The last two years have been a new down for the Nigerian Senate.
Inaugurated on 11 June, 2019, the election that produced Ahmad Lawan was interesting.
It was his second attempt after losing to Abubakar Bukola Saraki in 2015. In the countdown to the 2019 contest, Lawan had something working for him – the party anointed him for the contest and his alignment with the opposition lawmakers.
After emerging as Senate President, their resolution was a national assembly that worked for Nigerians. They make history every day either negative or positive.
Despite their agreement and disagreement in the red chamber, their special session to mark the two years of their legislative journey became interesting.
They were still divided over their performances in the last two years as they debated their midterm achievements.
The Minority Leader of the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia) when called by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan to speak on the special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, declined, saying “the minority leader has no comment.”
But a former governor of Benue state, Senator Gabriel Suswam, who is a Senator under the platform of the PDP, said he was sent to speak for the Benue people.
Suswam said as a parliament, they have achieved a lot despite the insecurity challenges.
He said they have taken far reaching decisions on security issues in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, but the executive has refused to implement the decisions of the Senate.
He said that an electoral act should be passed with electronic transmission and card reader, adding that Nigerians will clap for the parliament if that is done.
Another PDP lawmaker, Senator Chukwuka Utazi said the executive and the legislative relationship has been good, adding that they have lived up to the expectation of Nigerians.
He said unemployment is on the increase, stating that they must devise means of tackling it. He said President Muhammadu Buhari should declare herdsmen carrying weapons and destroying communities as terrorists.
He said that it is the duty of the parliament to look into issues why some Nigerians are agitating, adding that the issue of restructuring should be considered in the constitution amendment.
Sen Adamu Aliero who said he designed the agenda of the 9th Senate, said one of their achievements is their ability to restore the budget circle
Mathew Urhoghide (Edo South) said the approach on insecurity issues need to be changed adding that they must adopt the carrots and stick option.
“We have made all conscious efforts. Making all kinds of allocations but the Nigerian state have not met with the heads of these insurgents. The federal government must take a step to contain the security issues,” he said.
Senator Akpan Bassey said they must ensure they unite the country in the next two years.
But the Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, said Nigerians are looking up to them to come up with an electoral act that will ensure transparency.
“We need to do more than passing the bulk to the executive. Nigerians are asking questions about the size of our government. Our budget is going to capital expenditure,” he said.
But the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said their Legislative Agenda guided them in the pursuit of their constitutional mandates of lawmaking, representation and oversight.
“We would recall that the Agenda was developed against the backdrop of an underperforming economy, security challenges, unemployment and a myriad of other socio-economic problems. The thrust of the Agenda was
therefore to contribute solutions to those and other challenges and restore the hope of Nigerians in their country, and their confidence in its democratic institutions.”
“We passed several resolutions as part of our legislative interventions and kept engaging with the Executive in order to achieve the desired outcome,” Lawan said.
Even though most of the resolutions on insecurity were not implemented by the executive, the Senate president said Nigerians must learn to put the blame where it belongs.