Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has made public his intention to vie for the office of Senate President when the ninth National Assembly is inaugurated in June saying the upper legislative chamber will be more vibrant under his leadership.
Lawan, (APC Yobe North) who has been in the federal legislature since 1999, made this known at the weekend in Abuja while addressing newsmen in the company of 10 other Senators-elect.
He hinged his aspiration on the need to make the National Assembly pro-active, focused and quest for all legislators to work together.
Ahmad, a member the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 and a Senator since 2007, emphasised that he was going to reach out to all Senators-elect across party lines over this objective.
“APC senators in this respect are so critical because that is our focus. But we will also reach out to other senators-elect from other political parties. So, this is a representation. This is not the number of senators that are supporting this cause. This is just introducing ourselves to you”.
He further said that “it is very critical and crucial that we talk to our colleagues, convince them that we are the right people to lead the Senate and the National Assembly. “We take nobody for granted. We believe that the crop of senators elected this time will be such that can achieve much more in terms of uniting ourselves and focusing on the real issues of development, of making Nigerians experience very rapid and sustainable changes and transformation.
Ahmad ruled out any crisis rocking the rank of APC Senators-elect over the election of presiding and principal officers of the 9th Senate saying “we are not in any way thinking that we will start having some crisis”.
According to him, “we are not even praying that that happens but our party, the All Progressives Congress must have learnt its lessons. Therefore, I am sure the leadership of the party will do something differently.
“ I am sure our leaders will try to manage this huge success of APC. and I have no doubt that the party will find us complaiant and very supportive of the programmes of our party and our administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
While canvassing for a bipartisan legislature under his leadership, Ahmad however did not rule out disagreements over issues among the lawmakers.
His words : We need to have a bipartisan chamber. We definitely will disagree from time to time because of party perspectives or something. But generally because we are senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when we legislate, we do so for the entire country. And therefore, we need to remain united and focused.
“Whether you are APC or PDP or YPP, we have the same people to serve. So, we will work to ensure that we achieve and attain that desired unity within the chamber. There will be equity and fairness in our affairs. I am sure that once we are able to unite around national interest, we will contribute meaningfully to governance
“I was in the opposition for 16 years from 1999 to 2015. Even as an opposition, we knew where we would oppose and cooperate with the government. Take for example, the security of the country. Could there be any legislator who would oppose any legislation that would enhance the performance of our Armed Forces or Police to provide security? The answer is no”.
He stressed that his main focus upon emergence as Senate President will be to support the cardinal programmes of President Buhari through the enactment of quality laws for the progress of the country.
“Let me say that I belief in what my party does. This party campaigned on three issues in 2015: security, anti-corruption and revamping the economy. So, we have remained consistent as a political party and as an administration. Our main task – if and when we make it – is to ensure that we support the President and the party to implement our campaign promises.
Speaking specifically on the anti-corruption drive of the present administration, Ahmad declared that “it is our mission to ensure that the President and this administration continues to fight against corruption.
“ I can tell you that most of the ills that we are suffering today in this country, they are because people have stolen public funds. So when you are able to contain the excesses in that regard, you could have resources deployed properly. But I also believe that we should be proactive. Can we amend laws to make it difficult for people to embezzle in public office and even in the private sector? Why can’t we have special anti-corruption courts to support the fight against corruption in Nigeria? Because we need to fast track the legal processes to ensure that whoever is found guilty is prosecuted in a time that is reasonable.
“On the whole, we should be looking at law reforms also. Those laws that are obsolete – there are many of them. Those that require total overhaul or we come up with others to complement what we already have”.
He however added that as a loyal party man he is ready to abide by the party’s zoning formula if the Senate Presidency is not zoned to his geo-political zone-North East where he hails from.
His words “am I not a party man? I am a loyal party man. I will respect the decisions of my leaders and party in this regard”.
The 10 Senators-elect that accompanied Ahmad to the media chat include Ifeanyi Ubah, Sabi Abdullahi, Teslim Folarin, Ahmed Kaita, Francis Alimikhena, Opeyemi Bamidele, Muhammed Isa, Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, Bello Mandiya and Abdullahi Gumel.