By Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser (Media), Senate President’s Office
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the ninth National Assembly decided to work in harmony with the executive arm of government to enhance productivity in governance.
Lawan said a good working relationship between the two arms of government will also forestall the anxiety and instability that a rancorous relationship could bring about.
The Senate President spoke late on Wednesday in Abuja at his investiture as a fellow of Geoinformation Society of Nigeria (GEOSON).
Lawan, who holds a doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/GIS, veered into politics in 1997 and has been a member of the National Assembly since 1999.
Lawan, speaking from his experience in the National Assembly, said the past uneasy relationship between the Legislature and the Executive was not helpful to anyone.
“While l served for five tenures in the past, I experienced various situations of Legislature/Executive relationships and of course the outcome, mostly undesirable.
“At one point, we almost impeached the President at that time, President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, his first tenure, when I was in the House of Representatives. The Executive and Legislature never had a decent operational and workable relationship and Nigeria and Nigerians suffered for four years in the first instance.
“The second tenure, I think the President became wiser and the relationship improved and our productivity as a government also improved. So I watched how bad relationship, rancorous relationship between the Executive and the Legislature caused so much anxiety instability in the land.
“We made a conscious decision this year 2019 when we ran for the office of President of the Senate. We told ourselves that we are first and foremost representatives of Nigerians. We came on different platforms, vehicles that took us to the construction site. And of course, at the construction site, all of us are supposed to work together to construct that structure,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said, to avoid the pitfall of the past, there was a conscious decision to have a National Assembly, particularly the Senate, that is bi-partisan and work for the collective interest of the people.
Lawan said the ninth National Assembly will support President Muhammadu Buhari because “we believe that fight between the legislature and the executive does not help anyone.
“The legislators will still collect their salaries. The ministers will collect theirs. But the country suffers. And you will regret after you leave office because you can show anything that will justify the number of years you have served.
“We said we will work with the executive arm of government in such a manner that there is mutual respect. They respect us. We respect them. We are not going to be unnecessarily difficult but we are going to be thorough.
“Where our oversight is required, we will do so with utmost responsibility but we will ensure that there is prudence and there is efficiency in the management of the public fund by the executive arm of government.
“And where we disagree with them, we will agree on the basis of facts and reasons. We don’t have to go to the market square to fight. We will insist, let the national interest define and determine the outcome of our disagreement. Let’s all work for the national interest. And that is what we intend to do.”
Lawan said the legislature is the most important but the least understood arm of government.
“The legislature is the least understood arm of government but it is also the most important arm of government because until the legislature legislate, the executive will have very little to do.
“Any policy the executive pursues without legislation is an endangered policy. Either the government in power could decide at any point to jettison and discontinue with that policy or another government will come and throw it out.
“Until the legislature is able to put it into a form and shape that this is desired, this is going to make life better for the citizens and therefore deserves to be sustained.
“So we have to continue to work very hard in a career that is not understood. The legislature, we have very little way of informing people that we represent what we do when we represent them. And majority of people don’t even understand what we do. It is our duty to ensure that people that send us to the legislature understand what we do,” Lawan said.