By Chesa Chesa
Newly elected Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Wednesday paid a ‘thank-you’ visit to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, after which he declared that he would not preside over a rubber-stamp Senate as being speculated in many quarters.
Emerging from his closed-door parley with the Vice-President, Lawan said that he was just the first among fellow Senators and could not take legislative decisions like a school principal, although he would ensure smooth relations with the Executive.
According to him: “A parliament is not a primary school or a secondary school, where the headmaster or principal will dictate to his students. Parliament is an aggregate or an assemblage of people that have equal status.
“Being elected as Senate President does not mean that I’m the boss of the other Senators. I’m simply to coordinate and aggregate views and lead debates. Whoever is in the majority that will be the decision of the Senate, appropriately and accordingly?
“So, there will be nothing like rubber stamp. So far I have never seen a National Assembly that had a rubber stamp leadership and I have been around for 20 years to note that.
“One thing I must tell you is that while we desire to remain sufficiently on our track, we will ensure that oversight function is properly carried out; but we will cooperate fully and give total support to the administration to ensure that there is good governance.
“There is no need for any fear that we will be a rubber stamp National Assembly. Perhaps and probably with time Nigeria will come to see that what we desire and what will happen by the grace of God will be a working relationship that endears the entire administration and government to the people of Nigeria. So, there is no cause for alarm.”
Expressing his gratitude to Osinbajo for the role he played in the emergence of current National Assembly leaders, Lawan said this was now an opportunity to discuss the type of Senate that should be expected in the Ninth National Assembly.
“As the new National Assembly, we have received a bi-partisan mandate from across the parties. The PDP, the YPP voted for us and we believe that this is the time and opportunity for us to consolidate the kind of support that we received across the political parties that we received in the National Assembly.
“We believe that we must remain united in the National Assembly; we must remain focused for us to be able to deliver those legislative interventions that would be necessary for good governance in the country.
“So, we are in it together with the executive arm of government to work in such a fashion to be able to deliver those democracy dividends that Nigerians need today. It is our desire also to ensure that whoever is appointed by the executive arm of government performs his or her functions optimally,” he stated.