Senate of Nigeria
The Senate is the upper house of the Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, the National Assembly of Nigeria. The National Assembly (popularly referred to as NASS) is the nation’s highest legislature, whose power to make laws is summarized in chapter one, section four of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. It consists of 109 senators: the 36 states are each divided in 3 senatorial districts each electing one senator; the Federal Capital Territory elects only one senator.
The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Senate, whose chief function is to guide and regulate the proceedings in the Senate. The Senate President is third in the Nigerian presidential line of succession. He is assisted by the Deputy President of the Senate. The current Senate President is Sen. Bukola Saraki and the current Deputy Senate President is Ike Ekweremadu both of the People’s Democratic Party.
The Senate President and his Deputy are also assisted by principal officers including the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Whip, and Deputy Minority Whip. In addition, there are 63 Standing Committees in the Senate chaired by Committee Chairmen. The lower house is the House of Representatives.
Functions of the Senate
Bills may be introduced in any chamber of the National Assembly. However, the Nigerian constitution provides that money bills (Revenue and Appropriation bills) must originate in the House of Representatives, although the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives is required for any bill, including money bills, to become law.
Checks and Balances
The constitution provides several unique functions for the Senate that form its ability to “check and balance” other elements of the Federal Government of Nigeria. These include the requirement that the Senate may advise and must consent to some of the President’s government appointments; also the Senate must consent to all treaties with foreign governments and it tries all impeachments.
Senators are to serve a term of four years until a General election. Senators have unlimited tenure and can remain in the chamber for as long as they are re-elected in general elections.
President of the Senate of Nigeria
The President of the Nigerian Senate is the presiding officer of the Senate of Nigeria, elected by its membership. The Senate President is second in line for succession to the Nigerian presidency, after the Vice President of Nigeria.