By Katherine Boyce
NCSL received a delegation from the Conference of State Legislatures of Nigeria (COSLON) in Denver from March 13-16.
The delegation—Olakunle Oluomo, deputy speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly; Ezeugwe Meletus, leader, Enugu State House of Assembly; and Ogana Lukpata, deputy whip, Cross River State House of Assembly—came to explore NCSL’s model for an effective member organization for sub-national legislatures. COSLON, formed last year, seeks to “ensure the independence, quality, effectiveness and engender unity of purpose among the 36 State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria.”
The delegation met with more than a dozen NCSL staff and heard about NCSL’s history, mission, structure, budget, communications and constituent services.
They also learned about the roles of state legislatures, and discussed the similarities and differences between the sub-national bodies in Nigeria and the United States.
On March 15, the delegation visited the Colorado State Legislature to have an exchange with their counterparts, observe how legislative committees function, and learn about the budget process. They spoke with Senate President Kevin Grantham and were greeted by the full Senate on the floor at the opening of the day.
Afterwards, they met with House Speaker Crisanta Duran and discussed their motivations to enter politics, finding common ground across national boundaries.
In the Senate, the Nigerian delegation connected with Senator Angela Williams, who spoke at length about NCSL’s role as a support and convener for legislators and legislative staff. Finally, they rounded out the day with a fantastic meeting with Julie Pelegrin of the Office of Legal Services and Craig Harper of the Joint Budget Committee.
Katherine Boyce is a policy associate for International Programs at NCSL.