The Role Of The Legislature In Policy Making Process
Long Military Rule in Nigeria, has made the Legislature, an infant arm of government compared to the executive and the judiciary which were functional even under the Military regimes for about three decades since independence in 1960. The Legislature therefore, is a symbol of democracy, serves as the most salient dimension of democracy, and will be the litmus test for strength, sustainability and vitality of democratic governance in Nigeria.
The main aim of the study was to find out the level of involvement of the Legislature in policy making process. In particular, it intended to find out the level of the involvement of the Legislature in budget making process, a case study of Kaduna State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003, considering the infancy nature of the Legislature in Nigeria and its constitutional responsibility of controlling public funds and expenditures for the general development and wellbeing of the country and citizenry. The result of the study was expected to reveal the level of involvement of the Legislature in budgetary process and recommendations to be proffered on how to improve the level of involvement of the Legislature in budgetary process in the Nigerian democratic environment.
In undertaking this study, and based on stated objectives, two hypotheses were formulated, questionnaire constructed, and data collected through administration of questionnaires to 34 Legislators and 20 relevant supportive Staff from the Departments of Legislative Matters and Budget and Planning, respectively of the House.
Results of the two hypotheses tested, proved that the level of involvement of the Legislature in budget making process in Kaduna State is generally low as discussed in chapter four of this study, due to the infancy nature of the Legislature, inexperience, inadequate facilities, knowledge and training on the part of both Legislators and relevant supportive Staff on budgetary process, during the period of study.
It was therefore, concluded that the low level of involvement of the Kaduna State House of Assembly in budgetary process within the period of study, could be a general picture of what was and is still obtainable in other Legislative Houses in Nigeria, considering the Federal status of the Nigerian State, the general infancy nature of the Legislature in Nigeria, and the fact that the country and the component states are governed by the same constitution.
Arising from the results, it was suggested that continuity of democracy in Nigeria in spite of the crises being experienced in trying to plant it, capacity building for both the Legislators and relevant supportive Staff on budgetary process, equipping of the legislative Library with relevant books, journals and internet facilities, would go a long way in improving the level of the Legislature in budgetary process in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the Study
In liberal political theory, the state exists to promote the welfare of its citizens and protect their lives and property. It is only in doing these things that it earns the loyalty of its citizens, and exact compliance without recourse to force. Therefore, at a time of dwindling natural resources and unwanted population growth in the 21st Century, the responsibilities of a state or government in modern time have grown so enormous that it has to embark on conscious planning, decisions and policies for either short or long term period in order to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry. Hence, Government has the responsibility of mobilising human and natural resources of the State and determines who gets what, how and when. This explains why government today, is saddled with the tasks of planning, policy making, budgeting and their implementations.
Public policy therefore, emanates undoubtedly from the responsibilities of the State to nurture and protect the aspirations and needs of citizens. The arms of government involved in planning, policy making and budgetary processes are the executive and legislature in the democratic setting.
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