The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advanced reasons to justify the current dispensation of collaboration between the National Assembly and the Executive.
Lawan said the prevailing harmonious relationship between the arms of government made the ninth National Assembly the most productive since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had so far signed into law 84 bills passed by the ninth Assembly, the largest by any Nigerian President.
The Senate President made the disclosure in a paper which he delivered at the just concluded 3rd Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the State House, Abuja.
His paper was titled: “Collaboration to deliver: Fostering Executive/Legislative relationship and opportunities for legacy legislation.”
Lawan stated that his presentation was “best understood within the context of our presidential system of government and the doctrine of the separation of powers.
“The three arms of government are separate but interdependent, and the ultimate goal of each is to deliver good governance and meet the aspirations of all Nigerians.
“Many Nigerians have come to construe harmonious executive-legislative relations as a sign of weakness or subservience to the executive.
“Nothing can be further from the truth than this misperception, which we must painstakingly work to correct.
“It is not uncommon for some to view the three arms of government as occupying separate and identifiable domains of power and responsibility, with little opportunity or need for interaction.
“However, this kind of dualism is not only untenable but damaging. It is now widely recognised that good national governance depends on core state institutions working cooperatively.
“A constructive relationship between the three arms of government, i.e., legislature, the executive and the judiciary, is essential to effectively maintaining the constitution and promoting the rule of law.
“Timely consultations between all stakeholders can play a significant role in avoiding gridlocks, improving understanding and delivering development to the people on whose behalf we govern.
“The legislature is constituted by the people’s direct representatives and is responsible for reflecting the voices of ordinary Nigerians.
“This cannot be achieved through unnecessary grandstanding, conflict and war of egos. As the cliché rightly states, ‘where two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’.
“As one of the longest-serving legislators in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, I am well aware of the dangers of adopting a confrontational approach to governance issues.
“A lot of energy and resources (time and money) are dissipated over inconsequential issues rather than on dealing with substantive and livelihood-based issues that confront the average Nigerian.
“At the beginning of the 9th Assembly, we took a deliberate position to collaborate with the executive to ensure that the cardinal objective of government (welfare and security of citizens) is met.
“Hence, despite the media bashing and name-calling, I am proud to say that this National Assembly has been the most productive since 1999.
“The achievements recorded are mainly due to a harmonious executive relation and heightened engagement with the executive on proposed policies and laws long before they are formally presented to Assembly for legislative action.
“This strategy has enabled us to surmount many of the traditional obstacles and bottlenecks that confronted previous Assemblies.
“The synergy between the legislature and the executive has resulted in reforming our budgetary process to entrench transparency and accountability, professionalism, greater citizen participation, and strict guidelines and timelines (January-December).
“In addition, we worked with President Muhammadu Buhari to support the establishment of the Executive, Legislative, and Party Consultative Forum headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to promote harmony in governance towards enhancing service delivery to the Nigerian people.
“In the last few years, the National Assembly provided legislative support and approval towards the realisation of this administration’s unwavering commitment to improving security, transforming the nation’s economy and modernising infrastructure, specifically, railway system, roads and power, across the length and breadth of this country.
“The results of our collaboration are clear for all to see. President Muhammadu Buhari has granted assent to eighty four(84) bills so far, the largest by any Nigerian president.
“Many of the Acts enacted have immediate and long-term impacts on all aspects of our national life, including the economy, security, and democratic institutions.
“These include the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, Electoral Act 2022, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2020.
“Other impactful legislations are the Finance Act, 2020, Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020; Police Act, 2020; and the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (Amendment) Act 2019, etc.
“The impact of the enactment of these landmark legislations will continue to be felt for generations to come. Indeed, a clear benefit of harmonious legislative-executive relations is the successes recorded by the 9th Assembly in passing laws that have consistently failed to scale through since 1999.
“Other areas of achievements that are hinged on effective collaboration with the executive include the adoption of legislative measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians, mitigate its consequences, limit its spread and improve the efficiency of Nigeria’s health system to cope with the unprecedented challenges occasioned by the pandemic.”