ZARIA LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEGISLATURE
The principle of separation of powers was introduced into the Local Government system via Decree 23 of June 1991, otherwise known as the Local Government (Basic Constitutional and Transition Provisions) Decree No. 3. The legislative arm of the Local Government Council is composed of the leader of the Council and other Councillors. Generally, it is involved in policy-making, promulgation or enactment of bye-laws and making of rules and regulations governing the running of the affairs of the local government. The functions performed by the legislative arm are defined by law but essentially include:
- Debating, approving and amending the annual budget of the Local Government;
- Vetting and monitoring the implementation of projects and programmes in the annual budget of the Local Government;
- Examining and debating the monthly statement of income and expenditure rendered to it by the Chairman of the Local Government;
- Advising, consulting and liaising with the Chairman of council;
- Liaising between the Local Government and their constituencies on policy matters and mobilizing people’s support for government and particularly local development; and
- Performing such other functions that may be assigned to it from time to time by an edict or law of the State in which it is situated.
The Speaker is the Chief Executive and Presiding Officer of the Local Government Legislative Council. He exercises authority on the advice of the Principal Officers and the Clerk of the Council over the Legislative, Administrative and other matters of the LG Legislature.
The Clerk of the Legislature provides the necessary guidance on administrative procedures for the management of the resources of the Legislature and also on personnel, finance and materials, based on the established Government Rules and Regulations. It should be noted that such Rules and Regulations are not to be altered or ignored in the exercise of the authority.
- STRUCTURE OF THE LEGISLATURE
There are two Sections – Legislative and Administrative.
- Legislative Section has the following principal officers:
- Speaker of the Local Government Legislature
- Majority leader [Leader of the Majority Party]
- Minority leader [Leader of the Minority Party, if any]
Both Administrative and the Legislative sections are under the Clerk’s office who should be a Director on GL16.
The Legislative Services is the core Division in the legislature. The Division is headed by an officer of GL12 who must be a lawyer with specialization in Legal Drafting.
The Department is tasked with the following functions:
- Taking Instructions (Research and Advice): Upon receipt of instruction, a Draftsman must proceed into legal research to enable him know the pre-existing position of the law in the subject area and to enable him know what particular legislative proposal entails as well as the direction of advice. Upon this adequate research, findings may also show that no new legislation is needed in order to deal with particular subject of instruction. In some cases, the Draftsman may find out that a subsidiary legislation or an amendment of the existing legislation may be all that is necessary to resolve or tackle a particular problem.
- Consultation: Most of the information a Draftsman may require may not be available at the period of instruction. The Draftsman relies heavily on information made available at the preliminary stage. A lot of gaps are filled during consultations with the persons or institutions or department concerned with initiation of the Bill.
The Draftsman as a visionary must contemplate the problems likely to confront the proposed legislation. He must contemplate the administrative machinery and related problems that are likely to confront the practical implementation and enforcement of the legislation with the desired goals and objectives.
- Preparation of Bills: A great deal of work is done on Bills and Legislative proposals by the Draftsman. Bills, whether private or public must of necessity pass through the scrutiny of the Draftsman. Here, most of the Bills that come from the Executive are presented ready in draft form. It is not uncommon for the Draftsman to scrutinize them with the aim of achieving better precision and uniformity in presentation to the legislature.
On the other hand where the Bills are initiated by a member of the legislature, the Draftsman takes full responsibility after elaborate consultations with those who sponsor the Bill. The Draftsman responsible for the preparation of the Bill is usually presents at all the proceedings of the House to respond to questions that may emerge and require immediate answers.
- Advisory Role: This is a major role played by Draftsmen in all democracies in the legislative process. Draftsmen are consulted even before instructions are given concerning the preparation of Bills. They give advice on the question of whether or not an existing law is adequate for the purpose.
- Votes and Proceedings: Production and keeping of minutes of proceedings of the Legislature which are subsequently printed and published as Votes and Proceedings of the Legislature.
- Secretariat Services: It keeps records of proposed motions, bills and guides legislators on procedural matters. Other responsibilities discharged by the department include the preparation of order paper, processing of petitions, providing secretariat services for the Rules and Business Committee, preparation of sessions and annual volumes of Bills and Paper. It also provides information service on parliamentary matters to legislators and the general public. The technical details of the legislative calendar, proposal format and deliberations are all responsibilities of the division. It serves as an inevitable liaison point between the various committees, the office of the Speaker and the Clerk of the Legislature.
- Administration and Finance Division
The functions of this Division include:
- Provision of internal management and general administrative support services to other division of the Legislature including human resources and facilities management
- Provision of financial advice for the purpose of planning and control of public funds
- Ensuring proper maintenance of accounting records
- Serving as custodian of security documents
- Rendering monthly financial returns and other financial statements as at when due
- Ensuring proper receipt and disbursement of funds
- Providing stores services (by coordinating purchases and supplies in the Legislature)
- Providing transport services to legislators, Committees, Management and other staff
- Providing Protocol/Public Relations services for legislators.
- Providing independent, unbiased and non-partisan analysis of the executive arm of Local Government’s annual budget estimates
- Serving as secretariat for Budget Defence
- Providing independent and continuous review and monitoring of existing and proposed programmes and budgets of the Local Government
- Analysis of the economic implication of the Local Government’s budget and the budgetary and financial implication of any proposed legislation when so required.
- Keeping proper track of bye-laws passed by the Legislative arm of the Local Government to determine whether the income and expenditure goals are met in relation thereto.
- Providing assistance to relevant committees, particularly with information that shall assist committees in the discharge of their functions including:
- Information with respect to budget and all bills providing new budget authority
- Information with respect to estimated future revenue and changing revenue conditions
- Aggregate of all current liabilities and existing financial commitments
- Preparing and presenting to the legislature periodic forecast of economic trends in a financial year.
- Providing the legislature with cost estimates and impact of any proposed legislation.
- Submitting to the legislature a report of:
- All items funded in the preceding financial year for which authorizations or appropriations were made by the legislature.
- All items contained in the annual budget in the preceding financial year but which are not funded by the Local Government.
- Publishing and disseminating information it generates including reports, analysis, forecasts, etc.
- Participating in oversight functions
- Budget mapping (classification of projects according to the various wards of the Local Government Area)
- COMMITTEES OF THE LEGISLATURE
There are 3 committees as follows:
- General Purpose Committee: Shall deal with issues on:
- Rules and Businesses
- Public Accounts
iii. Public Petitions
- Ethics and Privileges
- Appropriation and implementation
- Social Services: Shall deal with issues on:
- Education and Social Development
- Health, Sanitation and Environment
iii. Security and Traditional Institutions
- Other Social Services
- Economic Matters: Shall deal with issues:
- Agriculture and Forestry
iii. Other Economic related matters
- PRINCIPAL DOCUMENTS OF THE LEGISLATURE
They are as follows:
- Order Paper – Agenda/Order of Business of the day
- Votes and Proceedings – Records and Resolutions of the Business of the Day and Plenary
- Hansard Report (verbatim report of daily debates and proceedings of the legislature).
The Clerk to the legislature is always guided as much as possible by:
- The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Acts of the Federation and Laws of the State
- Standing Rules of the Legislature of the State Assembly
- Government Rules and Regulations
- Bye Laws of the Local Government.
- INTERNAL AUDIT UNIT
The Internal Audit Unit reports directly to the office of the Speaker of the LG Legislature.
- CONFERENCE OF SPEAKERS OF KADUNA STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEGISLATIVE COUNCILS
The Speaker represents the Legislative Council in the Kaduna State Conference of Speakers of Local Government Legislative Councils.