President of the Nigerian Senate, Mr. Ahmed Lawan, says ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, national interest must be respected and sustained.
He adds that the interest of the National Assembly itself must also be considered in the choice of those who will lead the legislators.
Lawan was speaking to State House Correspondents, after he met with President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja.
He said: “What will inform the emergence will be the national interest, interest of the National Assembly, the legislature to together and therefore everybody matters in this process. We also believe that Mr. President having been a Senator himself and the Vice President also having been a Senator, this is something that they will always wish and pray for.”
Lawan said he will continue to play his role as a stakeholder of the governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC,) to ensure that the right leaders emerge under a peaceful atmosphere.
“As the Chairman of the 9th National Assembly, I find it dutiful and necessary to work with all the major stakeholders especially the leadership of our country, Mr President particularly, to give my necessary opinion and advice on how the new leadership of the National Assembly should emerge and what we need to do to ensure stability, productivity of the National Assembly and to ensure peaceful atmosphere between the legislature and the executive arms of government.
“We are getting somewhere and I pray we are able to resolve all the outstanding issues by the grace of God. And Mr President is positively disposed to everything being done smoothly,” he said.
When asked about his ambition to retain his seat as President of the Senate, Lawan said he has never shown interest in doing so.
“I have never indicated interest to run for the office of the President of the Senate in the 10th National Assembly. We have worked together with distinguished Senators of the 9th National Assembly and members of the House of Representatives to create a very Clement environment for us to work.
“We have been productive, much more productive than any National Assembly. We have worked very closely with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and of course that helped the administration also.
“My prayer and wish and hope are that we are able to have a peaceful transition. We who are outgoing to a new set of leaders of the National Assembly and who will continue to unite everybody in the National Assembly. We want to have a leadership in the Senate that will unite Senators to work so well regardless of their political parties, the same thing in the House of Representatives.
He called on older members of the National Assembly like him, to mentor new ones that are just coming.
“The truth is I have never indicated interest to run but I have a responsibility to the Senate, the National Assembly having been in the National Assembly for 24 years now, especially when we have 70 percent of members in the National Assembly especially in the Senate who are new, those of us who have been there longer, owe everybody that responsibility to at least help mentoring those who are new if we are not going to be presiding officers or hold principal positions.
“I don’t really wish to be one. I have played my part and I am happy that we have played our part, we have made positive impact but of course, we have had our fair share of shortcomings but I can hold my head high on behalf of all my colleagues in the Senate and the National Assembly that this National Assembly have contributed to national development in no mean measure and have succeeded in getting very critical legislation passed and assented to by the former President,” he said.
Chief of Staff
Ahmed Lawan used the opportunity to canvas support for the Speaker of the House of Representatives to emerge as Chief of Staff to the President.
“I am waiting for the announcement. The speaker of the House of Representatives has been rumoured to be chief of staff designate. But First of all, I pray that comes to pass. If that happens, Mr President would have made a very wise decision.
“At this moment, you need a Chief of Staff with very versed experience in the area of legislation, in the area of cooperating with the executive which the Speaker enjoys from the house. He has a very good network and the support that is required. And when that happens, you know this administration is going to be the administration of the legislators.
“You have a president who was a senator, a Vice President who was a Senator and of course our potential Chief of Staff designate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is somebody who has been in the National Assembly for 20 years. So, this administration should have no difficulty relating with the 10th National Assembly because all of them have passed through the National Assembly system and they know what the sentiments and the sensibilities of members of the National Assembly are.
And I’m sure that the appointment as Chief of Staff to Mr President will be a very welcomed idea to many. So, I wish my brother well and wish that he will become the Chief of Staff and in advance, I pray for almighty God to guide him and protect him in his new job. As a gatekeeper is not going to be an easy job” Lawan stated.