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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The performance of the Nigerian National Assembly in the Fourth Republic has been profoundly ambivalent and contradictory. On one hand, the assembly has passed significant constitutional amendments and electoral reforms, curbed executive abuses, and functioned as a veritable platform for interethnic negotiation and conciliation. On the other hand, the assembly has often abused or underperformed its core functions of legislation, oversight, representation, and constituency engagement, thereby attracting widespread opprobrium for its ineffectiveness, obstructiveness, venality, and impunity. This chapter discusses the assembly’s conflicted record in terms of a disjuncture between its robust empowerment under the 1999 Constitution and its undermining by the corrupt, prebendal undercurrents of Nigerian political economy. Despite the creativity and relevance of current constitutional debates for reforming and improving the legislature, the pervasive and entrenched nature of prebendal structures are likely to make legislative ambivalence a long-term feature of Nigerian governance and politics.

Keywords: neopatrimonial, prebendalism, constitution, corruption, representation, legislature, constituency

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