Today, a new chapter in Nigeria’s political annals is being opened as the 9th National Assembly is inaugurated.
Before today’s inauguration, there has been serious horse trading, political maneuvering, cohesion, persuasion and negotiation on the election of the Senate President and the Deputy as well as the Speaker, House of Representatives and the deputy.
From a number of aspirants, the contest was narrowed down to Ahmad Lawan and Ali Ndume for position of Senate Presidency and Femi Gbajabiamila, Ahmed Bago and two others for the House speakership position.
After today’s emergence of leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly, they are expected to swing into action.
Expectations from the 9th Assembly are high as they the lawmakers have the task of focusing on people-oriented legislations, transparent oversight functions, guarding legislature independence, enthronement of leadership devoid of external manipulations.
Undoubtedly, the 8th National Assembly scored many first especially in terms of number of bills passed, upholding of the independence of the legislative arm of government and frictions with the executive arm on some national issues because of political differences.
This leaves the 9th Assembly with a huge task of improving upon the achievements made by their predecessor.
Irrespective of the choice of the Senate President or his political leaning, members of the 9th Assembly should note that there is bound to be friction between the parliament and executive especially in the area of engagements and consultations between the two arms before the submission of the annual budget to the legislature.
Immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki said if the presidency refuses to have engagements and consultations with the leadership of the National Assembly before the President submits the budget to the legislature, then there will continue to be frictions.
The executive should not see the failure of a few of its appointees to secure confirmation by the Senate as questioning the powers of the executive or disagreement with its authority.
The refusal of the 8th Assembly to confirm the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a case in study to caution the executive not to encourage its appointees who fail to secure Senate confirmation to remain in office.
We believe that the executive should not take the legislature as a rubber stamp without the right to question its actions, because this will be a subversion of the principles of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.
The 9th Assembly should preached a united parliament devoid of partisanship, need to be united and focused irrespective of political parties so that Nigerians would be better for it.
The lawmakers should note that they were not elected to only represent their constituents but to protect the interest of the country as large.
Once they take the oath of office, they cease to represent their political parties, religious organisation, or a cabal on this platform.
This, however, does not mean that the parliament should compromise the independence of the legislature. They must continue to do only those things that will promote the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.
Lawmakers in the 9th Senate should know that they have a duty to define their role in history by defending the institution of the National Assembly.