Fred Itua, Abuja
Contrary to the notion that the ninth Senate would be a rubber stamp, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has revealed that the ninth Assembly would scrutinise projects and contracts executed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his welcome address, yesterday, when the Senate reconvened from its three-week break, he said the various standing committees, which were yet to be constituted, would monitor and supervise projects to be undertaken by the Executive arm of government.
“I intend to work closely with President Buhari in the interest of Nigeria without compromising the integrity of the National Assembly as an independent arm of government with oversight powers.
“As lawmakers, one of the powerful tools we have for our work is the power of oversight which is meant to enhance transparency and accountability.
“In exercising these powers, we will not only review, monitor and supervise projects being implemented by the executive, we will critically examine them vis-à-vis the cost and whether they align with our national aspirations.
“And we will follow the progress of these projects right from conception to when they are finally delivered to the people, but we will do so with every sense of responsibility.
“The system of checks and balances which we practice in Nigeria today was enshrined to safeguard the values of justice and the rule of law and deliver public good.
“Therefore, in a season when majority of Nigerians are more concerned with outcomes that reflect their concerns, the best way to serve that interest is through cooperation and collaboration.”
He said given the dwindling resources amidst rising population, the executive and legislature must work together to deliver essential services to Nigerians.
“So, in exercising our mandate as lawmakers, we must at all times, and in all circumstances, be guided by how our action will positively impact the greater majority of our people.
“Each of us, as lawmakers, must also resolve that the exchange of views, especially within this hallowed chambers, will be constructive and that we will respect one another.
“On my part, I pledge to lead in a bipartisan and unifying manner.’’
Lawan said the Senate would help the executive to reinvigorate the war against corruption with necessary legislations.
He announced a 13-member adhoc committee to fashion out a Legislative Agenda for the ninth Senate.
The Agenda is a policy document that contains the direction of the lawmaking body.
Lawan also said efforts on how best to tackle growing inequality, security challenge would be part of the legislative agenda.
The 13-member committee which has former governor of Kebbi State, Mohammed Adamu Aliero as chairman, has two weeks to submit its report.
He said the Senate would also consolidate on the oil sector reforms started by the eighth assembly.