BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Troubled by insinuations in the public domain about the National Assembly’s lack of independence, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan says they will not be distracted from making effective legislations to positively affect the lives of Nigerians.
Not mincing words in dismissing claims that the ninth National Assembly is a ‘rubber stamp’ Legislature, Senator Lawan said no amount of blackmail will discourage the lawmakers from partnering the executive arm of government to improve the people’s welfare.
He said though the current legislators have been ‘terribly misunderstood’, “The ninth National Assembly is a National Assembly that is focused, that is united, that is determined to make a positive difference in the lives of Nigerians.”
“We are so terribly misunderstood that when we say that we are going to work with the Executive arm of government in a very harmonious and productive manner, some people, some out of misunderstanding, some out of mischief, say it’s a rubber stamp National Assembly.
“But let me say this: no amount of distractions or blackmail will stop us from being united in the National Assembly for the benefit of Nigerians who elected us and nothing will discourage us from working with the executive arm of government for the betterment of our country”, the Senate president said.
Reacting to a surprised birthday presentation by his North East Support Group at the Dutse Airport in Jigawa state on the way to his Yobe North Senatorial District, Senator Lawan said: “As a legislature, we know where our limits lie in terms of cooperation and in working with the executive arm of government. But we are going to give the President and his team every possible legislative support that they require to make this country better and greater.
“Where we feel that there is a breach of procedures and processes by the executive arm of government, we will insist that the right things are done.
“So it doesn’t mean that because we are peaceful and that we are cordial with the executive arm of government that we are rubber stamp but that is something that will not distract us.
“We have seen what a “rubber stamp” National Assembly could do. We have already passed so many important and critical legislations within the last six months and if that is what we can be achieving with that kind of understanding, so be it.”
Senator Lawan, who returned to Nigeria on Thursday after about three weeks private visit abroad, expressed satisfaction with the prevailing cordiality among National Assembly members, even as he solicited the support and understanding of Nigerians in the overall interest of the country.
“Our colleagues in the Senate, particularly and generally in the National Assembly, have given us every support that we need to perform our functions as a legislature.”
The Senate President, who spoke through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, said; “We are going to continue to seek for your support and understanding and the support of all Nigerians in this enterprise.
“We believe governance is not only for those who are elected or appointed. Governance is for everybody. Those who are elected and appointed and those who will hold the offices in trust for.”
Seeking divine intervention in the nation’s affairs, Senator Lawan said; “So you should continue to pray for us. You should continue to advise us. You should continue to ensure that we don’t derail.”