Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Senate Presidency frontline aspirant, Ahmed Lawan, yesterday bemoaned the Supreme Court judgment, which invalidated the elections of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State in the February and March polls .
He described the judgment as a huge setback to the ruling party, though he said the development would not affect the party’s dominance in the Senate.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Lawan, who is Senate majority leader, dismissed claims in some quarters that members of the National Assembly are earning outrageous wages and emoluments.
He argued that what the lawmakers are receiving are in tandem with the job they do, saying that the claims made were not based on facts. He said that his monthly salary is a little above N700,000, explaining the lawmakers are paid N13 million to enable them carry out their legal assignments.
According to him, everywhere in the world where democracy is practiced lawmakers are entitled to top class consultants and aides who assist them to deliver on their mandate.
Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling on Zamfara elections, the lawmaker said: “ The Supreme Court judgment that nullified the election of all APC candidates in Zamfara State was a setback to the party.”
On the impact of the development to the configuration in the Senate, he said: “APC had 65 senators before the judgment. With the judgment the party will now have 62 senators, PDP has 44, YPP has one. In Imo State, we are expecting that APC will have the two seats remaining. One seat is that of Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing governor and the other is Senator Ben Uwajumogu. If we get the two APC will have 64 senators. So, APC is still clearly the party in the majority.”
He, however, stressed that the focus should not be the configuration of the chamber, but who the lawmakers would work in unity to address key challenges facing the country like insecurity.
“What is important to me is not the distribution, the figure for each party. What is important is our ability to come together, to work together for the benefit of Nigerians. I believe, as senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria our utmost concern and focus must be Nigeria- whether someone is APC, PDP, YPP, we are supposed to serve the country. In every constituency we have almost all the parties represented. When you have something good you don’t discriminate against people that don’t belong to your party. God forbid, when there is any setback, any unwholesome development in the senatorial district nobody would be asked his party, nobody would be freed on the ground that he belongs to a particular party,” he said.
On his aspiration to lead the Senate, he dismissed the insinuation that he would be a puppet to the executive, saying that he would do his best to ensure cordial relationship with the executive, but not at the expense of the independence of the Senate.