The Senate is one of the Chambers in Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, the National Assembly. The National Assembly (NASS) is the nation’s highest legislature, whose power to make laws is summarized in chapter one, section four of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
Sections 47-49 of the 1999 Constitution state inter alia that “There shall be a National Assembly (NASS) for the federation which shall consist of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives”.
The Senate is headed by the President of the Senate assisted by the Deputy President of the Senate. These Presiding officers serve as political heads. There are one hundred and nine (109) members in the Senate corresponding to the 109 senatorial districts in the country. Senatorial Districts are evenly distributed among the thirty six states. Each state has three senatorial districts while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has just one senatorial district.
Principal Officers of The Nigerian Senate
Senate President: Sen. Bukola Abubakar Saraki
Deputy Senate President: Sen. Ike Ekweremadu
Majority Leader: Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan
Minority Leader: Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio
Chief Whip: Sen. Olusola Adeyeye
Minority Whip: Sen. Philip Aduda Tanimu
Deputy Majority Leader: Sen. Bala Ibn Naallah
Deputy Minority Leader: Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha, con
Deputy Chief Whip: Sen. Alimikhena Asekhame Francis
Deputy Minority Whip: Sen. Biodun Christine Olujimi
The Nigerian Senate Constitutional Role
The Constitution has vested in the National Assembly the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation. The Assembly also has broad oversight functions and is therefore empowered to establish committees of its members to scrutinize bills and the conduct of government institutions and officials.
The Constitution confers exclusive powers to the Senate among them the power to scrutinize and confirm major appointments of the executive. It is, however, specific about the appointments to be confirmed. They are those of the Ministers, Special Advisers, Ambassadors, top Judicial Officers heading specified levels of courts, the Auditor-General of the Federation, and the Chairmen and Members of the vital National Commissions.
The Nigerian Senate Compositions
There are 109 Senators in the Senate, 3 each from each of the 36 States of the Federation and 1 representing the Federal Capital Territory. However, irrespective of size, the Senate is based on equal representation of the States of the federation.
The presiding officer of the Senate is the President of the Senate and is assisted by the Deputy President. There are other Principal Officers of the Senate which include: the Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip.
In addition, there are 54 Standing Committees in the Senate chaired by Committee Chairmen.
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