by Sunday Isuwa
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the current National Assembly stands out from the previous Assemblies because it has conquered complex legislative issues.
Lawan said the uniqueness of the 9th Assembly was its ability to conquer most complex and critical legislations that had either defied passage or assent.
The Senate president spoke on Saturday night in Lagos in response to the honour bestowed on him as The Sun Political Icon of the Year 2021.
A statement issued by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, said the award was formally presented to Lawan at The Sun Newspapers’ 19th Annual Awards held late on Saturday at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Lawan dedicated the award to the past presiding officers of the National Assembly who he gave the credit for laying the foundation for what the current Assembly had been able to achieve in less than three years.
He said: “I am sure the award has been given to me because I have been in the Legislature or in the National Assembly for more than two decades and that is to say that the Legislature has been recognised at this stage.
“I’m so pleased and delighted that the Sun Newspapers are able to sieve through and see what the other arm of government, the Legislature, is doing because more often than not, the Legislature does not receive the kind of attention that it deserves from the citizens.
“For us in the Ninth National Assembly, we believe that service to our fatherland, service to our people, service to different Senatorial Districts and Federal constituencies is paramount and there is nothing more than that.
“Thank God in less than three years, the Ninth National Assembly has done tremendously well in the area of important, critical and crucial legislations for national development.
“I have dedicated this award to previous presiding officers since Nigeria started as a democracy because whatever we have achieved in the Ninth National Assembly, there must have been some foundation set by others before we came on board.
“I therefore dedicate this award to the previous presiding officers of the Senate and presiding officers of the House of Representatives.
“Let me say that I have learnt a lot from one very outstanding presiding officer and his name is Senator David Mark who was Senate President for two terms – the sixth and the seventh Assemblies.
“And of course the 13th President of the Senate, my brother and my friend(Senator Bukola Saraki) who was here(for this occasion) before he left. I worked with him as a Senate Leader. He made contributions too like previous President of the Senate did.
“Therefore I cannot take credit for the Ninth National Assembly but the Ninth National Assembly stands out in one way. He stands out in the way of conquering the most difficult legislations that defied passage and where they were passed, defied assent.”
The Senate president also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his cooperation with the current National Assembly to get things done.
“Let me also pay tribute to President Muhammadu Buhari because for us in the Ninth Assembly, if not because we have the buy-in of the President, to ensure that the Legislature works very cordially with the executive arm of government, all the legislations wouldn’t have been assented to.
“And this President assented to more bills than all the previous Presidents since the fourth Republic started.
“Therefore we believe that the Legislature and the executive arm of government must always work together. They can disagree but not to cause friction to such an extent that citizens will not receive the services from government,” Lawan said.
He thanked the founder of the Sun Newspapers who is the Chief Whip of the Senate.
“This Chief Whip does not spare anyone, even the Senate President. He whips everybody. We want to thank you for being a very progressively minded person, very practical person, very reliable person.
“You have brought experience, you have supported this Ninth Senate to achieve stability, productivity and the kind of relationship that you will always like to see in the parliament.
“For Nigerians, I want to see the cup as half full. The cup is half full, not half empty. I don’t want to see it as half empty.
“Yes, we are faced with numerous challenges but it is also true and it is an established fact that we have also achieved a lot in the last seven years. Those challenges, we can surmount them when we unite and fight against them,” Lawan said.
Distinguished Senators in the company of the Senate President at the Saturday night event included: Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Senator Barau Jibrin, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, Senator Bello Mandiya, Senator Yakubu Oseni, former Yobe State Senator Mohammed Hassan and his Chief of Staff, Dr. Babagana M. Aji.