Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Wednesday declared that he would not preside over a rubber-stamp Senate because the ninth Senate won’t be one.
The newly elected Senate President made the declaration during a thank you visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajp at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents after his closed-door meeting with the Vice-President, Lawan said that he was only the first among fellow Senators and could not take legislative decisions like a school principal.
Lawan said: “A parliament is not a primary school or a secondary school where the headmaster or principal will dictate to his students. Parliament is an aggregate or an assemblage of people that have equal status.
“Being elected as Senate President does not mean that I’m the boss of the other Senators. I’m simply to coordinate and aggregate views and lead debates. Whoever is in the majority, that will be the decision of the Senate, appropriately and accordingly.
“So, there will be nothing like rubber stamp. So far I have never seen a National Assembly that had a rubber stamp leadership and I have been around for 20 years to note that.
“One thing I must tell you is that while we desire to remain sufficiently on our track, we will ensure that oversight function is properly carried out; but we will cooperate fully and give total support to the administration to ensure that there is good governance.
“There is no need for any fear that we will be a rubber stamp National Assembly. Perhaps and probably with time Nigeria will come to see that what we desire and what will happen by the grace of God will be a working relationship that endears the entire administration and government to the people of Nigeria. So, there is no cause for alarm.”
He expressed profound gratitude to Osinbajo for the role he played in the emergence of current National Assembly leaders, saying this was now an opportunity to discuss the type of Senate that should be expected in the Ninth National Assembly.
“As the new National Assembly, we have received a bi-partisan mandate from across the parties. The PDP, the YPP voted for us and we believe that this is the time and opportunity for us to consolidate the kind of support that we received across the political parties that we received in the National Assembly.
“We believe that we must remain united in the National Assembly; we must remain focused for us to be able to deliver those legislative interventions that would be necessary for good governance in the country.
“We also believe that we must have a relationship with the executive arm of government that is based on cooperation and collaboration. It is our desire in the Ninth National Assembly to work seamlessly with the executive arm of government because we believe that Nigerians did not make a mistake for voting for the executive as presently constituted and the legislature as it is today.
“So, we are in it together with the executive arm of government to work in such a fashion to be able to deliver those democracy dividends that Nigerians need today. It is our desire also to ensure that whoever is appointed by the executive arm of government performs his or her functions optimally.
“We will ensure that we provide those enablers that will make them perform but we also expect them to work hard to ensure that Mr. President and this administration leave the kind of legacies that we all desire”, according to him.