Senate Presidency: Lawan unveils agenda, pledges predictable budget cycle

Senate Majority Leader and a candidate for the position of Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, yesterday promised to pay serious attention to resolving the crisis that had bedeviled Nigeria’s budgeting system if elected.

Unveiling his legislative agenda in Abuja, Lawan said that the 9th Senate under his leadership would be committed to the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and her people and not one divided on the basis of political parties, religion or geo-political zones.

“As there is no dichotomy between parties here, there will be no dichotomy along party or whatever lines in the 9th Senate,” he said.

Lawan said unity of purpose among all senators across party lines was paramount in achieving the needed development of the country.

On executive-legislature relationship, he said: “Since we have all seen how unproductive rancorous relationship between the National Assembly and the executive has been over the years, the 9th one will work very cordially with the executive. Our relationship with the executive will be driven by national interest anchored on cooperation, partnership and mutual respect.”

The Senate Leader, however, said the 9th Senate as constitutionally empowered would not be a rubber stamp to the executive, adding: “If there is need for disagreement in the interest of Nigerians, they will disagree with the executive but with dignity and respect.”

He added that since what Nigerians want from government be it the executive or legislative arm is good governance, the 9th Senate under his leadership would in collaboration with the House of Representatives ensure that the required legislative interventions were made across the various sectors.

His words: “On education, the Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 will be amended to ensure that millions of out of school children are made to be in school as a way of addressing the security challenges in the land just as moves being made on diversification of the economy by the government will be legislatively enhanced.”

He assured that Nigeria would have predictable budget cycle as against yearly budget delays.

“The current trend of not having predictable budget cycle does not augur well for the country which by the grace of God, will be addressed by the 9th Senate and by extension, National Assembly in collaboration with the executive arm of government.

“In achieving this, specific time and window of activities from presentation to consideration, passage and signing into law by the President shall be worked out. Since it takes two to tango and budget proposals are initiated from the executives, the leadership of the 9th National Assembly shall interface with the executive on the need for early presentation of budget proposals and cooperation during consideration for speedy passage by the National Assembly,” he said.

Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who is also running for Speakership of the 9th Assembly and Ahmed Wase, who is aspiring for the Deputy Speakership position, were at the event but none of the six female senators-elect across party lines attended.

A total of 41 senators-elect attended the ceremony.