(Opinion): The role of the students Legislative body in Nation-Building – Aladie Bolaji Nasrudeen

Get more connected to the real facts

By: Aladie Bolaji Nasrudeen


…Being a text of an address delivered at the maiden PARLIAMENTARY SUMMIT organised by the Students Representative Council, Faculty of Humanities And Social Science Administration, Kwara State University, Malete.

I feel honoured this morning to stand before this scholastic gathering of cerebral academics, potential public decision markers, future public administrators and parliamentarians to speak on this important topic. I must thank the Speaker of this noble Faculty’s Legislative Arm for extending an invitation to me, and ensuring that I am present here to deliver the task requested from me. I considered myself lucky to have the privilege of working with and learning under one of the finest lawmakers ever produced by this country, my Principal — *Distinguished Sen. Dr Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe* who redefined the legislative representation in Kwara Central and Kwara State as a whole. It’s his overwhelming creditable and remarkable performances in the 9th Senate that sharpened further my abiding interest in _Legislature and Legislative Representation_ which gives me the privilege to be here today as one of the speakers.

I also find this topic very important as we youth are taking our spaces in government and a gathering of future leaders being moulded in Kwasu deserve to be much prepared to take the mantle of leadership after the end of our time here as students.

Before we go further in the presentation, permit me to break the key components of the topic into pieces for a proper understanding of the relationship of each one of them in the context of the topic.


Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘role’ as the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organization, society or relationship. For example, “What is his role in this project? School play an important role in society, or put in another way,” six people have been put on trial for their role (involvement) in the anti-government demonstrations.

Oxford Dictionary of English Language; defines ‘role’ as the function or position that somebody has or is expected to have in an organization a society or in a relationship. furthermore, it could be said to be the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation


Students’ legislative body can also be referred to as the Students Representative Council which forms an assemblage of people elected by their peers to act as advocates of the students’ body and represent all the students’ views on academic and experience-related issues to the school. this does not only give students the forum to voice their views but also gives the school valuable feedback when planning for the future.


Nation-building is a significant undertaking that governments employ to develop political, economic, security, and social institutions in their countries—especially those emerging from conflict.

Introducing Legislative Body and SRC in Various Capacities

As earlier defined above, the Legislative body at the students level can also be referred to as the student’s representative council which forms an assemblage of people elected by their peers to act as advocates of the student body and represent all the students’ views on academic and experience-related issues to the school. Representative governance is replicated in the outer world. At the local government level, they are called Councilors representing each ward that constitutes a council; the state constituencies are represented by Honourable Members at the State House of Assembly while the Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies across the country are represented at the Senate and House of Representatives respectively at the National Assembly by Senators and Fed. Reps.

Qualifications/Requirements To Be Members of the Parliament in Schools and Outer World

In the quest to ensure adequate and effective representation, the schools set minimum standards that must be met by aspirants jostling for elective positions on campus. The requirements which vary according to the peculiarities of the institutions, bordered mostly on academic excellence, that is, certain cumulative grade points are laid out as prerequisites for contest for various offices. This bears similitude to what is obtainable from the qualifications that validate eligibility for the representative contests in the outer world.

As the activities of the student body are guided and regulated by the constitution which spells out the requirements for various offices, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution equally provides the qualifications necessary to be able to contest various positions in a formal political setting.

A candidate wishing to be a councillor; must hold a minimum school certificate or its equivalent, must be at least 25 years old and as well be a member of a political party; the membership for a state or House of Assembly requires the aspirant to be a citizen of Nigeria, be at least of 30 years old, be educated to at least school certificate level or its equivalent; the candidate for House of Representatives must possess a minimum of school certificate, attain the age of 35 and above and be a member of a political party; the requirements for Senatorial contest demand the aspirant to be a citizen of Nigeria, be at least 35 years of age, be educated up to at least school certificate level and be sponsored by a political party.

Roles of Legislature in Nation Building

Given the brief explanation of the nature of legislature which bears similitude to the operations of the Students Representative Council on campus, It is important to note that the potent means to maximizing the potential of the legislature towards nation-building lies in the effective discharge of the statutory roles of the legislature which principally are categorized into three; Lawmaking, Oversight and Representation.

1. Lawmaking functions

The Nigerian legislature has contributed immensely to nation-building through the enactment and amendment of different laws that aided national development projects since the country returned to democracy.

The legislature is an important factor that marks out a democratic government in Nigeria as the vibrancy of the policymaking process which is reflected in the quality of debate at the parliament, the extent of meaningful participation of the public in the policymaking process, and the quality of the policy outcome since the beginning of Nigeria’s fourth Republic. The key tasks of legislation are; sponsorship of bills, motions, and matters of public importance; debating at the plenaries on topic issues; passage of the annual budgets; and confirmations of the various appointees nominated by the President or Governor to serve in the executive.

2. Oversight Functions:

The legislature, through its oversight activities, is constitutionally empowered to hold the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government accountable to the public.
Since the institution has the responsibility to appropriate and allocate funds to the various government institutions for their operations. It is naturally using that advantage to oversee these institutions to ensure that citizens get value for their money and also ensure that these institutions are run by laws of the land and reposition the state towards nation-building.

3. Representative Functions:

The Nigerian legislature represents and connects people to the government by giving them a place where their needs and aspirations can be articulated. The Nigerian legislature since 1999 is the embodiment of the aspirations, ideals, and collective will of the people; they are the defender of the people’s aspirations and constitute social contact between the citizens and the government. this serves as an arbiter of the interest that builds a nation. It is an institution where every interest and shade of opinion has its cause to be presented.


– Being Voice And Defender of Their Dellow Students’ Interests

Acting in the interest of the represented (the students) to whom sovereignty belongs in a manner responsive to them through consistent consultation from which the yearnings of the students are brought to the fore. The SRC is expected to engage the management on the priorities of the students and stay faithful to the cause of protecting their interests for improved welfare and a peaceful atmosphere on campus.

– Ambassadorial Roles For Department, Faculty, Schools And Family

The SRC represents the image of their primary constituencies and their respective families. This places on them the moral obligation to acquit themselves with dignity in the discharge of their duties to stave off the avoidable opprobrium that could these constituencies in disrepute. As a student representative, you are required to perform representational functions that espouse the aspirations of the department, faculty and schools which ultimately brings honour to the family.

– Contributing To The Peace, Stability And Development of Their Citadel of Learning And Its Environs

The legislature is the avenue at which the popular complaints and demands of students are deliberated upon and processed for onward discussion with the management. The SRC are to advance resolutions that sustain the tranquillity and douse tension in the event of perceived wrangling on campus and surrounding areas which are predominantly occupied by campus. This collective participation may lead to skill enhancement and confidence-building traits, which will help prepare them for active interest and involvement in nation-building.

– Serving As The Watchdog To Check The Excesses of The Executive Arm of the Students’ Union

This can be represented as the oversight function of the legislature. It is the supervisory responsibility that is to be carried out on the executive to ensure that they comply with legislative enactments as well as judiciously expend their budgets to effectively meet their policy mandate. It is the responsibility of the SRC to conduct investigations into the activities of the executives to ensure that the funds earmarked for the proposed projects are used for the purpose for which they were appropriated.

– Forming Partnership With The SU To Protect The Interest of Their Fellow Students Both On And Off The Campus

The SRC are to establish an affable relationship with the executive arm of the student body to collectively pursue the interest of the students and initiate sustainable mechanisms to strengthen the well-being of the students and provides support for those who need help navigating academic and social issues.

– Brainstorming And Formulating Suggestive Policies To School Managements And Decision Makers in Education Sector

There should be a cross-pollination of ideas among the SRC to propound policies that elevate the standard of education by identifying the challenges that constitute hindrances to desirable learning outcomes. Through this role, significant steps can be taken towards achieving a cohesive and coherent national education initiative that will articulate the profound idea of a commonwealth for the diverse people which represents an essential prerequisite for nation-building.


– Demands of Academic Excellence

The unrestrained quest for academic excellence could scale back commitment to duties. Of course, perceptions of campus politics amongst students are likely to vary but when you engage in these political activities you tend to be open and exposed to different ideals. The rigour of these activities requires dedication to have brilliant outputs and deliver effectively on the mandates of the students. The concentration and attention channelled to the representation may sometimes be viewed as a hindrance to learning, as such, a representative may tend to waiver in the discharge of his legislative duties.

– Restrictive and Overbearing Influence of The School Management

It is generally believed that education can only thrive and make the country better for it when students, an integral part of the society are allowed to freely associate and express themselves as a universal democratic right. However, there are sad instances of schools enforcing rules that impose on students undemocratic and vindictive laws which would emasculate the students’ unionism and make them incapable of defending students against some loopholes and perceived defects in the policies of the school with the threat of expulsion and other severe punishments to deter dissenting voices.

– Lack of Seriousness on The part of SLB/SRC members

Some students contest elections solely for the honour attached to the position for which they aspire. They were never motivated by the desire to genuinely represent the interest of their peers. In consequence, this brings about lackadaisical representation with no bearing on the welfare of the students and makes their interests a futility.

– Lack of Cooperation From Fellow Students

The absence of support from fellow students can hamper performance and wane the morale of the representatives. The SRC can best engage the management and secure their buy-in on pressing issues on campus when the students, who are majorly affected, rally around their representatives and form a cohesive whole to articulate their yearnings and bring fulfilment to their collective aspirations.

– Poverty and Corruption Tendencies

The avaricious tendency could cause a representative to succumb to the temptation to siphon funds earmarked for the execution of certain initiatives. It is important to be contented and consider the office as an avenue to uphold its integrity and not a platform to rescue one from poverty.


• Extensive Reading And Researching About Legislature

There is an imperative need to get acquainted with the nitty-gritty of the legislature to deliver effective representation, as such, the SRC should devise a mechanism or better still make provision for a legislative library equipped with materials that meet the information needs of its members. This will enable them to have access to intellectual resources that inspire ideas, fire up fecund imagination and broaden their knowledge of the legislature.

• Taking Part In And Contributing To Political Discussions Via Various Expressive/Interactive platforms

Through contribution to political discourse, you gain access to shades of opinion that influence perception and could cause you to develop advanced viewpoints or get exposed to thoughts that don’t exist in your mind and perspectives you may not have considered before. And even though you may not like what you are hearing, you often learn new things by listening to others.

• Being Conversant With Political trending Issues Particularly In The Nation’s Parliaments

It is important to keep abreast of the happenings in the National Assembly, particularly the differing views of members on contentious matters. The quality of the contributions and incisiveness evinced by the members on the trending issues will help broaden the perspective on resolutions and enrich knowledge on the management of disparate opinions on the issues of interest which would ultimately be harmonized for unified decision.

• Having Worthy Political mentors Within The School and Outside World, Preferably a Performing Former or Serving Legislator

Growth is stimulated by tapping into the knowledge and experience of a more knowledgeable person, as a representative of the students, it is expedient to have whom to approach for guidance, direction and sensitization on the various legislations that could be advanced to chart the path of fulfilment of the pressing needs of the students. The mentor could be an experiencstudenleaderer or a cerebral lawmaker whose performance is reflective of his legislative acumen. As this fosters Inclusive political participation, it expands the political horizons by building capacity and catalysing your growth and leadership development all of which are important tools for Nation building.

• Periodic Learning From And Interactive Visits To Legislative Chambers In The State and National Level to Observe Plenary Proceedings

Attending the plenary sessions at the legislative chambers would allow you to learn more about the important elements of the legislative businesses which would strengthen the conduct of the sitting on campus and elevate the quality of the choice of discourse to which prominence is given during the proceedings.

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *