Extraordinaire Prof. Sulaiman Getting an Encore at NILDS.

Extraordinaire Prof. Sulaiman Getting an Encore at NILDS.

By: Adebayo Jimoh

Inspired by his first tenure as the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, the leadership of the National Assembly has rightly approved another term of four years in office for Professor Abubakar O. Sulaiman, apparently to consolidate on his previous achievements.

This was conveyed in a letter issued by the Chairman NILDS Governing Council and President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, GCON.

Sen. Lawan cited Professor Sulaiman’s “outstanding performance” in office as DG, NILDS, as reason for the renewal of his tenure in office with effect from 28th May, 2023.

Without mincing words, the confidence reposed in Prof. Sulaiman is drawn from his outstanding track record and excellent performance at the helm of affairs of the fast growing Institute.

The institute, which was created by an Act of Parliament and signed into law by the then President Goodluck Jonathan has the mandate of deepening democracy through support to legislative houses at the Federal, State and local government levels and by extension, the ECOWAS sub-region. With the signing of the NILDS (Amendment) Act, 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018, the mandate of the research Institute expanded to include capacity development services to democratic Institutions and governance in Nigeria. Since its creation, the Institute has been delivering on its mandate.

One of the laudable achievements of Prof. Sulaiman’s administration is the establishment of “Democracy Radio,” which is expected to hit the airwaves in May. The radio is first of its kind in this part of the world, and it is expected to educate the listener on government policies and roles and responsibilities of the Legislature in a democratic setting like Nigeria. When fully operational, it will serve as a veritable tool of enlightenment on the activities of the government and Legislature.

This will check the viral misrepresentation of the legislative arm, fuelled by lack of information. The station is expected to be equipped with state of the art multi-media facilities and ultra-modern training and conference centre for smooth operation.

Prof. Sulaiman, a former Minister of National Planning, has also advanced the provision of support services to the Legislature through bill drafting, bill analysis, publications, and other resources, which has contributed immensely to legislative process. In an interview with The Punch Newspaper, published on 29th September, 2019, just few weeks after his appointment, the foremost administrator identified a good Legislature as a sine qua non to good governance, adding that it is why NILDS must live up to delivering on its mandate. He, therefore laid emphasis on capacity building for Legislators and support staff (legislative staff members and aides) to raise the quality of legislation in the country.

To ensure the effectiveness of the research Institute, the Kwara State born Professor of Political Science has ensured that the welfare of staff is top notch for increase in their level of efficiency, confidence, and professionalism.

“Since my assumption, I addressed issues of delayed staff promotion as well as enhancing the capacity of the staff members through national and international training programmes. These initiatives have significantly boosted the morale, productivity, and confidence of staff members who are now showing unwavering commitment to work,” he said.

With the verifiable giant strides recorded by Prof. Sulaiman in the past four years, his reappointment by the leadership of the National Assembly will be applauded by well-meaning Nigerians and relevant stakeholders. It is a right step in the right direction.

However, it is not party time for Prof. Sulaiman as his wealth of experience and expertise is still required to propel NILDS to a global standard in the foreseeable future. In the same vein, more policies and effective implementation to provide support structure for the Legislature will be expected from him and his lieutenants for the delivery of good governance in Nigeria.