- Senator Ahmad Lawan says his battle for Senate presidency is not a do-or-die affair
- The Senate Leader made the statement while unveiling his plans for the red chambers
- The Yobe-born lawmaker said he will ensure the 9th National Assembly returns the nation to January-December budget timeline
Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, May 15, said his battle for Senate presidency is not a do-or-die affair.
Lawan, 60, a ranking senator from Yobe state, made the statement when he met with selected journalists in Abuja recently.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker also unfolded plans to devote three months to budget consideration if he is elected as the Senate President.
He said he will ensure the 9th National Assembly returns the nation to January-December budget timeline.
According to him, an effective budget cycle will be put in place in a manner that President Muhammadu Buhari will assent to budget on or before December 31st.
His words: “We contested for this thing in 2015 and it was the will of God that I will not be Senate President and you will bear me witness that that did not stop me from going to the National Assembly to participate in activities of the Senate.
“I continued to represent my people as a committee chairman on defence and I conducted myself as such and eventually I was elected the Senate leader and I continued to serve as Senate leader to date.
“Most of us believe that God Almighty that created us also has designed our lives from cradle to grave and I believe in that.
“So, it is not a do or die affair and I believe that should we not make it, that will not stop us from working to represent our people, do our oversight, to legislate for the good governance of this country, to support the Senate and the National Assembly and to support Mr. President to deliver the campaign promises of the APC as a political party. We are going to do that regardless. So, it is not a do -or- die affair.”
He also pledged to resolve the budgeting crisis that has characterized the Senate with a three-month consideration plan.
According to him, out of the three months, a month will be devoted to budget defence by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He said: “We believe that we can turn this around with the right attitude and it takes the two sides of government in this case the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government.
“Our approach in the National Assembly will be that we will talk amongst ourselves, we will tell ourselves that we want to pass a budget within three months. If we agree on that, then we will also have to agree on how we will achieve that.
“First, we should not leave the shores of Nigeria for anything unless it is health problem. We must stay around, ensure we have a time-frame for budget defence.
“When I say time-frame, I mean we will devote one whole month for budget defence, not plenary unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
“We will approach the Executive arm of government and discuss things with them.
“For Mr. President, there will be nothing more that will gladden his heart than having a budget passed within three months and I am sure it is the same for Nigerians.
“It will be a huge relief if we can achieve it. So, we will tell the Executive arm of government that no minister, no chief executive officer of any MDA should leave this country unless it is absolutely necessary and inevitable without defending his or her budget or the budget of the ministry.
“We believe that this is doable and achievable. All we require is the will. I am sure every one of us in the 9th Senate and House of Representatives will have this kind of feeling that what we need to give to Nigerians is to set this budget issue right.”
Meanwhile, five out of the 64 senators-elect of the APC have signified their intention to run for the position of Deputy Senate President (DSP) of the ninth National Assembly ahead of its inauguration in June.
Those angling to take over as DSP from Senator Ike Ekweremadu include ranking senators Kabiru Gaya (north-west), Francis Alimikhena (south-south), Ovie Omo-Agege (south-south), Ajayi Boroffice (south-west) and first term senator-elect Orji Uzor-Kalu (south-east).
The aspirants have since commenced consultations and campaigns among both returning and fresh senators about their ambition.
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