Difference Between House of Representatives & Senate in Nigeria

Last updated on October 5th, 2023 at 09:47 pm

The Nigerian government is a federal system that operates on a bicameral legislature, which is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Although both chambers have similar functions, there are significant differences between the two. Understanding these differences is essential for anyone interested in the Nigerian political process.

Difference Between House of Representatives and Senate in Nigeria

The House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the National Assembly, while the Senate is the upper chamber. The House of Representatives has 360 members who are elected to represent constituencies across Nigeria. In contrast, the Senate has 109 members, with three senators representing each state and one senator representing the Federal Capital Territory. The Senate is considered the more prestigious of the two chambers, and its members are often seen as more influential than those in the House of Representatives.

OVERVIEW OF NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE

Nigeria is a federal republic with a presidential system of government. The country’s government structure consists of three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The Executive Branch is responsible for implementing and enforcing laws. It is headed by the President, who is both the head of state and the head of government. The President is elected by popular vote for a four-year term and can serve a maximum of two terms. The Vice President assists the President in carrying out his duties.

The Executive Branch also includes the Cabinet, which is made up of ministers appointed by the President. The Cabinet advises the President on policy matters and oversees the various government ministries and agencies.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The Legislative Branch is responsible for making laws. It consists of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is made up of 109 members, while the House of Representatives has 360 members. Members of both chambers are elected for a four-year term.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have separate powers and responsibilities, but they work together to make laws. Bills must pass through both chambers before they can be signed into law by the President.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

The Judicial Branch is responsible for interpreting and applying laws. It is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and includes the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Courts. Judges are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. See Hierarchy of Courts in Nigeria & Jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and has final authority on legal matters. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from lower courts, while the High Courts have jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

The House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of the National Assembly in Nigeria, with the other being the Senate. The House is made up of 360 members who are elected to represent the 360 federal constituencies in Nigeria. The members are elected for a term of four years and can be re-elected for subsequent terms.

The Constitution of Nigeria requires that the composition of the House of Representatives reflects the federal character of Nigeria. This means that each state in Nigeria must be represented in the House of Representatives, and the number of representatives from each state is determined by the population of the state.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

The House of Representatives is responsible for making laws for the peace, order, and good government of Nigeria. The House has the power to initiate bills, amend bills, and pass bills into law. The House also has the power to investigate any matter of public interest, including the conduct of public officials.

The House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker, who is elected by the members of the House. The Speaker is assisted by the Deputy Speaker, who is also elected by the members of the House. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are responsible for presiding over the sittings of the House and ensuring that the rules of the House are followed.

In addition to its legislative functions, the House of Representatives also has the power to approve the budget of the federal government and to oversee the activities of the executive branch of government. The House can also impeach the President or Vice President of Nigeria if they are found to have committed any impeachable offense.

THE SENATE

COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

The Senate is the upper chamber of the National Assembly of Nigeria. It consists of 109 members, each representing one of the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. Each state is represented by three senators, while the Federal Capital Territory is represented by one senator. Senators are elected for a term of four years, and there are no term limits.

To be eligible to run for the Senate, a person must be a citizen of Nigeria, at least 35 years old, and a member of a political party. The Senate is led by the Senate President, who is elected by the senators themselves. The Senate President is assisted by the Deputy Senate President and other principal officers.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

The Senate has several functions and powers, including:

  • Lawmaking: The Senate has the power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Nigeria. It can initiate bills, amend bills passed by the House of Representatives, and pass bills into law.
  • Confirmation: The Senate has the power to confirm certain appointments made by the President of Nigeria, such as ministerial appointments, ambassadorial appointments, and appointments to certain government agencies.
  • Oversight: The Senate has the power to oversee the activities of the executive branch of government, including the President, Vice President, and other government officials. It can investigate government agencies and officials, and can summon them to appear before the Senate.
  • Impeachment: The Senate has the power to impeach the President, Vice President, and other government officials for misconduct in office. An impeachment trial is conducted by the Senate, and a two-thirds majority vote is required to remove an official from office.

COMPARISON OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE

The table below show the differences between the Senate (upper house) and House of Representatives (lower house) in Nigeria.

Aspect Senate (Nigeria) House of Representatives (Nigeria)
Size 109 Senators 360 Representatives
Representation 3 Senators from each of the 36 states + 1 from FCT Representation based on population in various districts
Term Length 4 years 4 years
Eligibility Age 35 years and above 30 years and above
Exclusive Powers Confirming certain presidential appointments, ratifying treaties Initiating impeachment proceedings, bills concerning revenue and appropriations
Legislative Process Participates in bill readings and votes Participates in bill readings and votes
Leadership Led by the Senate President, elected from among Senators Led by the Speaker, elected from among Representatives
Committee Participation Participates in numerous committees for scrutiny of bills and policies Participates in numerous committees for scrutiny of bills and policies

DIFFERENCES IN COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

The Nigerian House of Representatives and Senate are two distinct chambers of the National Assembly. While the House of Representatives is composed of 360 members, the Senate has 109 members. The House of Representatives is often referred to as the lower house, while the Senate is known as the upper house.

The members of the House of Representatives are elected for a term of four years, while the members of the Senate are elected for a term of four years as well, but on a staggered basis. The Senate is made up of three senators from each of the 36 states of Nigeria and one senator from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The House of Representatives, on the other hand, is made up of members elected from each of the 360 federal constituencies in Nigeria.

DIFFERENCES IN FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

The House of Representatives and Senate have different functions and powers. The House of Representatives has the power to initiate bills on any matter, except those that relate to the imposition of taxes, borrowing money, or the appropriation of funds. The Senate, on the other hand, has the power to initiate bills on any matter, including those that relate to the imposition of taxes, borrowing money, or the appropriation of funds.

The House of Representatives has the power to investigate any matter of public interest, while the Senate has the power to investigate any matter that affects the federation as a whole. Both chambers have the power to approve or reject appointments made by the President of Nigeria.

In terms of impeachment proceedings, the House of Representatives has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President or Vice President of Nigeria, while the Senate has the power to try and remove the President or Vice President from office.

CONCLUSION

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives in Nigeria have a significant role to play in the legislative process, governance, and representation of the Nigerian people. Their roles are established and defined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The House of Representatives and the Senate are two chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly with distinct functions. While the House of Representatives represents the people and is responsible for initiating bills, the Senate represents the states and has the power to confirm appointments and ratify treaties.


Discover more from Nigerian Queries

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

join us on telegram join our whatsapp channel

Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Bethel says:

    I find this very helpful. Thank you, Oluchi

Leave a Reply