New Telegraph

September 30, 2023

Lawan, Gbajabiamila Rate 9th N’Assembly Above Previous Assemblies

decry rubber stamp stigma

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, asserted that the 9th National Assembly performed far better than five other assemblies before it since 1999.

This was as the two presiding officers decried what they described as misperception and misunderstanding of the 9th National Assembly by some Nigerians, who according to them wrongly labelled the apex legislative institution as a rubber stamp Assembly.

In their separate comments at the welcome dinner organised for Senators and members-elect for the 10th National Assembly by the management of the National Assembly, and the National Institute for Democratic and Legislative Studies (NILDS), they said that good governance-driven performance of the 9th National Assembly stemmed from a harmonious working relationship with the Executive arm of government.

President of the Senate, in his speech, said in the area of legislation alone, as of July 2022, a total of 874 bills have been introduced at the stage of the first reading, out of which 162 passed the third reading and 104 concurred to by the House of Representatives and assented by the President.

“He said, “At the onset, the 9th Senate was mindful of the damaging effect of persistent conflict with the Executive and the resultant impact on legislative activities.

“We were equally aware that a good working relationship is desirable and indeed imperative to achieve effective and efficient service delivery to the people.

“This approach to engaging with the executive has led to a misperception and misunderstanding, which has led many to tag the 9th National Assembly as a “rubber stamp” Assembly. Yet, our intention in preferring an engagement with the executive based on harmony and collaboration has been to better serve Nigeria by providing a safe atmosphere for national development.

“There is no doubt that this has proven to be beneficial to the people we represent. Compared to previous Assemblies, the achievement of the 9th National Assembly in the area of law-making is attributable to harmonious executive-legislative relations, which, contrary to many expectations, need not be aggressive.

“In line with our well-articulated Legislative Agenda, the 9th Senate prioritised the return of the Federal Budget to predictable January-December cycle, concerns of security, corruption, youth employment, poverty alleviation, education, health care provision, gender, economic growth and diversification, and oil and gas, among others.

“In addition, we targeted various and timely legislative interventions and other parliamentary functions and committed ourselves to work in a bipartisan manner to address the myriad problems confronting Nigeria. In this, our decisions have been collective, purposeful and patriotic.

“The 9th National Assembly has broken many jinxes and done many ‘firsts’, overcoming traditional obstacles through consensus building and clever political brinksmanship.

“We have focused our energy working on legislations that have salubrious effects on the lives of Nigerians. In this regard, the 9th Senate has 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. Remarkably, 104 Bills of the 9th Senate have been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, making this significantly higher than those of previous assemblies, which recorded 31 for the 4th Assembly, 98 for the 5th Assembly, 52 for the 6th Assembly, 60 for the 7th Assembly, and 74 for the 8th Assembly.”

Gbajabiamila in his own speech, said some Nigerians who labelled the 9th National Assembly as rubber stamp one, got it wrong because the legislature was not set up to confront the executive but complement it for good governance.

“Rubber stamp has become a romantic language in the context of its usage in Nigeria a very wrong description of the relationship between National Assembly and the executive within the last four years,” he said.

He called on the federal lawmakers-elect for the 10th National Assembly, to consolidate the achievements of the 9th one, in making democratic governance, more beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians.

“Too many Nigerians are beginning to wonder if democracy is the right choice of governance and for democracy to meet legitimate expectations of the people, relevant Institutions of government, must be made to function well,” he stressed.

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