Senate Presidency: Give Us Ahmad Lawan By Oluremi Omowaiye
As we earnestly look forward to the positive changes in all spheres of Nigeria as promised by the President of the nation of Nigeria, Muhhamadu Buhari under the platform of APC, there is conscious need to critically analyze his inaugural speech as it relates to the tripod upon which our democracy stands on.
Buhari affirmed in his reassuring words to allow independence of the other two arms of government; legislative and judiciary, without interfering in the smooth running of their constitutional activities.
Upon this premise, the executive arm of government will optimally and fundamentally perform to the yearning of Nigerians who desire a monumental shift from the old ways which the previous PDP government have led us when we amend existing laws which may serve as impediment to functional application, give accelerated hearing and passage to sponsored bills as presented by the Buhari led executives in key sectors of the economy such as petroleum, power, agriculture, financial and educational sectors. All these aspirations will only materialize if there is a vibrant legislature which is in tune with the philosophy of the Commander in Chief.
A close look at the numerical structure of the new Senate shows that the APC with 59 senators elected on their platform with exception to the re-elected senator of borno central who died recently and the remaining figures going to the minority party which is now the PDP.
Ordinarily, a nominated or anointed Senator from the APC camp will automatically become the Senate President as they are expected to form the executive position but the present political calculation have yielded two different and distinct camps: The Ahmad Lawan and Bukola Saraki camp.
The former is from a North Eastern state of Yobe while the latter is from the North Central axis of our country. Both are qualified and are ranking Senators in accordance with the Senate rules although Ahmad Lawan is the most ranking of all the APC Senators-elect .
Historically, the PDP controlled Senate between 1999 and 2007 were changing the arrow head of the Senate because of so many factors ranging from inexperience, financial impropriety and high-headedness on the part of the leadership which necessitated in their abysmal failure and instability.
As at the last count before the emergence of David Mark in 2007, five other Senators have sat on the exalted seat namely (Evan Enwerem 1999 – 1999, Chuba Okadigbo 1999–2000 , Anyim Pius Anyim 2000–2003 ,Adolphus Wabara 2003–2005 ,Ken Nnamani 2005–2007 ) .
Mark succeeded due to his team spirit, relative accommodation, vibrancy, experience spanning two terms and well managed prudence in financial management.
As such, the APC as a party in power needs to painstakingly emulate the good qualities of the Mark administration in selecting one of the major contenders to lead the 8th Senate, which is now the lens to which Nigerians will judge this administration.
APC should also take a direct cue from advanced democracy of the world where cognate legislative is crucial in the emergence of an officer of the Senate. Considering that over the years, our 109 Senators are not in the good books of the ordinary man struggling to earn a living worth $2 a day. The Senate Leadership that will serve alongside President Buhari must be decisive, transparent, incorruptible and above all earn public trust via their legislative oversight functions.
Specifically, the Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan profile is intimidating, a thorough-bred legislature with 16years articulated experience in the National Assembly, 8years of productive representation at the Federal House of Representative between 1999 and 200, at various stages he has chaired sensitive and pivotal committees of education and agriculture which facilitated bills of national impact.
Serving in the Red chambers for 8years, Lawan is the present Chairman of the Committee on Public account. Lawan is an academician, few of the doctorate holders in Geography and Remote Sensing which the country can boast of. Lawan has placed his card on the table on the basis of integrity, competence and robust experience which will guarantee sanity in the 8th senate.
While Dr. Bukola Abubakar Saraki, a former two terms Governor of Kwara State and the pioneer Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). Saraki, a cool headed man is returning to the Senate for the 2nd time is basking in the zoning arrangement of the APC, which he claimed ceded the seat to the North Central zone of the country.
One of the undoing of his aspiration is his desperation for the number 3 seat which guided his public conduct on the social media specifically his twitter handle where he misinformed his close to 200,000 followers of a non-existent meeting of the NWC zoning the Senate Presidency to his zone which was immediately rebuffed by the party hierarchy.
In the same manner, Saraki committed a political blunder when he raised a letter claiming 35 Senators elect of the APC extraction have endorsed his candidature. Till date, Saraki is yet to release the signatures of his loyalists or the video as claimed.
And lastly, the driver for his agenda is a pointer that the Senate leadership under Saraki may be a weakling and dramatic one, Dino Melaye (Senator Elect) from Kogi State who is seen in the public sphere as controversial in directing the scene of unrealistic ambition.
All that said and done, we must also consider the good qualities of Distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki who’s an astute politician, a trained Medical Doctor, an administrator of resources who demonstrated his love for his country by championing and exposing the massive fraud perpetuated in the petroleum downstream sector, a cause to which he has volunteered to dedicate his time and resources to unbundle the $32bn subsidy claims spent in the last 16years.
We admonish ABS as Saraki is fondly called by his admirers to collaborate with President Muhhamadu Buhari as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to bring about the sanitization and total cleansing of the sector using his exposure that has brought rot and mismanagement over the years.
Oluremi Omowaiye writes from Osogbo, Osun State