Fred Itua, Abuja
A total of 41 out of the 107 confirmed senators-elect cleared for next Tuesday’s inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly, yesterday, openly identified with Ahmad Lawan’s bid to become President of the upper legislative chamber.
This is coming even as Lawan assured Nigerians of the predictable budget cycle in the Ninth National Assembly through collaboration with the executive arm of government.
Of the 41 senators, 35 are members of the ruling All Progress Congress (APC), five belonged to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the remaining one, Ifeanyi Uba from Anambra South, belonged to the Young Peoples Party (YPP).
The five PDP senators-elect who openly identified with Lawan at the unveiling of his legislative agenda held in Abuja, were Clifford Ordia, Mathew Urhoghide, Gershom Bassey, Abba Moro and Lawali Hassan Anka.
The 35 out of the 62 APC Senators-elect at the occasion included Senators Orji Uzor Kalu, Kabiru Gaya, Barau Jibrin, Abubakar Kyari, Teslim Folarin, Dauda Jika and Yakubu Oseni.
Others were: Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, Lola Ashiru, Sadiq Umaru, B. K Amos, Ahmed Baba Kaita, Olalekan Adeola, Uba Sani, Bimal Mohammed, Hezekiah Dimka, Ignatius Longjan, Deggi Eremehi, Abdullahi Sankara and Yahaya Abdullahi.
Also at the event among the APC senators-elect were Opeyemi Bamidele, Olubunmi Adetunbi, Dayo Adeyeye, Isa Jibrin, Tolu Odebiyi, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, Sulyman Kyari, Ovie Omo – Agege, Seidu Alkali, Francis Alimikhena and Robert Ajayi Boroffice.
Danjuma Goje, who stepped down on Thursday for Lawan, was not present at the event. According to Lawan, Goje’s decision not to contest because of his own aspiration was a clear show of leadership, patriotism and sacrifice for national interest and development.
He said the Ninth Senate under his leadership will be one for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and her people and not political parties, religion or geopolitical zones. “As there is no dichotomy between parties here, there will be no dichotomy along party or whatever lines in the 9th Senate,” he said.
Lawan who segmented the focus of the Ninth Senate under his leadership into two said unity of purpose amongst all the senators across party lines is paramount in achieving the second one which lies on what Nigerians are expecting from them.
On Executive/Legislative relationship, he said: “Since we have all seen how unproductive rancorous relationship between the National Assembly and the executive has been over the years, the 9th one will work very cordially with the executive.
“Our relationship with the executive will be driven by national interest anchored on cooperation, partnership and mutual respect.” He, however, said the Ninth Assembly as constitutionally empowered will not be a rubber stamp one to the Executive.
“If there is a need for disagreement in the interest of Nigerians, they will disagree with the executive but with dignity and respect,” he said.
He added that since what Nigerians want from governments, be it the Executive or Legislative arm, is good governance, the Ninth Senate under his leadership will, in collaboration with the House of Representatives, ensure that the required legislative interventions are made for that across the various sectors.
“On Education, the Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 will be amended in ensuring that millions of out-of-school children are made to be in school as a way of addressing the security challenges in the land just as moves being made on diversification of the economy by the government will be legislatively enhanced,” he said. He assured that Nigeria will have a predictable budget cycle as against yearly budget delays.
“The current trend of not having predictable budget cycle does not augur well for the country which by the grace of God, will be addressed by the 9th Senate and by extension, the National Assembly in collaboration with the executive arm of government.
“In achieving this, specific time and window of activities from presentation to consideration, passage and signing into law by the President shall be worked out.”
Lawan promised that the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly shall interface with the executive on the need for early presentation of budget proposals and cooperation during consideration, for speedy passage by the National Assembly.
Present at the event was the duo of Femi Gbajabiamila, who is running for the speakership of the Ninth House of Representatives and Ahmed Wase, who is aspiring for deputy speakership. None of the six female senators-elect across party lines attended the occasion.