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Senator Ken Nnamani
 President of the Senate

Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari
Speaker House of Representatives
 

The Legislative powers of the Federal Government are vested in a bicameral National Assembly consisting of two Houses, viz.: a Lower House, which is the House of Representatives and the Upper House, the Senate. At the State level, the legislature is a unicameral House of Assembly.

The National Assembly is made up of 109 Senators and 360 members of House of Representatives elected for a term of four years, and always free to contest for re-election at subsequent polls.

The Senate President, who is the third in hierarchy after the President and the Vice President, presides over any joint meetings of the National Assembly; otherwise both Houses sit separately in separate chambers. Other very important posts in the National Assembly include those of the Deputy Senate President, Clerk of the House and Chief Whip.The Mace stands out as the symbol of authority in the Assembly.

The counterpart of the Senate President in the House of Representatives is the Honorable Speaker of the House. He is the fourth person in the hierarchical structure of the Presidential System. The Deputy Speaker and the Clerk of the House are the other functionaries whose services are invaluable to the Lower House.

The National Assembly makes laws for the Federation on matters and issues on the exclusive and concurrent list. It also has the power to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic.

The President of the Federal Republic serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces but he cannot declare war or sign treaties without the consent of both Houses of the National Assembly. All legislative powers of the National Assembly are, however subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts.

In spite of the powers of the legislature to amend the Constitution, it is still subordinate to the constitution whose over-riding control is implied in its supremacy. Thus a National Assembly has full powers to make laws for ‘the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof’, only with respect to matters within its assigned sphere of competence.

Bills are often introduced to the House as a preliminary to law making. As a general rule, most bills originate in the Lower House of the Assembly. It could be public, private or government bill. Its first reading usually follows introduction of a bill. At the second reading the general principles of the bill is considered. The third reading of the bill is the stage of the final consideration before assent is given. It will need the concurrence of both Houses for a bill to pass into law provided it is assented to by the President, or Head of State of the Executive Branch.