19 months of new direction in Senate as Lawan clocks 62

The President of the Ninth Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, clocks 62 years old today, having been born on January 12, 1959. Taiye  Odewale examines his 19 months of leadership in the Senate so far.

For Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan , the incumbent President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it has been eventful and impacting 62  years of sojourning on the planet Earth , 19 months of which he has given the Senate and by extension, the 9th National Assembly, new direction , as regards working relationship with the executive arm of government.

Pointedly , for Lawan and the entire leadership of the Ninth National Assembly, constructive engagements with the executive arm of government , particularly, the presidency ; is the required approach for results – oriented relationship as against antagonistic one adopted by previous Assemblies in recent past mistaken for practice of the doctrine of separation of powers cum checks and balances.

In moving the Senate and by extension, the Ninth National Assembly from rancorous relationship with the executive arm of government to collaborative one ,  Lawan in his inaugural Speech 19 months ago ,  emphasised the need for paradigm shift on working relationship between the legislature and the executive arm of government.

Declaratively, Lawan in the speech titled: “A Senate that works for Nigerians”, said, “We are going to work collaboratively with the executive arm of government to strengthen our planning and budget linkage that ensures effective service delivery and fulfilment of essential government obligations to the citizens, while taking care of the perennial delays in our annual appropriation bill passage and implementation.

“The Senate and indeed the legislature is going to operate independently in accordance with its own rules, procedures and time honoured norms and best practices. While working closely with the executive arm to deliver the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people.

“Within us as a Senate, our leadership will commit to partnership rather than partisanship and between us and the executive arm of Government, we will choose unity of purpose over conflict and discord while also working towards further strengthening and guaranteeing our independence and that of the judiciary. 

“We will sustain and strengthen our institutional working relationship with critical stakeholders especially the Civil Society Organizations, the Media and Development Partners within and outside Nigeria…”

Little wonder that 19 months down the line , based on results – driven cum good governance oriented approach , the National Assembly under the leadership of Lawan and that of the  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila , had in collaboration with the executive arm of government, reverted the yearly budget cycle to January – December as against June – May yearly cycle it was,  in the past.

The former budget cycle of June to May, Lawan declared in July 2019, that it  had created problems for planning and for the proper implementation of the country’s macro-economic framework.

“The macro framework needs to be reasonably predictable the way it happens in other climes, and it is when the framework is predictable that it can positively influence the micro details in the budget proposal,” he said.

Chronicling the benefits of Lawan’s leadership style to the Ninth Senate in particular and Nigerians generally in advertorials in  some Newspapers today, the  Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs , Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru said: ” Your leadership of the Senate within the last one and half years and by extension, that of the National Assembly has projected the legislative arm of government in Nigeria as the stabilising factor required in governance at the centre and has being the face of a working democracy as against the ineffective, rancorous, antagonistic and needless squabbles which characterised our polity in the recent past.

“Under your qualitative leadership, adopting  constructive bi partisan engagement interlaced with strong patriotic vibes, both the Legislature and the Executive have achieved the seemingly impossible January to December  budget cycle. This has afforded better and more effective budget Implementation by MDA’S and also monitoring by the various standing committees of both Chambers of the National Assembly.

“This is aside numerous other development focused legislations targeted at boosting the National economy which have been passed and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Little wonder that the constructive engagements between the 9th National Assembly under your leadership and that of the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila) with the Executive arm of government are about to bring into reality the passage and expected Presidential Assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) this year which had defied efforts in that direction for the past 14 years.”

Biographically, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, who has been representing  Yobe North Senatorial District in the Senate since 2007 , having represented  Bade/Jakusko federal constituency from Yobe State in the House of Representatives in the 4th and 5th Assembly ( 1999- 2007); was born on January 12, 1959 in the Gashua town of Yobe state.

He completed his primary education at Sabon Gari Primary School, Gashua in 1974 and then attended Government Secondary School, Gashua where he got his O’Levels in 1979.

He thereafter  proceeded to the University of Maiduguri where he obtained a Bachelors degree in Geography, in 1984 and topped it with a Master’s degree in Remote Sensing from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and a Doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/GIS from Cranfield University, UK, in 1990 and 1996 respectively.

Lawan’s public service engagements  started  with  the Yobe State Civil Service  as an Education Officer in the Ministry of Education from 1985 to 1986 from where he moved to University  of Maiduguri as a lecturer   from 1987 to 1997 and ventured into politics cum elective public services thereafter, which culminated into his emergence as President of the 9th Senate on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

The Senate’s presidency position, has no doubt, projected Lawan as a Politician and  public service officer, driven by service delivery to electorates and not power game with other key players in the power configuration across the three arms of government at the centre (federal government).

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