NASS: With Lawan’s election, APC has learned its lessons — Nnamani

NASS: With Lawan’s election, APC has learned its lessons — Nnamani

By Henry Umoru, Assistant Political Editor

ABUJA- SENATOR   Chimaroke Nnamani, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu West, has said that the just inaugurated 9th Senate will be a vibrant and   veritable platform to drive the debate on issues relating to Nigeria, considering the election of Senator Ahmad Lawan, APC, Yobe North as the Senate President.

NASS: With Lawan’s election, APC has learned its lessons — Nnamani 1NASS: With Lawan’s election, APC has learned its lessons — Nnamani 2
Former Gov. Chimaroke Nnamani

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Nnamani also disclosed that his focus in the Senate will be to debate on the Nigerian project in order to make it work better for the generality of Nigerians.

In a chat with Journalists at his Asokoro residence, the former governor of Enugu State, 1999 to 2007, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to send his list of ministerial nominees on time with portfolios attachee.

While unfolding his legislative agenda as a Senator in the 9th Senate,   he stressed the need for the Executive and Legislative arms of government to work together for the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said that  in making the Nigerian Project work for his constituents and Nigerians generally,   his debate cum advocacy   in the Senate will be on inclusiveness of the Eastern part of the country in the ongoing rail system development, upgrading of the Enugu Airport to International standard, Empowerment Scheme for Nigerian   Youth, Health Jurisprudence, electoral reforms as well as constitution amendments.

He said that educated   advocacy   will help   in selling the idea of restructuring and not political confrontation, adding: “There is power in educated advocacy. An important idea like restructuring can better be sold through it by identifying areas of interests and advocating them.

“For example , to me rather than driving the idea of decentralizing Policing in the country by calling for establishment of    State Police, advocating it from the angle of community policing will be better understood and accepted by all Nigerians.

“ When an idea is marketed   persuasively and letting your audience know that what you are advocating is not strange and harmful to them in anyway , they will be more circumvent in dealing with you.”

According to Nnamani, rather than the basic bread and butter politics, educated advocacy on how to make the Nigerian project work better will be made to be the central focus of the 9th National Assembly, adding, “  My coming to the Senate on a second missionary journey is driven by a greater sense of the need for the ‘sleeping giant’ called Nigeria, to wake up from her slumber.

“It   is a project that must be made to work for the generality of Nigerians through robust debate and advocacy in that direction.

“Nigeria as a country, has come of age regardless of her chequered history and in doing this,   basic principles of nationhood predicated on   equity, fairness, unity,   justice and rule of law must prevail at all times between the government and the governed at all levels and among her peoples.”

The Senator said that it became imperative for the two arms of government to work together because they are co-independent, stressing that the strength of the just inaugurated Senate would be that of advocacy where there would be consultations as well as skeletal meetings between the lawmakers and the bureaucrats especially before bills are drafted to avoid passage of bills   that at the end of the day are rejected by the President.

Nnamani said: “ 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.

“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 will call the Legislature to brief them of their policies and programmes and find out if they are workable. The Legislature may suggest some amendments to what the Executive presents.

“Thereafter, the policies can be formally presented to the Legislature   which will now convince the opposition to pass it.

“Sometimes, the Executive can even invite the opposition when they are putting together a bill. When they now agree,   they will present it formally to the Legislature. This will decrease acrimony, time wastage and make things easier.”

Nnamani, who was a senator from 2007 to 2011, said that ahead of the presentation of the ministerial   nominees to the Senate for consideration and subsequent approval, President Buhari should ensure that the list has both the names and their portfolios for thorough screening.

Promising that he would ensure that the South East Development Commission Bill, which was not signed into law by President Buhari is resurrected in the Senate because there was no reason in the first place for the President not to assent to the bill since he had signed the North East Development   Commission Bill into law.

The Senator said:   “Part of the issues I will raise are health issues. It applies everywhere. Very soon we are going to be talking about ministerial apointments. Which country do you know will send ministers for screening without telling you their portfolio?

“My role is going to be to resuscitate the South East Development Commission Bill. We are going to look for it and bring it up again. I am surprised that the North East Development Commission Bill was assented without the South East Development Commission Bill being assented. I hope that in future, in the Senate, what is good for the goose, will also be good for the gander.

“As you pass the North East Bill, you also pass the South East bill, if not you hold it until all of them are ready and passed together. 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   developmental matters of this nature.

“If   you look at the Senate President’s address, he called for the bipartisan spirit to continue. He said there is no party – No APC and no PDP .   So I will speak to their bipartisan conscience for us to work together.”

On what to expect in the 9th Senate, Senator Nnamani said: “ I believe we are expecting a vibrant Senate. I have   had the opportunity of studying closely the new   President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and I have done a review of his background; he has a PhD in   Remote Sensing and Geographic lnformation 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. I believe he was the 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 am looking forward to working with him. He certainly has my support.   I believe he is going to steer the Senate with listening ears.

“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.”

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