With the swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari and the curtains drawn on the 7th National Assembly, attention has duly shifted to the leadership of the 8th National Assembly. Needless to state that the most focused of the two chambers is the Senate.
The Nigerian Senate comprising 109 distinguished senior citizens is expected to select or elect a new leader come Tuesday, 9th July, 2015.
Two major contenders for the leadership of the Senate; Senator Bukola Saraki from Kwara State and Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe have thus emerged for the top seat.
While not delving into the usual complimentary remarks in support of a particular candidate, it is, however, pertinent that as a card-carrying member of the APC, one implored on the party, its senators and other distinguished senators to make the best choice of the two, especially as it regards experience, party loyalty and of course the question of the moral burden.
If Nigeria must be the winner and seen to be the ultimate beneficiary of the gift of a most qualified Senate president, then the perfect choice in my candid opinion for the job at hand is Senator Ahmed Lawan ( Dan Masanin bade).
And the reasons are not far-fetched.
The first issue I would like to look at is the years of ranking and, indeed, experience in law-making, especially at the level of the national assembly.
Lawan is the longest serving APC legislator in the National Assembly, having been there since 1999. If ever there is a reward for experience in the promulgation and act of lawmaking he should be granted that reward.
Following suit is the issue of loyalty to the party, which is and should be very paramount to the APC. Unlike his major contestant who left for the PDP in 2003 to wrest power from an ANPP governor and later jumped back to the APC, Senator Lawan has never left the opposition.
Even after the huge pressure mounted on him from 2007-2010 when the party had major issues in Yobe state, he resisted that allure and remained in the opposition till date – ensuring that ANPP which joined to berth APC remained intact and the winning party in Yobe State and the northeast at large. His conviction and vision has come to be manifest in the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari today under the APC’s banner.
Thirdly, I would love to see a senate president that inspires the down trodden to aspire for the highest seat in the land. It is my humble opinion that Lawan’s emergence will instantly inspire millions of Nigerians who are the ‘children of nobody’ and further drive home the message that surnames cannot serve as privileges and be recognized by mere mentions. This will give each and every Nigerian the opportunity to thrive in the country we collectively own.
In- addition, it is pertinent that for the sake of stability, that credibility and credence be highly considered a factor as ascending to a post as sensitive as the Senate presidency necessitates that one should not have any excess baggage with him or her. As proven in the past, these are usually booby traps used to achieve peculiar interest, albeit politically most times.
For Lawan, who has never been indicted or faced any criminal or civil charge, this says millions of his persona and character. The fact that of the five elections that he has won, only once has he been dragged to a tribunal (in 2011, where he won against PDP) says volume of his electoral conduct also.
The added advantage of this is that the Senate President upon election would immediately hit the ground running and not be distracted by summons and lawyers but squarely aid in giving Nigerians the real change in governance as it relates to meaningful life.
Nigerians would not all vote but be represented by their senators. I believe that in electing a Senate president, the interest of Nigerians as well as continued stability of our democracy must be taken into consideration and held utmost in the minds of our distinguished citizens.
Having served as the House committee chairman on Education and Agriculture before his present appointment as the chairman Senate committee on Public Accounts, Lawan who is happily married blessed with children cuts the picture of the perfect senate president.
The Senate will surely strive under his leadership with his envisaged deputy, Sen. George Akume, as well as with the support of all other loyal party members across geo-political divides.
Nigerians indeed look forward to his swearing in on Tuesday.
By Kaitafa Ahmed Sani