By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday charged the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS to continue with the process that would ensure that the legislature is included in school curricula on Civic Education, Social Studies, Government and other related subjects with the aim of improving their contents to bridge the knowledge gaps in the legislature.
Speaking at the end of the finals of the 2021 quiz competition organised by NILDS for senior secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lawan, was delighted that since its inception in 2016, the “competition has become more established involving an increasingly greater number of schools and students.”
Lawan , who was represented by the chairman, Committee on National Identity Management and Population, Senator Seidu Alkali, also said the competition has become an important instrument means for legislative education among schoolchildren in the FCT and charged the institute to make it more entrenched and expanded to cover the six geo-political zones of the country.
He said: “The importance of the quiz competition becomes clearer in view of the fact that the Nigerian legislature is no doubt one of the most misunderstood arms of government. Its activities and impact on good governance at large are misconstrued and there are no formal avenues for teaching students about the legislature both in our primary and secondary schools.
“Using the instrumentality of the quiz competition, the Institute is gradually changing this narrative by promoting awareness, knowledge and understanding of the history, role and function of the Nigerian legislature.”
He added that the competition was part of the Institute’s wider mandate to develop a training curricula for schools and tertiary institutions on democracy, legislative practice and procedure, political culture and development.
In his remarks, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, commended NILDS for organising the competition to provide an opportunity for brilliant students from across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to engage in an exercise that tests and expands the limits of their knowledge.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the chairman, House Committee on Youth Development, Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, noted that “healthy competition of this sort is an important part of the academic and social development of our young people.”
“Through this competition and others like it, we raise a generation of people able to hold their own and perform gracefully under pressure. Young people also learn to be gracious in victory and honourable in defeat. All of these are helpful lessons for the future,” he stressed.
Earlier, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman informed that “the main objective of the competition is to introduce secondary school students, who are the leaders of tomorrow, to the fundamentals of legislative processes and procedures for democratic governance.”
Suleiman observed that over the past six years, the competition has provided motivation for secondary school students in the FCT to study and learn new information on the legislature and democratic governance, adding that it has significantly promoted awareness, knowledge and understanding of the history, role and function of the Nigerian legislature.
NILDS, he further stated had through the competition, also developed positive and informed attitudes towards democracy and democratic governance and therefore informed that the next edition “shall witness participants from students across the country” following
the recent approval of the institute’s Governing Council.
“Indeed, this competition has the potential to become a key instrument in grounding school children, young people and Nigerians in the fundamentals of democratic and legislative processes and practice.The National Assembly and the Institute are desirous of improving knowledge of the legislature and democratic governance in Nigeria at a more systematic level.
“To this effect, the consultations that started with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to develop curriculum on Legislative and Democratic studies for inclusion in the civic Education, Social Studies, Government and other curricular for basic as well as Senior Secondary Education to enrich their contents and bridge the gaps will be vigorously pursued to a logical conclusion,” he stressed.
At the end of the keenly contested competition, Government Secondary School Jikwoyi emerged winner with 62 points while the School for the Gifted, Gwagwalada came second with 56 points and Government Day Secondary School, Abaji occupied the third position with 46 points.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Sulaiman has given the winners of the quiz competition scholarship for the first year in any university of their choice.