Senate President Ahmed Lawan has asked Nigerians to leave the house to vote for members of the 9th Assembly if they are tired. It is safer for the senators to be voted out according to Lawan, than for the Senate to be abolished as criticised by some Nigerians.
He said that scrapping the Senate would lead to chaos.
Lawan announced this on Friday, November 20, thus announcing the opening of a retreat in Abuja for senior management of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Committee.
In comparison to the House of Representatives, where states with higher numbers provide the largest number of senators, he described the Senate as a leveler that ensured that all areas of the country are equally represented.
Because of the alleged jumbo pay received by the senators, the Senate President even faulted the claim of those clamoring for the scrapping of the Senate. He said the National Assembly’s annual budget is less than one percent of the 2021 budget for the country.
In his words;
”Without the National Assembly and the legislature across the country, what you have is not democracy anymore. So the value of the legislature and National Assembly to Nigerians is democracy. If you take out the legislature, it might not be a dictatorship but certainly not a democracy.
So when we always debate on jumbo pay and not the functions of the National Assembly – what we are able to do and what we are not able to do.
Ask for what you think we should be doing rather than saying close down the Senate or the National Assembly. Do you understand the implications of what would happen if we close the senate?
The Senate is a leveler because in the House of Representatives, the population is major – that is why some states will have five, six members and others have up to 20. So if you say close down the Senate, there will be a day when people will cry foul.
In the Senate, what Kano produces is what Bayelsa will produce. Three senators in Kano and three senators in Bayelsa, so that stabilizes the system.
In a budget of N13 trillion, the National Assembly will get about N125bn to N128bn. That is less than 1 percent. So where is the remaining 99 percent?
I’m not here to defend the national assembly but I’m here to encourage the debate on what it means to us as a 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.”