9th Assembly: Who the Cap Fits? By Idris Mohammed
NEWS DIGEST – With the conduct of 2019 general election and the emerging of new senators elect,the changes in the leadership of national assembly has become imminent. After the 23rd February elections, many prominent members of the national assembly lost the bid to return to the house including the present senate president. What Nigerians could remember about the outgoing 8th National assembly are: chaos, crisis and corruption.The cases of budget padding was worrisome and had become the topic of discussion. Though, the 5th, 6th, and 7th assemblies recorded same or even worst of these issues with the instability of the leadership as a result of direct influence of executive arm of government
Now, the direction is shifting toward the 8thJune this year, the 9th national assembly will conduct election of principle officers, that will take charge of enacting new laws and other legislative functions. With the ruling party, All Progressive Congress maintaining the lead in both the senate and house of representative with their anointed candidates to be the leaders of the chambers while the main opposition party, People Democratic Party trying very hard to repeat the status quo of the 8th assembly.
Currently, over four senators are eyeing the seat of the senate president, Ahmad Lawan, Goje and Ndume from the ruling party while the current deputy senate president and two others from the opposition also showing great interest to occupy the seat but the opposition party is enjoying the current crisis of APC and pushing harder to support any friendly member of the All Progressive Congress that is interested in contesting the position of the senate president with mindset of repeating another Saraki regime in the chambers.
APC with it anointed candidates on the hand, trying to unite the members in order to produce one house that will support the president and interest of the party, looking at the previous mistake of the 8th assembly, allowing any crack like before will lead the party to a big failure in 2023 general elections.
In determining who the principal officers become, Senate Rule allows only a ranking senator to be selected for this purpose and being that the APC has the majority, the candidate may come from within its caucus. Another determining factor is only members that presence are allow to vote and for the winner to emerge must have scored the highest vote.
Apparently, the ruling party zone the position of the senate president and speaker of the house of representative to north east and south west respectively. The party endorsed Lawal Ahmad as a result of his loyalty to the party, his experience being the senate since 1999 and also his zone never produce the senate president since the return of democracy in 1999. While Gbajabiamila, who has always be the preferred candidate of the APC National Leader, Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu, is presently being considered as the party’s candidate.
The concern of the Nigerians is, the national assembly should not be thrown into another endless crisis just like in the 8th assembly and that may cripple the Nigerians desire of a better democratic governance. Once this kind of power tussle is progressive nothing good will come through apart from unconstructive criticism that will not benefit Nigerians.
Nigerians demand the 9th assembly to be transparent and champion the nation interest rather than their personal interest. The 8thassembly was blamed of hijacking the speedy process of government activities as members politicizing any motion that come from the executive that would have enhanced good governance
The 9th assembly election of presiding officers should be inclusive by reflecting the interest of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria and they should try as much as possible to make laws that will touch the lives of Nigerians.
Idris Mohammed is a Program Officer with YIAGA AFRICA Abuja, He tweets @idpyar