The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has asked Nigerians to chide the National Assembly if it behaves as an appendage of the executive arm of government.
He said this while responding to questions from some journalists in Abuja on Monday.
Mr. Lawan asked Nigerians to judge the lawmakers by their actions.
“I will like to appeal…judge us by what we do, judge us by our actions. We have undertaken so many actions so far and the press has been on this journey with us. Please judge us on what we do and what we don’t,” he said.
Mr. Lawan said the National Assembly would do everything possible to ensure that “they legislate on what will make life better for Nigerians.”
“…and we have shown this so far. I think we have not done anything to show that even if a request against Nigerians will be passed.
“So that settles the issue of rubber-stamp. When we do rubber-stamp, you can say this is rubber-stamp,” he said even as he urged Nigerians to “please encourage us when we also do what is right,” he said.
An organization acts as a rubber stamp when it approves the decisions of others without proper consideration. In a democracy, the legislature is expected to check the executive while maintaining its independence.
Mr. Lawan’s comments come at a time when Nigerians have accused the National Assembly under his leadership as a rubber-stamp.
Some actions taken by the lawmakers that triggered criticisms include the “bow and go” tradition that dominated the ministerial screening months ago as well as the screening of the nominees of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the 14 board nominees of the NDDC, who appeared before the Senate committee, were asked to ‘bow and go’ without facing any serious questions from lawmakers.
The majority of the ministerial nominees by President Buhari were also asked to ‘bow and go,’ with the Senate under Mr. Lawan even amending its own rules to increase the number of nominees who would benefit from such ‘grace.’
Another incident was the second reading and passage of the tax bill which the lawmakers did without seeing copies of the bill.
Recently, Mr. Lawan had said the National Assembly will consider requests sent to them by the president as he believes “it is in the best interest of Nigerian and Nigerians”.
Mr. Buhari’s relationship with the legislature in his first tenure in office was turbulent as the chambers were led by his political opponents.