Lawan: Buhari Assented to more Bills Than his Predecessors

December 13, 2021
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* Says 2,500 bills had been worked on by N’ Assembly

Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has been the most proficient in granting assent to Bills as available data on gazetted Acts showed that between 2015 and 2021, Buhari had assented to more than 84 Bills, the highest since the commencement of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

Lawan, who made the remark as a guest lecturer at the first Distinguished Parliamentarians’ Lecture Series, which was facilitated by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), said the projection was that the figure would be significantly higher before the end of Buhari’s tenure in 2023.

According to him, from the available data, President Olusegun Obasanjo signed a total of 82 bills into law between 1999 and 2006, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua signed 38 bills into law between 2007 and 2009, while President Goodluck Jonathan signed 40 bills into law between 2010 and 2015.

He also asserted that the current National Assembly is the most successful in law making since the return to civil rule in 1999.

The Senate President said as of November 2021, about 2,500 Bills had been introduced in the National Assembly, 769 in the Senate and 1,634 in the House of Representatives.

He said the focus of the ninth National Assembly had been on legislations that are most likely to impact either on the democratic institutions, economy, security or the livelihood of Nigerians.

Speaking on the Electoral Bill, which has been transmitted to the president for possible assent, Lawan said once operational, the law will strengthen the electoral process and further reinforce public confidence in democratic institutions, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He opined that the controversy generated by the Bill points to the ever-increasing maturity of democracy and demonstrated that the National Assembly is the people’s Assembly and will always listen to the voice of Nigerians.

“I dare say that the ninth Assembly has been the most successful in the area of lawmaking since 1999. We have broken many ‘jinxes’ and done many ‘firsts,’ overcoming traditional obstacles through consensus building and clever political brinkmanship.

“However, as I have repeatedly maintained, for us in the 9th Assembly, it is not so much the number of bills as it is quality. We have focused our energy working on legislations that have a realistic chance of being assented to as well as those that have the potential to impact most on the lives of Nigerians.

“For 20 years, the National Assembly had attempted reforming the petroleum industry without much success. It was first introduced in the 6th Assembly (2007-2011) but failed to scale through. Similar efforts by the 7th Assembly failed to secure concurrence by the Senate, while in the 8th Assembly, the Bill was passed but failed to secure presidential assent.

“In the 9th Assembly, we prioritised the Bill in our legislative agenda and worked closely with the Executive to secure passage and assent. This historic achievement of the National Assembly means that Nigeria now has legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal frameworks for the petroleum industry that would promote optimal utilisation of the country’s abundant oil and gas resources.

“It will also enhance social and economic development and promote a conducive investment climate in the industry and foster the development of host communities. Without sounding immodest, we have equally concluded work on several other important pieces of legislations that have been signed into law, all of which have the potential to significantly enhance various aspects of our national life.

“The Finance Act (2020) successfully amended 17 key aspects of the extant laws including seven existing tax laws.
The CAMA 2020 Act also represents a landmark achievement representing the first time in 30 years that this law has been updated. Other Bills of great economic significance that have been passed by the National Assembly and awaiting presidential assent include the Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill, Recovery of Public Property Bill and the Amendment of Assets Management Corporation Act, among others.

“The 9th Assembly has also successfully pushed for a return to the January to December budget cycle. This was made possible by a successful collaboration between the president and members of the executive who have, since 2019, ensured early preparation and presentation of the budget.

“We gave expeditious consideration and passage for the Revised 2020 budget to tackle COVID-19 and only recently approved the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP). The National Assembly is working to consider the 2022 Budget Appropriation Bill within this legislative week,” Lawan said.

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