Oversight: It’s not going to be business as usual – Sen. Lawan

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By: Joy Odor/Abuja

The President of the 9th Senate, Alhaji Ahmad Lawan has sent a strong signal to his colleagues that it’s not going to be business as usual with the way senators used to perform their oversight functions on the government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.

Sen. Lawan also vowed that the 9th Senate under his leadership would ensure that whoever is given a responsibility on the side of the Executive discharges that responsibility, adding that as a legislature, we also have that enviable role of over sighting the Executive.

Immediate past Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye had recently warned members of the 9th Senate against the blunders of their predecessors, especially on the alleged extortion of monies during oversight by standing committees.

Adeyeye, who spoke during the valedictory session of the 8th Senate, said they did not adhere to the rules of the legislature by not maintaining integrity at oversight functions, stressing that “the rule forbids us to extort money during oversight functions, but that was never so as each time Senators goes on oversight activities”.

Speaking while playing host to the members of the Senate Press Corps, (SPC) in his office, senator Lawan said the upper legislative chamber would improve on the oversight functions in the overall interest of all.

He said: “We would even try to stretch out our oversight process not as we did before, but we want to see an oversight that is structured from conception to the presentation of reports by our committees to the plenary of the Senate at all times.

“We want to ensure that whoever is given a responsibility on the side of the Executive discharges that responsibility. When the President appoints a minister, he is expected to help the President perform those duties assigned to him to ensure that those who are to work with us should do it in such a manner that we are to work together to deliver the services” he said.

On the relationship between the Executive and Legislature under his leadership, he said: “We are not going to have unnecessary rancour, or go to the market place with stones. We are going to be absolutely focused, absolutely determined to ensure that Nigerians are taken to the next level of development”.

“In the process of governance, we are expected to work with the Executive in a complementary type of relationship, that is based on cooperation, collaboration, synergy, and partnership.

“We are not in contention, and we would not be in contention with the Executive arm of government as we meant to serve the same people. We are meant to ensure that Nigerians get the services that they required and vote us to deliver and that is exactly what we would do”, he stressed.

Lawan explained that they sought to be leaders in the National Assembly not for personal reason, but for service to humanity and the country.

“Our country needs all hands on deck to deal with the numerous challenges of development. What that means is for us in the National Assembly to remain focus and united to ensure that we perform our mandatory well spelt out functions in the constitution to deliver all those legislative interventions that are required for good governance to ensure that we act and sustain a bipartisan fashion of engagement in the Senate and indeed in the National Assembly”, he stressed.

He stressed: “It is encouraging and indeed very important to us that our elections to the Office of the President of the Senate and the Deputy President of the Senate were elections that clearly shows that it is going to be a bipartisan Senate and the National Assembly. This is a journey that has already been blessed by members of the National Assembly across party lines.

“We are going to take the advantage of the bipartisan aspect of the Senate to work assiduously together for the interest of the country.

“We contested on the basis of bringing about a National Assembly that would work for Nigerians.

We are going to stick with that because Nigerians consciously cast their votes in the shape and manner of the National Assembly that we have today and we have no reason, no excuse not to work together, not to perform” he stressed.

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