The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has given account of how the Ninth National Assembly outperformed it’s predecessors.
In a keynote address to formally declare open an induction programme for the members-elect of the incoming 10th National Assembly, Lawan said the Ninth Assembly had performed “exceedingly well” in terms of the number and quality of the bills introduced, passed and assented to.
“As of July 2022, a total of 874 Bills were introduced in the Senate, out of which 162 were passed,” Lawan told members-elect of the 10th Assembly gathered in Abuja on Monday for the induction programme ahead of their inauguration in June.
“Remarkably, 104 Bills of the Ninth Senate have been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, making this significantly higher than those of previous Assemblies, which recorded 31 for the Fourth Assembly, 98 for the Fifth Assembly, 52 for the Sixth Assembly, 60 for the Seventh Assembly and 74 for the Eighth Assembly.
“And that tells you when the two arms of government come together, working together, partnering and synergiszing to ensure that services are provided for the citizens, government delivers services better, more efficiently and more effectively,” he said.
Lawan stated further that at the onset in 2019, the Ninth Senate was mindful of the damaging effect of persistent conflict with the Executive and the resultant impact on legislative activities.
He said they were equally aware that a good working relationship is desirable and indeed imperative to achieve effective and efficient service delivery to the people.
“Hence under my leadership, the Ninth National Assembly adopted a friendly but professional approach to Executive-Legislstive relations focused on harmonious working relationship based on mutual respect, consultation, cooperation, collaboration and partnership,” Lawan said.
The Senate President listed some of the landmark achievements of the Ninth Assembly and further justified why they opted for an harmonious work relationship with the executive arm of government.
These included Deep offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Act, 2019, Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, Company and Allied Matters Act, 2020, Finance Act, 2020, and a host of others.
“When we came in 2019, our experience in the Eighth Assembly and even before the Eighth Assembly was not that kind of experience that we would like to continue especially in the area of budget processing and passage.
“In the past, budget could be passed in the National Assembly maybe in May of the following year. So almost half of the year is gone without a budget being implemented.
“So we decided together with our colleagues in the House of Representatives and agreed that we must pass the budget before the end of December. And we decided that we will open an October window where there will be no plenary in the two chambers and no Minister should travel or any Chief Executive Officer or Head of any government agencies without ensuring that the budget proposals are defended.
“We decided that we would not travel and the President said no minister or any head of government agencies must travel without defending the budget in October. If you don’t defend your budget in October, you have yourself to blame. You won’t have an opportunity to come to the National Assembly to defend your budget.
“The National Assembly will decide on how the budget of that Ministry, or Department or Agency will look like. And of course, it has paid off. All the four budgets, including the supplementary budgets, all the four years, this Ninth National Assembly has been able to pass the budget and have the President assented to the budget and implementations start January every year.
“I am delighted to inform Members-elect that the Ninth Assembly is working with the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies to prepare a comprehensive legacy reports for the Ninth Senate. What we are doing is to capture all that we did in the Ninth Senate, all the Bills passed, sector by sector, all the confirmations done and we have done so many confirmations and we have confirmed over 2,000, people who are now working in this government, different agencies.
“If some feels its rubber stamp, let him go through(the Legacy Report). But I always believe that those who call the Ninth National Assembly rubber stamp are mischievous. Most of them misled.
“And when the National Assembly will change the budget, same persons who call us rubber stamp will say there is padding. They have padded the budget. They have changed the budget.
“So we believe that we must give our own account. And that will be available to the public. That this is our Legacy Report. All of us, members of the Assembly will have their copies. It will be online. We also intend to send to the State Houses of Assembly, to their Libraries because we feel that we must tell our story. We will not allow anybody else to tell stories about us from his jaundice point of view,” Lawan said.