The House of Representatives of Nigeria is a collegiate body, national in scope, but elected by territorial and special constituencies, elected for four-year terms, with representation from political parties and movements that reach any of the seats assigned according to the population of the territory.

This faction is the lower chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly with The Senate being the upper chamber.

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Modelled after the United States, the House of Representatives is made up of 360 members who are appointed on four-year terms in single-member constituencies via an electoral procession that uses the first-past-the-post system. The presiding officer of the house doubles as the speaker.

Each party also appoints its own party leader. The leader of the largest party is the second most important deputy in his party, preceded by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Speaker is traditionally the leader of the majority party.

The Constitution establishes that to pass a law, approval in both chambers is necessary. The number of representatives for each State is based on the population of each of them. In this way, each State elects a different number of representatives.

Kano and Lagos, the most populous States in the country, enjoy the most representation with 24 members allotted to each state. All state must have at least one member.

The House of Representatives is generally considered more partisan than the Senate.

What are the Functions of the House of Representatives in Nigeria?

Together with the Nigerian Senate, they are the institutions that make up the legislative power, that is, they have the primary and fundamental function of “making laws,” as the Constitution says.

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This implies formulating, interpreting, reforming or repealing them. The House of Representatives have the initiative of law (they can propose them), but they also study those proposed by other public powers, such as the Government or control entities.

  1. The House of Representatives reviews bills and addresses similar issues.
  2. They oversee agencies, programs, and activities within their jurisdictions.
  3. Elect the Public Complaints Commission.
  4. Examine and expire the general budget and treasury account presented by the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  5. The House of Representatives have a constituent function to reform the Political Constitution through legislative acts.
  6. They have a legislative function to prepare, interpret, reform and repeal laws and codes in all branches of legislation.
  7. The House of Representatives have a political control function to request and summon the Ministers of Office and other authorities as well as hear the accusations that are made against high officials of the State. The motion of censure and the motion of observations may be some of the conclusions of political responsibility.
  8. The House of Representatives have a judicial function to exceptionally judge high officials of the State for political responsibility.
  9. They also have have the electoral function, of electing and reviewing personnel of the various offices around the federation. This function was most recently exercised, in conjecture with the Senate, when they rejected President Mohammadu Buhari’s appointment of Lauretta Onochie as Commissioner for INEC.
  10. The House of Representatives have a public control function to summon any person, natural or legal, to render statements, oral or written, on facts related to the inquiries that the Commission carries out.
  11. During an investigation, the House of Representatives have the right to summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions.
  12. They are also tasked with a protocol function of receiving Heads of State or Government of other nations.
  13. For both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Constitution establishes a list of functions that include approving the National Development Plan and the General Budget of the Nation, defining the division of the territory and establishing how entities are created, eliminated or modified.
  14. The Budget Act is of particular importance to the House of Representatives. They are in charge of stipulating the purposes for which and to what extent tax money will be used
  15. The House of Representatives are also instrumental in the creation of a new state, if deemed necessary.
  16.  “In extraordinary circumstances and for serious reasons of public convenience,” the House of Representatives can change the residence of the national powers
  17. The House of Representatives can also determine the structure of the public administration, ascertain political control of the Government and grant extraordinary powers to the President of The Republic when requested by public necessity or convenience.
  18. It is also within the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives to determine the legal currency.
  19. The House of Representatives can approve or reject international treaties entered into by the Nigerian Government.
  20. They can grant pardons or amnesties for political crimes and regulate public service.
  21. Interestingly, the House of Representatives have the constitutional carte blanche to make any laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation.
  22. The House of Representatives can discharge the President or Vice-President if they find him incapable of discharging the functions of his office.
  23. They also exercise vigilance and control over any authority in charge of ensuring respect for human rights, as well as the promotion of pertinent actions so that, in the event of non-compliance, the corresponding criminal and disciplinary sanctions are applied.
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The only body that can override the legislatives of the Nigerian National Assembly comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate is the Nigerian Supreme Court.

What Age Can You Join Politics in Nigeria?

To become a member of the distinguished House of Representatives, candidates have to be citizens of Nigeria and attain the minimum age of 30 years.

A person is only qualified for election if:

(a) They has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and

(b) They is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.

Source(s):

The Nigerian Constitution

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