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PARIS, DECEMBER 12, 2016: (DGW) THE  Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative Studies,  Dr. Ladi Hamalai , has decried the high rate of turnover of federal lawmakers saying it has ended the country up in producing inexperienced legislators which is not healthy for Nigeria's democracy.
The re-election of experienced legislators as it is done in the USA, she said,  would help immeasurably in promoting stability in the polity.
She stated this in an interview with The sun Newspapers published on December 12, 2016.
The turnover rate has ended the country up in producing greenhorns as legislators who know virtually next to nothing because their tenure often gets to an end when getting used to legislative functions.
Excerpts:
Why are legislative aides not being trained as frequently as the legislators?
There is not a single year that we don’t have programmes for legislative aides; maybe what is short is the level of intensity. The basic reason the institute has even not been doing that is because the National Assembly Service Commission has the responsibility of induction and since the legislative numbers of the aides are quite large, we may not garner the sufficient resources to train them properly in batches. But we are doing our best; for example this year, we had three training programmes for legislative aides –the basic, intermediate and advanced.
At the beginning of each new legislative session, usually, not up to 30 per cent of old legislators return, and this has led to a high turn-over rate, new set of legislators who are practically greenhorns. Does this not bother the institute?
I think everybody is really worried about the high turnover, because by the time a legislator has been there for about four years, that is when he begins to learn the in and out of his job. He gains confidence; can engage the executive and do oversight functions, but just as he is gaining grounds, his four-year tenure is over and most often, they are not reelected. So, it is really damaging to the institutional growth of the legislature. 

However, the problem is not that of voter education as much as party dynamics, because if you look at the results of the primaries, you will see that at least 60 per cent of the candidates fielded by the party are new.
But it is the people that do vote for them
Yes, but at the primary level, it is as a result of internal party mechanism. But again, if you look at the relationship between the candidates and the party leadership, you discover that there are factors that determine how a particular candidate emerges at the primary election; factors other than the normal voting.

So you have to do both; sensitise the electorate and at the same time sensitise the party. Now, there is another dimension to it, be it the Senatorial district or the constituency of the House of Reps member. You find that in many constituencies, even if the party wants to return the same candidate, the constituents may say no; it is the turn of the next local government.
So, you find excellent legislators who have done all the due diligence of his work, but at the end of the day, he will be discarded based on rotation at the local government level. Some even abinitio will tell you that you will serve one term or will give you a maximum of two terms after which it would be the turn of the next local government.
The other angle is that the party leader or the governor of the state who happens to come from the same local government as you, would, at the end of his tenure, want to come to the Senate. So, you know you have to go. It happens. There are one or two cases where the governor lost the election but in most cases they will win the election. So, unless you sort out the other issues, it will keep happening.
In America, it is your credentials as an individual that matters; if your constituents are happy with your representation, they keep on re-electing you. I was reading somewhere that the most predictable thing in US politics is the legislator returning to his seat. 

You can bet on it by 90 per cent that they will be reelected. The upset is only when there is a party swing at the national level. So, if you have that season, then there will also be some swings within the legislature, then you find that some new members will come in at that particular time.

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