The Clerk to the Senate, Mr Ben Akubueze disclosed that the annual Internship programmes organized by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) has helped in correcting the negative narratives about the National Assembly.
Mr Akubueze stated this in Abuja, during the inaugural Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) Legislative Internship Programme Alumni convening’ with the support of the European Union’s EU-SDGN II Project.
The Clerk of the Senate who is part of the Internship training programmes, also expressed optimism that the hundreds of young Nigerians who have gone through the PLAC Internship programmes “will continue to impact their various places of work at the moment.
“Many of them came into the National Assembly as Interns and for many of them it was their first introduction to the National Assembly and the workings of the National Assembly.
“And given the facts that there are many narratives about what the National Assembly stands for, having such a large number of young Nigerians with immense potentials coming to work at the National Assembly as Interns, has been very beneficial to both the National Assembly, to they themselves and to the larger Nigerian society.
“I do remember one of them from the 2019 class stating that before he came as an Intern at the National Assembly, that all he believed about the National Assembly was negative, but now that he knows coming close to the National Assembly as an Intern exposed him to the huge work that is going on at the National Assembly.
“So, I will say it’s mutually beneficial relationship both for them and the National Assembly and all to the benefit of the nation at large.”
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Speaking during a media chat at the sideline of the inauguration of the Interns, PLAC Executive Director, Dr Clement Nwankwo described the Interns as “very active Nigeria’s young persons that are following Nigeria’s political development and they want to see a better country for Nigeria.
“They are very enlightened; they are not clouded by the primordial political issues that we are faced with.
“So, they exactly know that the next election is important for them and most important for them for them to share their experiences and talk about what they have learnt where they are and how much they want to see this country develop and improve,” Dr Nwankwo noted.
According to the Organisers, PLAC’s Legislative Internship Programme is an annual programme aimed at improving youth participation and engagement with the governance and legislative process, particularly by seeking to create a better understanding of democratic institutions such as the National Assembly.
The internship programme was instituted in 2013 with support from the Department for International Development (DFID) and ran until 2015. It was reinstated in 2018 with support from the European Union (EU) and has continued annually since then. Over 200 young Nigerians have benefitted from this programme since its inception in 2013.
The current 2022 cohort is made up of 38 brilliant young Nigerians between 21 and 35 years of age, drawn from Nigeria’s six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
These interns are currently deployed to various legislative committees in the National Assembly to provide administrative support and learn first-hand, the workings of the Nigerian legislature for a period of 10 weeks.
PLAC is now scaling up the programme by organising this maiden Alumni network convening with a view to bring together, past and current interns with the aim of fostering a strong networking platform, following up on interns’ progress and tracking the long-term impact of the internship programme.