed for second reading for its general principles to be debated robustly by members and accepted as proposed legislation of the entire parliament. Some bills fail to make it past this stage but when they do, they are referred to appropriate committees for further legislative work, including conduct of public hearing.

The report of the committees are presented to plenary which may accept or amend or even reject the recommendations made by the committee. A bill further progresses when the committee’s reports are accepted and the bill is read for the third time and passed by parliament.

In the case of a bi-camera legislature like Nigeria’s a bill passed by one house is transmitted to the other house which must concur with the bill before it is sent to the President for assent to become law. See illustration below:

Usually, bills are considered for second or third reading based on the time it was first introduced or due to its importance to nation-building. At other times, senators or members of the House of Representatives may need to lobby the Committee on Rules and Business to enlist their bills for progression particularly if they want to drive a change in their respective constituencies. It is thus not enough to introduce bills; a key productivity index for legislators is the progression rate and levels of such bills. See our previous report on bills sponsorship in the first year of the 9th senate to see a focus on numbers – volume of draft laws by senators.

This article however deals with the productivity of senators with respect to the bills sponsored in the same period. Based on records obtained from the National Assembly from the inception of the 9th federal parliament to May 2020, not every senator with numbers of bills sponsored have done sufficient work to make the drafts progress in parliament.

The bills productivity index…

A distillation of the data on bills shows five senators who have shown commitment in advancing their drafts up to second reading stages and beyond. The illustration below tells the story succinctly:

Topping this productivity index list is the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) with 12 bills that have moved to second reading and beyond. He is closely followed by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West) with five bills.

Senators Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), Musa Sani (APC, Niger East), Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti Central) have four bills each that have either been read for the second or third time.

Senators with three bills that scaled second or third reading are Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau North), Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South), Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North), Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) and Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South).

As shown in the above chart, 5 Senators in this productivity index have two bills.

They are Senators Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDP, Imo, East), Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers West) Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) , Buhari Abdulfatai (APC, Oyo North), Halliru Jika (APC, Bauchi Central), Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North), Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central), Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), Oloriegbe Yahaya (APC, Kwara Central), Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East), Ahmed Kaita (APC, Katsina North), Aisha Dahiru (APC, Adamawa Central), Albert Bassey (PDP, Akwa-Ibom North East) and Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos West).

There are 34 Senators with one bill that has passed through second or third reading.

They are Senators Tinubu Oluremi (APC, Lagos Central), Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), Borrofice Robert (APC, Ondo North), Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South), Sahabi Yau (PDP, Zamfara North), Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North), Bima Enagi (APC, Niger South), Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River South), Yusuf Yusuf (APC, Taraba North), Shuaibu Isa Lau (PDP, Taraba Central), Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa South West), Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central), Fadahunsi Francis (PDP, Osun East) La’ah Danjuma (PDP, Kaduna South), Bello Mandiya (APC, Katsina South), Sankara Abdullahi (APC, Jigawa North West).

Others are Senators Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), Akon Eyakenyi (PDP, Akwa-Ibom South) James Manager (PDP, Delta South), Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu West), Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), Odebiyi Tolulope (APC, Ogun West), Tanimu Aduda (PDP, FCT), Sandy Ojang Onor (PDP, Cross River Central), Teslim Folarin (APC, Oyo Central), Amos Bulus Kilawangs (APC, Gombe South), Nnachi Michael (PDP, Ebonyi South), Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi), Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), Mpigi Barinada (PDP Rivers, Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue North East), Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC, Ekiti North)

Meanwhile, 15 bills sponsored by the executive have either passed through second or third reading.

They are: 2020 Appropriation Bill 2019, Finance Bill 2019 (Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Law), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act Cap N96 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act Cap N90 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Civil Aviation Act 2006 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill 2019,

FCT Appropriation Bill 2019, Finance Act 2020 (Amendment) Bill 2020, Finance Bill 2019 (Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Law), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act Cap N96 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act Cap N90 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Civil Aviation Act 2006 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019, Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill 2019, FCT Appropriation Bill 2019, Finance Act 2020 (Amendment) Bill 2020.

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