The Senate vs House of Assembly
Have you ever wondered what’s going on in the senate house and the house of assembly, both of which comprises of the national assembly. As we already know, the two houses constitute the legislative bodies of the Nigerian government which is one of the three arms of government. I want us to study these two houses in this article and try to discover the differences between them.
In reality, there isn’t really any distinction between the Senate and the house of assembly. They were designed to perform as a bi_cameral system which means that they are two legislative chambers who are tasked with making the laws of the land amongst other things.
Is the senate truly stronger than the house of Reps?
However, many people are of the opinion that the senate house is the more powerful legislative assembly. This statement isn’t just an assumption, it is not backed by any written constitution. So it’s only a claim without any constitutional support.
Why some people say that the Senate is above the House of Reps
There are a few things that differentiate the two which means little depending on how you look at it.
1. The age for contesting in the senate: The law says that people below the age of 35 years cannot contest in the senate while the age limit for contesting in the house of Reps is just 30 years. Based off this, many has said that the senate holds more power than the other house but this claim lacks solid coverage.
2. In a meeting of the senate and the house of Reps, the president of the senate will preside. However in his absence, the speaker of the house of Reps will preside.
For the mere fact that the president of the senate will preside in a meeting of both houses, many people suggest that the senate is greater. But let’s not forget that in the absence of the senate president, the speaker of the house of Reps will preside over such a meeting. Many house of Reps apologists argue that if the senate was truly above the house of Reps then the Deputy president of the senate would have sat in if the president is not around instead of the speaker of the house of Reps.
The Difference in the Duties of both Houses
There’s a slight difference in the type of laws that either party upholds. Although there’s no law assigning such duties to any houses, it has been the conventional way of doing things for these duties to be split between the Senate and house of assembly. We know that
1. The senate is more concerned with approving top presidential appointments
2. The senate is also concerned with handling treaties
3. The house of Reps deals majorly with impeachment and all matters relating to Revenue-raising bills
Is there really any Upper or Lower House?
We are now familiar with the foreign concept of an upper and a lower house which is not constitutional. Yes, there’s no where in the constitution that talks about an upper and a lower house.
How did we come by these terms then?
1. Media: perhaps, in a bid to find a common name or an adjective for the two houses, the Nigerian media has coined these.
2. Misconceptions: Yes, as we have pointed out above, there’s a general notion that the senate is stronger than the house of Reps and this have led to people adopting an artificial higher and lower house.
Note: the House of Reps has more lawmakers than the Senate House. Some meanings can be derived from this as well. One may say that since the senate has fewer seats, it’s a more contested position hence a higher place. But it’s not enough to proof that the senate is more than the house of reaps I guess.
Financial Benefits of Senate over House of Reps
As a member of the senate, you also enjoy higher monthly salary than the members of the house of Reps.
Again, is this financial benefit enough to say that the senate is higher than the house of Reps?
One important thing to consider is whether one house can cancel a bill or law already passed by the other and to the best of my knowledge, the answer is NO.
If for anything, both houses are designed to work as one and maybe we should begin to see them as one and save time on arguing over things like, who pass who while we focus on how to make things work.
I trust this piece has duly informed you. My conclusion is that there is no legal superior house between the house of Reps and the senate. All we have is what people think based on how they see things.