Senate to begin constitution review soon ― Lawan
• Determined to pass PIGB, Electoral Act Amendment bill this year
The Chairman of the National Assembly and Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, has said the Senate will commence constitutional review to meet the yearnings of all sections of Nigeria.
Lawan said the chairman of the constitution review committee would be the Deputy Senate President, explaining that this has been a tradition of the Senate and he will not change it.
According to him, the Deputy Senate President is an erudite lawyer and was a member of the same committee in the Eighth Assembly besides served in the Senate committee of INEC in the last Senate.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central Senatorial District is currently the Deputy Senate President.
Lawan said the National Assembly will also carry out legislative works on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bills (PIGB) Electoral Act Amendment to improve the processes and procedures of the elections especially against the backdrop of lessons learnt from the 2019 elections and off-season on elections where many re-runs were conducted both in 2019 and 2020.
According to him, the Senate will break the jinx of non-passage and consequent presidential assent of the Petroleum Industry Governance bills and it’s ancillary bills on the environment, host community etc.
The Senate President said the legislative passage and presidential assent on the PIGB were sacrosanct to boosting not only the revenue in the oil sector but would herald a new oil exploration with huge investments as was never witnessed.
“The PIB that has defied passage, we want to break that jinx, whatever the mystery, we are determined to make sure that we pass the PIGB before the end of this year by the grace of God.
“The PIB is so important, utilise we are able to pass those bills, whatever happens, you cannot attract investment into the Nigerian oil industry.
“So whatever happens, in the last ten years there, has not been any significant investment in the oil sector in Nigeria, that makes that bill so important because we have lost so much.
“When we pass the PIGB by the grace of God, the enormous advantages and benefits important to catapult the Nigerian economy to the level we desire.
“We are not so oblivious of the need to amend the Electoral Act, we have had 2020, 2019 elections. We have had re-run, even last weekend we had 28 elections in 11 states. There must be lessons to be learnt from these elections from 2019 – 2020
“So we should be looking at where there were challenges and what we need to do is to know where there are needs to provide legislative intervention so that we have better election processes and procedures going forward.
“This is going to occupy our minds and is going to be at the front burner,” the Chairman of the National Assembly said to journalists in Abuja.
Lawan who said the Senate would meet with the revenue generation agencies maintained that the Senate would remain the closest ally of the agencies to enable them to meet their revenue targets to make the 2020 budget implementation a reality, said there was a need to better the nation’s security reality presently.
To achieve this he said the Senate will regularly meet with them to be able to know when there is a need for legislative intervention to address challenges that could undermine the nation’s revenue profile to meet national economic and development aspiration.
His words: “Implementation of the 2020 budget is going to occupy our time. We have passed the budget, now the 2020 budget would have started in January and would end on December 31.
“We are going to continuously engage the MDA at oversight function.
“In fact, we are going to introduce the presentation of oversight reports at plenary so that knowledge of performance would not be limited to only members of a particular committee. Where the entire Senate needs to take a position it would be done from the point of knowledge.
“Where we need to intervene to prove performance we will do so.
“I believe we are going to engage the revenue generation agency continuously for the whole year.
“You know that the implementation of the 2020 budget would depend largely on the revenue we are able to generate and collect.
“Therefore, the optimal performance of the revenue-generating agencies will be critical here, we are going to engage the revenue-generating agencies on a quarterly basis.
“We shall at early next month we would hold a general meeting with all the revenue-generating agencies for a Congress sort of meeting. That is to tell them, that we are here for you.
“We want to ensure that you perform creditably well discharge the mandate that is expected of you. It is going to be a policy of some sort, that every revenue-generating agency, generate to meet its target and where there are issues we will be there to ensure that the issues are dealt with,” he stated.
On security, the Senate President said the National Assembly would be carrying out legislative interventions that would appeal to the minds of Nigerians to make their lives more comfortable both economically and security-wise.
“What we have in mind is what is important to all Nigerians, first and most importantly is to look at is the issue of security that is bedevilling the country. Apparently and obviously all hands must be in the deck to ensure that we bring back a better security situation as we have before.
“Presently, the story is not good in many areas you have so much happening that is destabilising and killing of people and we owe Nigerians the responsibility to intervene and work together with other tiers of government to ensure that we change the way we approach security matters in this country.
“We resume tomorrow by the grace of God. It will be a sad day for us all as one of our legislators in the House of Representatives from Jigawa State died.
“It is customary that we honour the late members, therefore the Senate will simply suspend parliamentary activities till Wednesday.
“Apparently the system has not been working effectively and efficiently and this time around there shouldn’t be bulk passing. We have to be forthright on these things and we have to do it as it is required,” Senate President said.