It is worthy of note that the 9th National Assembly has continued to enjoy rave reviews and focus of attention as many of its members are individually or collectively listed for deserving awards and honours.
Ably led by Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, the National Assembly is first at peace with itself, which is a clear departure from the past when it was often a divided house and embroiled in crises.
Gone are those days when legislators turned on themselves and wallowed in partisanship at the expense of the nation.
Today, the National Assembly is more mature than ever and its composition of patriotic great men and women gives hope for a better Nigeria and the dawn of a new beginning.
Apparently this time around they came with a strong and burning desire to work for Nigeria and not the other way round, and this is evident in the quality of deliberations, motions, bills, investigative and oversight functions of the 9th session.
Under the current dispensation there appears to be a synergy of working relationship between the legislative and executive arms which however does not belie the fact that the Assembly has never shied away from its investigative functions which it has been performing sometimes to the chagrin of government ministers and functionaries who have been put to pains to clarify programmes, projects and policies.
But all these they perform with utmost integrity and avowed determination to keep moving Nigeria forward.
In his critical analysis titled ‘Working for Nigeria’, Senator Ajibola Basiru aptly described the 9th Assembly as “offering legislative propositions that have unlocked constitutional logjams, planting the seeds for economic transformation and intervening when necessary to steady the ship of state.”
Truly the 9th Assembly has played strategic roles in laying a solid foundation for Nigeria’s economic development. Perhaps for the first time in many decades, the nation’s annual budgets are now being passed without unnecessary delays. It was indeed a pity and quite unfortunate how previous sessions of the Assembly delayed passage of the budgets and caused national economic stagnation that created no love lost with the executive. Those were the gloomy era when the Assembly was beclouded by partisanship.
But today, the Assembly is made up of true progressives and democrats in whose hearts there is no room for unpatriotism and political bitterness.
Putting aside political differences, the 9th Assembly has been more focused on the economy and how to turn it around. Working round the clock, relevant committees have introduced motions, bills and proposals which have added value to the nation’s economy.
Particularly of note is the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream chaired by Senator Bassey Albert who himself has worked assiduously to buoy the economy and re-engineer the oil sector. Such far-reaching inputs by the Senate are beginning to yield reforms in the oil industry.
From his days in the 8th Senate and experience garnered there as chairman of the Oil and Gas Committee, Senator Albert has been in the forefront of bringing positive changes to the oil industry which undoubtedly is the mainstay of the nation’s economy. His wealth of knowledge of the oil industry is rubbing off on the 9th Senate at this critical time when the economy has to be reinvigorated.
Today, the National Assembly can take credit for the landmark breakthrough in the oil industry such as the amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, CAP D3 LFN 2004 through which Nigeria was expected to rake in about $1.5 billion to fund the 2020 budget. Also, the Petroleum Industry Bill is expected to be passed into law soon and the credit will go to the current Assembly.
Apparently, and perhaps for the first time, we have a National Assembly that is working for Nigeria.