CRUMBLING LEGACIES, it seems, Nigeria’s ninth Senate, may be leaving behind at the expiration of its tenure. The ninth national assembly, through its various committees, was to give Nigerians the best, nothing less. The lawmakers needed to be awake to constitutional responsibilities on behalf of the nation. Instead, it is now seen as a “rubber stamp and contrived senate”, according to observers. Used by President Buhari’s administration, to upstage the popular will of Nigerians, and entrench unpopular and atrocious policies.
Nigeria’s ninth national assembly lawmakers, were to moderate the actions of the executive, clean any dirty linen of Buhari’s administration, drive good policies and good governance without confrontation. The lawmakers were to make sure Buhari delivers, and timely too, the much-needed dividends of democracy to the citizens. The national assembly and its committees were to be the bastions of democratic sustenance.
TUESDAY, February 23 2021, Nigerian Senate, confirmed the names of the ex-service chiefs, submitted by President Buhari, as non-career ambassadors, against extensive protests and condemnation by Nigerians, of the choice and nomination of the ex-service chiefs, as non-career ambassadors, by the president. The confirmation followed the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, led by Mohammed Bulkachuwa, that screened the former service chiefs.
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, February 10, directed the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, to screen and confirm the former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Bulkachuwa, told the senate, while submitting the report, that their appointments were made in line with section 171 of 1999 Constitution as amended. That their experiences as service chiefs in the military career, where they rose to the highest ranks, “eminently qualified” them for the non-career ambassadorial appointment.
The nominees, Bulkachuwa stated, were “very knowledgeable and articulate” in response to questions directed at them. He, however, disclosed that the committee received “petitions against their nominations”. The petitions were dismissed.
Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate Minority Leader, attempted to draw the attention of his colleagues to the dismissed petitions; and asked Bulkachuwa, to explain why the petitions were dismissed. He was stopped by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who stated that the petitions lacked merit.
SENATE PRESIDENT’S response to Abaribe’s question, was that the national assembly resolutions – both the Senate and House of Representatives resolutions – demanding the sack or resignation of the ex-service chiefs, were not related to Buhari’s request for their confirmation as non-career Ambassadors. “These are two separate roles”, Ahmad Lawan, premised his position.
Lawan argued, that “without prejudice to what the executive will do”, the field experience of the ex-service chiefs, should enable them to “interact closely and sufficiently to advice and create the atmosphere for working together, for partnership and cooperation between Nigeria and the countries” of their posting. And added: “So, I think on that scope, the nomination cannot be nullified because we said they should be changed”.
However, observers noted, that the senate confirmation of ex-service chiefs, as non-career ambassadors, after their failure in the critical national assignment of securing the country; and the resolutions by the national assembly for their sack; portray the national assembly as “insensitive” and “betrayal of trust and confidence” of Nigerians on the constitutional responsibilities bestowed on them.
AHMAD LAWAN’s ninth national assembly, by all indications, according to analysts, seems to be leading the lawmakers to serve the whims of President Buhari and his government. And gradually, leading the nation to dictatorship, rather than democracy.
Lawan had vowed, along with his colleagues, in the ruling party, All Progressive Congress, APC, that whatever President Buhari presents to the national assembly, which they consider to be in the “best national interest”, would be given expedited action. This led the senate to take several nonconstructive actions and decisions, against national interest, that earned the lawmakers “rubber stamp” national assembly.
Observers have noted, that for the first time, in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, since 1999; Ahmad Lawan’s Senate and Femi Gbajabiamila’s House of Representatives; have assumed a “rubber stamp” status of national assembly to Buhari’s government.
As for good governance, they stated, that the ninth national assembly and its various committees, have not, and may not, given Nigerians bright prospect of a democratic Nigeria.