Abuja — President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday explained that the Ninth National Assembly resolved to be on the same page with the executive by having a good working relationship to forestall instability.
This is coming just as Senator Biodun Olujimi yesterday took oath of office as senator representing Ekiti South and the eighth female member of the 109-member upper legislative chamber. Lawan hinged the decision of the legislature to collaborate with the executive on the urgent need to enhance productivity in governance. Lawan spoke on Wednesday night at his investiture as a fellow of Geo-information Society of Nigeria (GEOSON).
According to him, a good working relationship between the two arms of government will also forestall the anxiety and instability that a rancorous relationship could produce. Drawing from his 20 years of experience in the National Assembly, Lawan said the past uneasy relationship between the legislature and the executive was not helpful to anyone.
He said: "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, 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 and 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."
The Senate president emphasised that 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.
Further justifying the position, Lawan stated that the Ninth National Assembly would continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari because it believed that the fight between the legislature and the executive did not help anyone. Meanwhile, the Minority Leader in the Eighth Senate, Senator Olujimi, was yesterday sworn-in as senator representing Ekiti South in the National Assembly.
With Olujimi's return to the ninth Senate, the number of female senators has increased to eight as against seven female who served in the Eighth Senate. Olujimi's swearing in was sequel to the nullification of senatorial mandate of Prince Adedayo Adeyeye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last Wednesday by the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna.
After the administration of oath of office and oath of allegiance on Olujimi by the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Nelson Ayewoh, Lawan, in his remarks, said with Olujimi's return to the Senate, the number of female senators in the Senate has increased to eight.
The seven other female senators are Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central), Aishatu Dahiru (APC Adamawa Central), Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West), Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra North) and Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central).
Others are Senators Rose Oko (PDP Cross River North) and Akon Eyakenyi (PDP Akwa Ibom South).
The latest breakdown of the membership composition of the Senate across party lines shows that the number of APC senators has decreased from 64 to 63, while that of PDP increased from 43 to 44, YPP still has one seat while the remaining seat which is Kogi West, will be decided by the rerun election slated for this Saturday between Dino Melaye of PDP and Smart Adeyemi of APC.