Pathway to an Effective Parliament

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By Charlie Boye

One thing that many people don’t know is that parliament goes beyond talking and the usual rancor and obstructions—Mostly by opposition MPs. And most importantly, parliament has members with different backgrounds— it’s ONLY few of them that have legal or policy background, hence it’s very difficult to have a fully functioning body without a competent staffing support.

I’m of the strong belief that, for parliament to function well, each and every member must have a furnished office with at least two staff members—A Constituent Coordinator and Legislative Research Assistance, ideally someone with legal or policy background.

Why do they need these staff?

Well, it’s clear that majority of our MPs don’t have the time to read through thousands of pages of bills or can’t simply comprehend these bills and the reason is that: these bills are very complex and technical and not everyone can easily understand them.

But with a legislative assistant, this will make it easier because they will read the bills and analyse them through thorough research and then brief their bosses (the MPs) about the bills.

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the years, and even now, is that MPs will just walk into the wells of Parliament, mostly unprepared, and vote on bills along party lines and not bill content.

Why? Because they, mostly, lack proper understanding of the bills; don’t engage their constituents on bills been tabled in parliament and majority of these Parliamentarians spend their time at the canteen “chilling” because they don’t have office spaces.

It’s high time we step up if only we want a functioning parliament.