The President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the ninth National Assembly has consciously chosen to unite in the national interest despite the fact that its members are from different political parties.
“This ninth National Assembly is a different National Assembly,” Lawan told members of the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association at the weekend.
“We have chosen consciously to be united on one thing: that thing is national interest,” the Senate President said at a maiden end of year dinner and awards night organised by the UNIMAID, his alma mater.
“It doesn’t matter what our platform is. You can be an APC member of the National Assembly. You can be a PDP member of the National Assembly. In fact you can be an YPP member of the National Assembly.
“This ninth National Assembly, particularly the Senate, our platforms have conveyed us. We are grateful to our parties. We believe in the ideals of our parties but we have resolved to work for Nigeria,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said the Legislature is the most misunderstood arm of government because it is the youngest.
He said the current National Assembly believes that Nigeria should be made a safer country and with its economy working for Nigerians.
“All of us here are privileged. Some are more privileged than others but the fact remains that those who are disadvantaged are outside there.
“They are at the villages or they are in slums in the cities. We have to work to make lives better for them. It is our duty, our mandate to work so hard regardless of our political platforms.
“We have also said we will work with the executive arm of government to ensure that there is some decency in what we do. That we are productive in what we do. That we are able to give Nigerians what they voted for.
“Nigerians didn’t vote for us to come and fight. Nigerians voted for us to come and work for them,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said that the resolve to collaborate on national issues notwithstanding, “we are not going to allow the executive arm of government to take any advantage of us.
“We will disagree with them but when we disagree, we are not going to the market square to fight, to shout. We are going to resolve it in a round table manner. We are going to resolve it in the national interest. Not on what we feel or what we like or what we don’t like. We should be able to resolve any issue on the basis of what is good for Nigeria.”
Lawan paid glowing tribute to current and former Vice Chancellors of the school with special emphasis on Professor Jibril Aminu, who was the VC from 1980 to 1985, for his laudable policy which has “created a critical mass of academics” for the school and which his successors have proudly sustained to date.
The Senate President also congratulated the staff and particularly the students who still have faith in the school despite the constant threats by Boko Haram insurgents.
“Despite the threat of Boko Haram insurgents, students are still being faithful that they will still get their education in the University of Maiduguri.
“This is courage. This is belief in what the University can do to protect them and what the University can do to give them the education they require and the character formation that goes with it,” Lawan said.
On the recent hike in tuition fees in UNIMAID which the National Assembly kicked against, the Senate President advised the management of the school to always consult widely before taking any decision on fundamental issues.
The high-point of the event was the presentation of awards to some alumni of the school including the Senate President who received an Outstanding Achievement Award in celebration of his position as the highest ranking alumini political office holder and in recognition of his dedication and Humanitarian service.
Lawan promptly dedicated the award to his class of 1984 Geography graduates.