New leaders have emerged in the newly inaugurated 9th National Assembly (NASS), effectively placing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the saddle.
The new Senate President is Senator Ahmed Lawan and his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, all members of APC, unlike in the 8th NASS which ended on June 8 where all leaders were from opposition party.
The House of Representatives elected Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), as the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives and Mr Ahmed Idris (APC Plateau) as the Deputy Speaker.
Although APC was the ruling party and had majority in the 8th National Assembly, the leaders were from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), having defected from APC.
The current situation, where APC has taken over the Assembly and Executive has been described as exciting by Mr Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, of the party.
He said with the emergence of the party’s preferred candidates as presiding officers of the 9th assembly, the ruling party will have no reason not to deliver on its promises.
Oshiomhole stated on Tuesday night shortly after the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in Abuja.
”Nigerians with their eyes open gave the APC the executive, they also gave us overwhelming majority in the two arms of the National Assembly
”And I think in doing that they also expect that this time around, APC would have no excuse not to deliver.
”We can’t say we are being blocked by the parliament; parliament is ours and those who don”t believe in change cannot be entrusted with the challenge of managing the change.
”And that is why I said we must give the position of responsibility to those who believe in our change agenda
”So today, that has been translated,” he said.
According to him, the challenge is, as we say, to whom much is given, much is also expected.
”We now have no excuse not to deliver on security, not to deliver on the economy and not to deliver on prosperity because that is what the ordinary man voted for and they are our constituents,” he said.
The APC national chair said he was happy with the development at the National Assembly.
”You can just imagine how I feel like a mother who has been carry babies and now, we are on the verge of delivering twins in the two chambers of National Assembly,” he said.
He said it was the mischief of 2015 the party was trying to correct, ”and I am happy that it has been settled.”
He urged the National Assembly to do its job of scrutinising budget from the executive, of carrying out effective oversight function and not distorting the budget.
”So we must exercise our rights with a sense of responsibility and the ultimate objective must be to what extent does these actions impact on the welfare of the Nigerian people,” he said.
Oshiomhole stated that the victory of the party at the National Assembly had vindicated him.
The 69-year-old new senate President promised to be fair to his colleagues irrespective of political, ethnic or religious affiliation.
In his remarks at the end of the inauguration of the 9th Senate, which saw to his emergence, Lawan said the senate under his leadership would do justice to all to ensure that it perform its role for the benefit of Nigerians.
He added that “elections are over. It shows that we voted for a united senate and it is clear that the outcome is bipartisan.
“All parties including the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Young Progressives Party(YPP) voted for me and with this outcome, the 9th Senate is ready to take off as a united senate.
“Today means so many things. It is the commencement of another decade of our democracy and we will work to ensure best global parliamentary practice among other things,” he said.
He promised to run a senate that would be responsive to the needs of the masses whose mandate the senate holds in high esteem.
He called for the support of his colleagues to ensure a robust senate, adding that, “we will not settle for anything less than the best. We will dream big, aim high and take good initiatives.”
He allayed fears that the senate under him would be subservient to the executive.
According to him, the senate will be independent while working with the executive. “We will choose unity of purpose instead of conflict,” he said.
In his reaction to the political development at the national Assembly, a former President of the Senate, Mr. Adolphus Wabara, said the outcome of the election was an indication that the members-elect voted their choice.
He urged them to hit the ground running, noting that Nigerians are expecting their contribution to the growth of the economy.
“The victors should do the needful in the interest of the masses,” he said.
Former Kano State Governor, Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau, said he was impressed by the conduct of the senators-elect and said: “I congratulate all the senators-elect for democratic rights in their voting and I congratulate the president.”
Sen. Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano) said the outcome of the election was good for democracy and was optimistic that the 9th senate would be rancour free.
Sen. Matthew Urghoghide (PDP-Edo) said he was satisfied with the outcome of the election, saying he had no regrets publicly declaring support for Lawan’s emergence.
He expressed hope that “the 9th senate will deliver on its mandate.”
Sen. Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo) also identified with Lawan, adding that “what is left is to settle to the business of lawmaking and other legislative activities.”