By lawal Jet Kaugama
There have been calls for many unwilling statesmen and women to show interest in the exalted office of the president of Nigeria, but to me, no one deserves that position like the President of the Senate of the NinthAssembly, Ahmad Lawan. The antecedents and political pedigree of the senator makes him a fit replacement for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ahmad Lawan has seen it all. He had been the Senate Leader in the Eight Assembly whose leadership had almost run the country aground because of the constant tussle with presidency.
One of the most manifesting power plays is that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum wants the president who will be elected in 2023 general elections to come from among themselves. But unfortunately none of them has the antecedents which could be compared to that of Ahmad Lawan. Senator Lawan has gone through the gamut of legislative business, having been in the National Assembly for more than a decadein a stretch.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) must be careful. Any attempt to impose any governor on the people will spell doom for the party.
Lawan’s selflessness and simplicity of life and patriotism set him poles apart from all the seekers of the exalted office. As far as hebelongs to the ruling party, it is not a bad idea for the party’s leadership to make him the consensus candidate.
Nigerians will remember the Ninth Assembly for its achievements and the prominent name to remember is that of its Senate President Lawan.
One of the achievements of the Senate under Lawan is the improvement in security and revenue generation which has topped on the top of their legislative agenda since his assumption of leadership of the Senate.Nigerians will surely remember the Ninth Senate for its outstanding legislative achievements after the end of its lifespan in May 29, 2023.
Senate under Lawan remains committed to serving the interest of Nigerians in the discharge of its constitutional duties; this set it apart from the previous Assembly where there had been always constitutional tussle between it and the presidency. Name-calling by detractors was unable to deter the upper chamber from considering and passing pro-people legislations needed for the development and advancement of Nigeria’s dire needs for a rise in her Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Though Lawan often pays a price for his unflinching patriotism, remains unshakable in the face of mounting pressure to go to war with the presidency as done previously in the Eight Seenate. The detractors go as far as calling the Senate under Lawan the presidency’s rubber stamp, not knowing that separation of power in a democratic setting isnot designed in such a way that the legislature and the presidency have to fight unnecessary battles. Senate must play its constitutional role of law making. Nigerians must not know that the Senate is working only when they oppose the presidency for good or bad policies.
The majority of Nigerians are satisfied with what the Senate under Lawan is doing, even though they may have their shortcoming as humans.
Here is a patriot who is preoccupied with policies that are in the best interest of Nigerians. As Senate president, he has far wider constituency; all Nigeria is his constituency, and in doing so, he is blind to ethnic or religious loyalties.Senate aware of the insecurity in the country, uses oversight funds appropriated in this year’s budget to equip the armed forces andsister security agencies for the enormous fight against terrorists and bandits. The welfare of military and security personnel are not leftout of the calculation.
Although Lawan and his colleagues had achieved so much in their legislative business, the dynamism of Nigeria and her people, dwarfs their achievements. The more they are committed to the fight against terror, the more banditry and kidnapping for ransom intensify their criminal activities.
The Ninth Senate kept their promise of addressing the challenges of revenue generation, collection and remittance, which are necessary in the day-to-day running of government business. This will help reduceNigeria’s dependence on external borrowings necessary for the execution of capital projects defined in the national budget.
Lawan as the president of the Senate, made President Buhari grant assent to Bills more than any president in the past. Records show that between 2015 and 2021, President Buhari had assented to more than 84 Bills, the highest since 1999, which was possible through a popular Senate president.
Available data show that President Olusegun Obasanjo signed a total of 82 Bills into law between 1999 and 2006; President Umaru Yar’Adua signed 38 Bills into law between 2007 and 2009; while President Goodluck Jonathan signed 40 Bills into law between 2010 and 2915.
For more than three decades, the National Assembly had attempted to reform the petroleum industry without much success. It was first introduced in the 6th Assembly (2007-2011) but failed to scale through. Similar efforts by the 7th Assembly failed to secure concurrence by the Senate while in the 8th Assembly, the Bill was passed but failed to secure presidential assent. But the power of Lawan’s superior debate and good leadership qualities ensured that the jinx was broken.
The Electoral Act (2010) Amendment Bill was another of milestone of the Ninth Assembly. The law will strengthen our electoral process and further reinforce public confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Senator Ahmad Lawan has played his role efficiently in the National Assembly and it is the hope of all patriots to call him for a highernational assignment, that is, the presidency. Lawan’s candidacy by APC means sure victory for all Nigerians.
Kaugama writes from Dutse, Jigawa state
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily