Former Enugu State governor and Senator representing Enugu East, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Wednesday said that the expectation of majority of senators is that Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, will steer the affairs of the Senate with listening ear.
Nnamani also said that the election of Lawan was a bipartisan effort.
He told reporters in Abuja that majority of senators-elect believed that “an academic and an intellectual can be able to read between the line, between an antagonistic legislature and a legislature that is alive to its responsibilities and helps the Executive to have a smooth operation of government.”
He said “I believe we are expecting a vibrant Senate. I’ve had opportunity of studying closely the new President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and I’ve done a review of his background.
“He has a PhD Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System from a UK University. That shows he is an academic, he is a man of study and an intellectual who has information.
“I have also had cause to work with him. I was in the Senate for four years. He was Chairman, Public Accounts Committee at that time. I’ve also had opportunity to interact with him and I’ve found him a gentleman.
“He comes across as an intellectual and a man in total control of his temperament. So I’m looking forward to working with him.
“He certainly has my support. I believe he’s going to steer the Senate with listening ears.
“So based on the election of c that happened on Tuesday, I can tell you it was a bipartisan effort.
“As an academic and an intellectual can be able to read between the fine line, between an antagonistic legislature and a legislature that is alive to its responsibilities and helps the Executive to have a smooth operation of government.”
“I believe that the two arms of government (Executive and Legislature) are co-dependent and as long as we wish each other well; as long as the focus is Nigeria, the Senate can act independently.
“The Senate can assert itself without confronting the Executive or jeopardizing the goals of discipline.
“I believe that Senator Ahmad Lawan is going to find a meeting point between the level of independence and the level of frustrating the Executive. But the two go together.
“After all you have to remember that this presidential constitutional democracy started in America.
“It was essentially legislated into existence. The founding fathers of the United States and the framers of their Constitution were essentially legislators.
“The people that wrote their Constitution, (headed by General Washington who was the Commander-in Chief during the war) had an option of either going with a monarchy or a constitutionally elected executive, but they decided to go with the latter.”
According to him the framer of the Nigeria did envisaged that there will be antagonism between the Executive and the Legislature “because it is actually one government.” “That is why in America, the Vice President is the President of the Senate,” he said.
He noted that when a party gets elected into government, if the party is in control of the Executive and Legislature, “it means that both arms would work together.”
The leader in the Executive, he said, will call the Legislature to brief them of their policies and programmes and find out of those are workable.
According to him, the Legislature may suggest some amendments to what the Executive presents.
“Thereafter, the policies can be formally presented to the Legislature who will now convince the opposition to pass it,” he said.
Nnamani added, “If you look at how constitutional democracy was developed, the idea was not that the two arms of government will fight or be antagonistic to each other. The idea was that they are going to be co-dependent and work together.
“So if the party in the majority is in government and controls the Executive, if they are lucky and they are also control of the Legislature, they are going to work together.
“There is no dividing line. It is one government.
“Now if they convince the opposition and it buys into the plan, it sails through but if they can’t convince the opposition, the matter will be out to vote. If they win, you go along with it.
On his legislative agenda, the Enugu East Senator listed health issues, road infrastructure, South East Development as part of his focus.
He said, “Not only will this be my advocacy, it will be my responsibility to go to my colleagues, visit them one by one and appeal to them to ensure equity and fairness in development.”