© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ahmed Lawan begins campaign for Senate President
AHMED Lawan, the incumbent Senate Majority Leader, has opened his campaign to replace Bukola Saraki as the President of the ninth Senate.
Lawan, while addressing some National Assembly correspondents in Abuja recently, promised to run a bi-partisan legislature.
“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 interests we will contribute meaningfully to governance,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Lawan as saying.
As it stands, Lawan appears the favourite to clinch the exalted position of the Senate President. He was the favoured candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, before Saraki played a fast one on the party, joining forces with some loyalists and members of the opposition to ‘steal’ the position, much to the disbelief of almost all Nigerians.
This time around it is unlikely that such a manoeuvre would repeat itself, especially given that Saraki himself has lost his seat in the Senate, alongside some of his loyalists.
Lawan, in his chat with journalists, pledged to ensure that the rule of separation of powers is maintained at all times, but added that it does not mean that the legislature would be independent of the other arms of government.
“The separation of powers does not amount to the independence of government. It is the specialisation of the arms of government. The executive cannot function without the legislature and the legislature needs to work with the executive in a cordial manner,” he explained.
“However, that does not take away that special function of oversight. It does not take away ensuring that what we do in the legislature is to support the executive.”
The Saraki-led legislative arm of government was popular for always squaring with the executive, a development that the presidency has always alluded to as one of the challenges faced by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“Who says we will never disagree with the executive; by constitutional design, we are meant to disagree, hold different perspectives from time to time on issues,” Lawan pointed out. “But when we disagree, I always say, we should sit down and look at issues and take a decision that is in national interest.”
Lawan, however, said he would respect the wishes of his party should the position of the Senate President be zoned to another region of the country other than the North East from where he hails.
“I am a loyal party man. I will respect the decisions of my leaders and my party. We are not in any way thinking that we will have crises; it is not what we are envisaging at all,” he said.
“But let me say that our party, the APC, must have learnt its lessons (obviously referring to the Saraki saga), and therefore, the party leadership will do something differently this time.
“I am sure our leaders will try to manage this huge success of the APC. And I have no doubt the party will find us compliant and very supportive of its programmes and those of the administration under President Muhammadu Buhari.”