The senators are a significant figure of the National Assembly and this can be attributed to the position of the "Senate" within the assembly. The Senate is the upper chamber of the House, having a position in all 36 states of the country; each state is represented by 3 senatorial districts, totaling 109 senators across the board.
Who is a Senator?
A senator is an elected member of the upper chamber of the National Assembly also known as the Senate. When a person is elected to be Senator, they serve for 4 years performing various legislative duties and functions.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Senator
There is no doubt that Senators are saddled with several responsibilities as members of the upper chamber of the national assembly. There is a whole lot to put in place which is why senators are found doing one or two things which may include:
Construct and influence laws that affect the country as a whole
Engage citizens to trash problems and address concerns.
Fight for legislation that will favor the senatorial district and the average citizen.
Participate in committee hearings, conduct investigations, and make suggestions.
Provide assistance and support to constituents.
Ensuring accountability and transparency in government elections.
Providing inputs on international topics and agreements.
Approving nominations for positions.
Advocating for policy changes and notifying the public of legislative actions.
The leadership of the Senate of Nigeria
"It takes a head to guide a village" This phrase explains the importance of leadership in achieving a peaceful and progressive community. The case is the same with the Nigerian Senate as there are key leaders who play a vital role to keep the chamber in order, making collective decisions, and promoting the welfare of its members. Here are the main leaders of the Nigerian Senate:
The Senate president directs and oversees the function of the group. He links up with the executive branch to discuss matters arising, invent policies, and negotiate settlements on legislative ideas. Also, they team up with party leaders and other senators to facilitate cooperation, productive debates and discussions and also, review the legislation.
The responsibilities of the deputy senate include standing in for the senate president in his absence, rendering assistance on duties and functions, chairing sessions, and taking on additional responsibilities as requested by the senate president.
Majority and Minority Leaders
The Nigerian Senate has majority and minority leaders that belong to different parties. While the majority leader belongs to the political party with majority in the Senate, the minority leader is a part of the political party that is the 2nd-largest in the House. However, this doesn't make one leader less important than the other, both leaders call the shots and are responsible for maintaining a balance of power, initiating dialogues, and representing the different opinions within the Senate.
There are several committees created within the Senate to ensure its smooth running. These committees are headed by chairpersons who are elected by the members. The responsibility of the committee chairs cut across supervising the work of the committee, and reviewing bills and proposals.
Majority and Minority Whip
Majority and Minority Whip belong to the Majority and Minority political parties respectively and they are expected to work to ensure proper discipline within the parties. The majority leader keeps track of votes, rallies party members, and manages the house during debates and discussions. Also, the minority leader takes on a couple of tasks which include party coordination, communicating party positions, countering the majority party, and providing assistance to the minority leader.
Current Key Leaders of the Nigerian Senate
Senate President - Godswill Akpabio
Deputy Senate President - Barau Jibrin
Majority Leader - Abdullahi Ibrahim Gobir
Minority Leader - Eyinnaya Abaribe
Majority Whip - Orji Uzor
Minority Whip - Utazi Chukwuka
Annual/Monthly Salary of the Senators
For a long time, people have wondered what it feels like to be paid as a senator because the idea is that they lick directly from the honeypot. According to the decisions made by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Committee, senators are paid monthly and are also provided with office running costs.
Sometime in 2020, it was revealed that the monthly take-home salary of a senator is NGN700,000 out of which a car loan of about 8 million naira is deducted monthly. Also, senators are entitled to a traveling allowance which doesn't make a part of the normal salary. Fast forward to 2021, the senate president at that time, Ahmad Lawani stated that the monthly salary of a senator was about 1.5 million naira and up till now, it has not been reviewed or altered.
What is Office Running Cost?
The running cost of an office can simply be explained to mean the ongoing expenses associated with operating and maintaining an office space, whether big or small. The cost can be different for people as it can vary based on factors such as the size of the office, location, organization, and special needs of the business.
Therefore, the office running cost of the Nigerian Senate is the amount of money spent operating the legislative body. According to the information shared with the public by the former Senate President, the average office running cost for a senator is about 13 million naira monthly which amounts to about 52 million naira annually. If you are wondering what office running costs may include, here:
Many senators are provided with aides, administrative staff, secretaries, and other support persons that can assist with day-to-day operations and make every task easier. The staff members prepare minutes for committee meetings, draft reports, and meet up with some committee members as requested by the senator. Also, some of these staff take photographs of the senator during important events, organize the events, handle the social media accounts of the senator, monitor website content, and run other communication channels.
Maintenance and Repair
The equipment and gadgets used in the office may need regular servicing, maintenance, or even repair. The office running costs cater to these expenses and ensure that proper routine inspection, cleaning, software updates, and minor repairs are done when necessary. Also, when equipment breaks down and there is any form of malfunction, replacements are done to restore functionality.
Travels and Accommodation
The office running cost also covers the amount a Senator and his aides spend on official travels. The expense can include transportation, accommodation, meals, and other expenditures incurred during the journey. Whether a Senator stays in a hotel or a serviced apartment, travels by air, eats 3 Square meals, or slams an unforeseen event, they will be catered for.
Facilities and Infrastructures
This can include rooms, offices, buildings, security, and electricity used by each senator and their employees. While it is possible to have senate buildings for all senators, it is also important to put measures in place to maintain the building and the utilities in it. Also, security measures which may include having security personnel, surveillance systems, or alarm systems help to put the safety of the senator's office and its occupants in check.
Although the salaries and
benefits of Nigerian Senators can be reviewed, it does not annul the
fact that they take a significant part of the national cake home every
month and even yearly.
This post first appeared on HubforJobs and we are permitted to republish it here for educational benefits.