The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has called on unsatisfied Nigerians to “change the set of lawmakers” in the ninth assembly by voting them out in the 2023 general elections.
He made this call on Friday while speaking at a retreat for top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission in Abuja.
His reaction comes on the heels of criticism from individuals and civic groups of Nigerian leaders including lawmakers.
It also comes about a month after Nigerians took to the street to demand an end to police brutality in particular and bad governance in general.
Mr Lawan, in his address, faulted Nigerians who demand for the details of the implementation of the National Assembly’s budget rather than the work the lawmakers do.
Rather than calling for the scrapping of the Senate or National Assembly and debating the jumbo pay of lawmakers, he said Nigerians should ask for what they think they (lawmakers) should be doing better.
“Do you understand the implications of if we close the senate? Not because I am in the senate.
“The senate is a leveller because in the house of representatives, population is major – that is why some states will have five, six members and others have up to 20. So, if you say “close the senate”, there will be a day when people will cry foul.
“But in the senate, what Kano produces is what Bayelsa will produce. Three senators in Kano and three senators in Bayelsa, so that stabilises the system. In a budget of N13 trillion the national assembly will get about N125 billion to N128 billion, what percentage is that? So where is the remaining 99 per cent.”
The lawmaker further asked Nigerians to change the current set of lawmakers in 2023 if they feel unsatisfied with their performance.
“I’m not here to defend the national assembly but I’m here to encourage the debate on what it means to us as country. If you don’t like the set of members in the ninth national assembly, change all of us in 2023. Get better people. Let’s support the system to function,” he said.
He further explained that without the national assembly and the legislature across the country, democracy is absent.
The value of the legislature and national assembly to Nigerians is democracy, he added, and if you take out the legislature, it might not be a dictatorship but certainly not a democracy.