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Members of the national assembly of led by the deputy speaker of the house of representatives, honourable chukwuemeka nkem ihedioha, visited the spani

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, HonourableChukwuemekaNkemIhedioha led a six-man delegation of members of the National Assembly, on an Exchange of Experience visit to the Spanish Parliament from 10th - 12th June, 2013. Other members of the delegation were Senator AtaiAidoko Ali, Honourable Ahmed Muktar Mohammed, HonourableGarbaDatti, Honourable Raphael NnannaIgbokwe and Honourable Anthony Madwatte.The Exchange of Experience visit was organized by the Nigerian Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), Abuja, in conjunction with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), as part of capacity building to strengthen the parliamentary functions of members of the National Assembly.The visit commenced with the visit to the Senate of the Kingdom of Spain on Monday, 10th June, 2013. The delegation was received by the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Mr. Pio Garcia-Escudero Marquez and Senator Joseph MaldanoiGili, President of AWEPA, Spain Chapter. Thereafter, the leader of the Nigerian delegation had a tete-a-tete meeting with the President of the Senate. There was a photo session which was preceded by the signing of the visitors' book and exchange of gifts by the President of the Senate and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.In his welcome remarks, the President of the Senate expressed delight in receiving the delegation to the Senate in particular and to the Kingdom of Spain in general. He stressed the need for constant interface with the legislature in Nigeria in order to promote strong bilateral relations and advance the cause of democratization in emerging democracies such as Nigeria. He noted that the visit, which was the first from the Nigerian legislature, was important in order to share valuable experiences and to understand the structure and operations of other democracies. He wished the delegation a fruitful visit.In his response, the leader of the Nigerian delegation, Hon. EmekaIhedioha, thanked the President of the Senate for the warm reception accorded the delegation since their arrival in Madrid. He noted that the visit was part of the series of programmes and trainings being undertaken by the legislative arm of the government in Nigeria, to build requisite capacities and strengths among members of the National Assembly in order to offer quality representation to the people. He underlined the need to build strong institutions to safeguard the fragile and nascent democracies in Africa through collaborations with established democracies like Spain. He expressed the hope that the expected outcome of the visit and experience would impact positively in the work of members of the delegation upon their return home.Later, the delegation had a guided tour of the Senate building including the plenary halls, committee rooms, library, and the lounges amongst others. After the guided tour of the senate building, there was an interactive working session, during which, there was a presentation on the structure, functions, organization, powers etc of the Senate as well as the relationship between the Senate and the Congress on the one hand and the Executive on the other hand. There were question and answer sessions on budgeting processes, legislative oversight functions, constitutional review processes, the role of parliament in poverty reduction and eradication, Spanish parliamentary experience in policy research and documentation, Executive - Legislators interface, capacity building for parliamentarians, electoral processes and management amongst others. After the working session, the delegation was hosted to a lunch by the President of AWEPA Spain, Senator Joseph MaldanoiGili.On the second day of the visit, Tuesday, 11th, June, 2013, the delegation visited the Congress of Deputies where they were warmly received by the President of the Congress, His Excellency, Mr. Jesus Maria Posada Moreno and the AWEPA team. After exchange of pleasantries, signing of visitor's book, and photo sessions, there was an exchange of gift by the President of the Congress and the leader of the Nigerian delegation. The President of the Congress of Deputies, His Excellency, Mr. Jesus Maria Posada Moreno in his welcome remarks, thanked the delegation for coming to the Kingdom of Spain and expressed the hope that the visit would be rewarding and would meet the expected outcome. He wished the delegation a successful and fruitful visit. Responding, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, HonourableEmekaIhedioha thanked the President of the Congress of Deputies for the warm and cordial reception and noted that the experience has been quite revealing and rewarding. He stressed the need for regular interface between and among parliamentarians from different countries in order to equip elected representatives of the people with the requisite experience to deal with particular challenges in their various countries. He extended an invitation to the President of the Congress of Deputies and his colleagues to visit the Nigerian National Assembly in order to further strengthen the cordial relations subsisting between the two countries. Thereafter, the delegation undertook a guided tour of the Congress of Deputies building. There were also working sessions and presentations on the structure, organization, role of the congress in governance, relationship between the Congress of Deputies and the Senate and the powers of the Congress of Deputies. They were questions and comments sessions during which the delegation asked various questions regarding the structure, functions, powers, electoral processes, budgeting and legislative oversight functions amongst others.Later in the night, the delegation was hosted to a dinner by the Embassy of the Nigeria. As part of the programme, the delegation had a guided tour of the city of Madrid, before their departure. AWEPA, established over thirty years ago with Headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is made up of all the European Union members and supports institutional capacity, thematic competence and oversight. It was established to strengthen African parliaments and African - European parliamentary relations. It works in cooperation with African parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy, to keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe and to facilitate Africa - European parliamentary dialogue. The exchange of experience visit was a success bearing in mind the objective of the visit, which to a large extent was to share valuable experience in order to enhance and build the requisite capacity in parliamentary functions. The delegation was able to study the structure and functions of the Spanish parliament as well as the working relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.The legislative interface and dialogue has the capacity to broaden the knowledge and strengthen the competence of law makers as they are intended to share, compare and contrast experiences in order to have deeper perspectives in law making with parliamentarians of older and more enduring democracies.

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