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NILDS: Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, Right Man For The Job?



By Olukemi Ige

The position of director general of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, is not the easiest position to occupy.

As the knowledge management organ of the National Assembly, mandated to build the capacity of legislators at federal, state, ECOWAS sub-region and the African region, the Institute must meet a long-felt need to provide legislators and officials with institutionalised opportunities for problem-oriented studies and systematic training in the various disciplines of legislative institutions, processes and procedures.

With the end of  tenure of the pioneer director general, Professor Ladi Hamalai, a month shy of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, it was with no small relief that, Professor Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman was announced to take over with immediate effect on the May 28, 2019.

A professor of Political Science and International Relations, Sulaiman is a former minister for National Planning and deputy chairman, National Planning Commission.

A technocrat and an academic with vast experience, he is by no chance a new-comer to the affairs of the institute having served as a resource person for induction courses organised by the institute for legislators-elect before the commencement of a new session, on many occasions.

In the previous administration, his wealth of knowledge was recognised when he was appointed to serve as deputy chairman, Nigeria Economic Council and also deputise for the chairman of the Transition Technical Committee. He was a Nigerian delegate to the United Nations Ordinary General Assembly in 2015.

Prof Sulaiman holds a BSc Degree, Political Science from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, an MSc in International and Strategic Studies from the University of Jos and a PhD, in 2003 from the University of Abuja.

In his inaugural speech to the staff of the institute, he assured that there shall be improvement in the structure of the institute – from academic contents to physical structures while also building the capacity of legislators and legislative aides.

Prof Sulaiman further informed that the academic component of the Institute’s mandate will be developed to an enviable world-class standard, while pledging to sustain collaboration with existing global institutions and relevant organisations and also build new partnership.

Since assumption of duty, he has taken time to familiarise with members of staff and departments with a view to understanding salient issues that would be relevant in actualising his vision of driving the institute to greater heights.

Since his appointment, observers and key stakeholders alike, are eager to see how his wealth of experience will come to bear on the institute’s critical function of training, research, bills drafting and analysis and the overall capacity development of the legislature. This is coming in the wake of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.

The alarmingly high turnover rate of the legislature, with 70 per cent of lawmakers elected in the 2019 election being new, the task of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies has become more daunting, even as it is expected to hit the ground running by improving the capacity of legislators to sustain and consolidate democratic governance.

While the institute braces for the arduous task, it is certain that NILDS, under the leadership of Prof Suleiman, will stock and improve the quality of relevant information for members of the national and state assemblies and the general public.

Nevertheless, the institute is mandated to design, analyse and evaluate development policies in Nigeria, especially dealing with macro-economic, socio-political and cultural issues, as may be necessary from time to time.

For the sake of the nation, especially, legislators in the federal and state assemblies as well as the West Africa sub region who want to see vibrant and robust legislative actions and engagements, let’s believe the Midas touch of Prof Sulaiman as the director general of NILDS will yield great achievements for the 9th National Assembly, State Assemblies in Nigeria and legislatures in the Africa region.




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