INTERVIEW: Opposition will not decide 10th senate president, speaker – Lawan

  • The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Friday shared his insight on the twilight days of the Buhari administration on the control of the leadership of the 10th national assembly.
  • What are your thoughts on this year’s Eid el-Fitr celebrations?

It was a very historic, memorable Eid el-Fitr celebration visit to our outgoing president. And the takeaway is this president has served Nigeria so far, for over seven and a half years. And he did tremendously well. The Buhari administration is closing on a very strong note, we have succeeded in reducing, minimising the insecurity that we met in 2015. This administration has provided so much infrastructure across the country, like no other administration did before. This administration, this President, particularly, assented to legislation more than any previous president, especially in the last four years. And we are so proud of this administration, that we have been able to achieve so much, and therefore, it is a thing of joy for all of us to come and celebrate with Mr. President, the Eid el-Fitr today, Friday.

And I want to also add here that the multitude of people from the FCT, those who actually came to see the president and congratulate him, showed the kind of unity that we have in the FCT; people from all walks of life. And of course, the rest of us who are supportive of what the president was supposed to do here came to show our gratitude in another way that we are really happy with the way we have been able to be part and parcel of this administration, the very positive manner is really the ninth National Assembly.

We have done so much to support that administration and the government, and we are so proud of our achievement as an administration. That is what the legislature and the executive arm of government [achieved] and this President will go home by the grace of God after the 29th of May, 2023 a very satisfied person. But of course, there are things that we have not been able to do well.

The new administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu will come in and its going to be a continuity with those areas that we’ve gotten well, and those areas that we have not been able to get well, we’ll rework them. We’ll retool them; we’ll kindle them and ensure that we continue with the progressive APC administration.

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It is one administration; it’s one government, so to speak, and we’re proud to be part of everything that has happened in the last seven and a half years.

  • What in particular would you say the government has done well?

Infrastructure. You tell me, is there any part of Nigeria that today does not have one infrastructural development or the other? The South-East has the Second Niger Bridge. The Second Niger bridge was something that defied all the previous administrations, right from 1999, when President Obasanjo held sway. Then late Yar’Adua of blessed memory, then Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. All the PDP administrations came. They went there, they said they broke ground, or [did] groundbreaking, but that was where it stopped. Nothing else happened until the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came. Like a joke, people thought it was going to be the same thing. But we have proven everybody wrong.

So, any regrets?

No, no, no, you can’t say regrets. We can only say there are things that we have not been able to satisfactorily deal with. And this is natural, because, one, we don’t have sufficient funds. Two, as human beings, there are areas that, naturally, whatever you do, you may not get it right. But it’s for us to identify those areas, go back and rework them. And this administration, as it winds up a new one, an APC administration is coming in to take over and by the grace of God, it will have a national assembly that is also APC. So, we will continue to work on those areas that we need to improve. So, I am not going to talk about what areas because the time we have here is very limited.

Regarding the Senate Presidency, are you not going to contest?

I’m not here to answer whether I’m running for Senate President or not.

Okay, well, you’ve praised the administration and the Ninth Assembly for the bills that you’ve passed. However, in the Ninth Assembly, the women’s bills were thrown out.

How do you feel about that? And your party is worried about the leadership of the 10th National Assembly? Or are you saying you are not worried?

First of all, when the bills, five of them that concern women, were not voted for by the National Assembly, I think naturally, there are things that we assume could happen. But they didn’t happen the way we wanted them. But remember that even bills that concern the National Assembly were killed. There are bills that concern the National Assembly itself that did not see the light of the day. I felt bad that we could not pass even one. But then we shouldn’t really lose hope, we should continue to campaign. We should talk to more and more members of the National Assembly. And we should also restrategise. The kind of campaign that was undertaken may not be necessarily the one that will give you the kind of outcome that we needed. But I’m very confident that we should continue to campaign for issues that we have not been able to get right.

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Let me give you an example. The mayor for FCT, almost every constitutional amendment period, the mayor of FCT [proposal] will surface. But it has not been passed. Does that mean that we shouldn’t continue to ask for a mayor for FCT, those that feel there should be a mayor? No!
And there are issues that concerned the National Assembly itself that were not really passed. So, I felt bad that we couldn’t pass any of them. But I’m also very optimistic that if we restrategise, look at the way we campaign, we could get either all of them or some of them passed in the next assembly by the grace of God.

The party is not in trouble. This is today’s Sallah, and by the grace of God, and most of those people who have travelled for either Umrrah or one reason or the other will be back in the country, including our president-elect, and I’m sure that our leaders will come together and decide how the leadership of the 10th National Assembly will emerge.

I’m very confident that the APC members and senators-elect will respect whatever our party and our leaders will eventually come up with. We are praying that we are able to deal with it as decisively as possible, and then keep ourselves united and work together with other parties. We have been able to work together with other parties in the Ninth Assembly in a very bipartisan way, smoothly and seamlessly. And I believe that we can repeat that. And it is very, very essential that we have a very united National Assembly. And I’m very confident that we will do that.

    • This interview was first published by Channels Television

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