The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the present happenings in the country is the worse Nigeria can get.
Lawan who took an overview of the what is happening in the country, said Nigeria can’t afford to get worse than this.
Speaking at a world press conference yesterday at the National Assembly, Lawan also advised Nigerians not to think bad about the debt profile of the country insisting the debt is a necessary burden.
Lawan who titled his conference as: “Behold The Silver Lining In Nigeria,” which was part of activities marking the second anniversary of the 9th Senate, also disagreed with people calling the 9th Assembly a rubber-stamp.
“I believe this is the worse level we can get. We can’t get worse than this. It can only get better,” Lawan said noting that leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdusalam Abubukar and other religious heads have been coming together to proffer solution to the problems bedeviling the nation.
“I believe we are going to have a reversal of this situation. We should not be despair, we should be optimistic. Other countries were like this before and they came out, we will come out.”
Explaining why the National Assembly shouldn’t be described as rubber stamp, Lawan said “this is a regular music. There is always a price to pay for everything. By the grace of God, I am 22 years in the National Assembly. As a student of the legislature and parliament generally, I understood there is need for partnership and cordial relationship between us as legislature first.
“When I was elected, senators accross divide voted for me. They wanted a bi-partisant chamber. We were able to bring ourselves together in both formal and informal way. The next one is our relationship with the House. Apart from confirmation, every legislation requires concurrence. We have been on the same page.
“The next level is the level of the National Assembly as an institution working with the executive arm of government.”
He disagreed with the insinuation that the Constitutional amendment embarked by the National Assembly is another round of jamboree, saying, “It’s not a jamboree. There were amendment in the past. Not-too-young to run was amendment. It’s not just the National Assembly, the state assemblies should also be pressured.
“The National Assembly pass the state assemblies autonomy but what happened. The state assemblies turn it down. We need the local government to function. The bulk of the people are in the local government.
“The National Assembly is honest. What we are doing is honest, if we make mistake, call us to order. 108 senators and 359 House of Representatives members will vote to achieve consensus.”
Explaining why government will borrow, Lawan said that the N32 trillion owned by the government is not only for the federal government but that the state government is involved, but the federal government gave guarantee.
He said: “If we don’t have money to build infrastructure, what do we do? Should we raise taxes? What are the options? Definitely one option is out. Do we need to construct road, yes. But we have to follow and see whether we really need road.
“Eastern corridor from Rivers to Maiduguri were not captured. It was difficult to convince those senators. What are the conditions for the loans? Are they favourable? Most of the loans are even without interest.
“We have not option than to accept the request. The option to take care of roads, bridges and other infrastructure is to borrow and borrow responsibly. Even before the request is approved, our committees go to see before approval. In some instance, they must inspect.
“This is the level to which we go to oversights government expenditures. Many Nigerians think the debt is a burden. It is a nescessasity burden. We can’t keep the economy stagnated.”
According to him, it is high time Nigerians stop misinterpreting the resolve of the 9th National Assembly to work cordially with the executive arm of government.
He said: “This Senate, and the National Assembly have shown exceptional patriotism in seeking solutions to the challenges facing our dear country, and in the interventions we have made to some emergencies that confronted us in the last two years.
“We have been resolute in our approaches, committed in our deliberations, and forward looking in the regulatory frameworks that we proffered, cognizance of our goal as legislators eager to leave a lasting legacy.”
On what Nigerians should expect before the annual recess, Lawan said “our determination to pass the bill is additionally in line with our resolve to be a result-oriented parliament, where our activities are hallmarked by quality, timeliness, and actions that are focused on the people.
“Our efforts on the Electoral Bill are also noteworthy. The bill should not just improve the nations electoral governance system, but will strengthen our democracy, that we have all built since 1999.
“The 2023 general elections will be the seventh in our electoral cycle since the dawn of democracy. The onus is now on us to consolidate it, partly through the bill, given the important innovations embedded in it. We will finish work on it before our annual recess.
“We have a goal to deliberate on the report of the Committee on the Amendment of the 1999 Constitution in July before we proceed on our yearly recess, as well.
“Mindful of the significant place of the citizens, we recently concluded a regional tour of the country, to provide opportunities for citizens to be closely heard, and consistent with a drive to build consensus.
“We have gone far in this process and should be over with-it next month. We call on Nigerians to be patient with the progression, as we strive towards compromise, in reviewing the ground-norm, for the good governance of our dear nation”.