Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has praised the present National Assembly, notably the leadership style of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, hosted a birthday party for Senate President Lawan, who turned 63 on Wednesday, and in his message, delivered by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari praised Lawan.
President Muhammadu Buhari praised the Ninth National Assembly on Thursday in a statement issued by Ola Awoniyi, President of the Nigerian Senate’s Special Advisor (Media), titled ‘Buhari Applauds Ninth National Assembly as Lawan Urges Consensus on Critical Issues,” according to the statement. Since their university days at the University of Maiduguri in the early 1980s, Kalu and Lawan have been close friends.
Criticism has been leveled at Nigeria’s 9th National Assembly, which has been accused of being nothing more than a rubber stamp for President Muhammadu Buhari.
To express his admiration for Lawan’s individual accomplishments, Gambari claimed the President had sent him to deliver a congratulations message.
He said, “The third dimension of Mr President’s message is to commend the celebrant for the very able manner in which he has steered the affairs of the National Assembly.
“Some people assume that the role of the Legislative arm of government is to oppose the government. That is not the President’s understanding. The National Assembly is an arm of government just as the Executive is; just as the Judiciary is. That means the three arms of government are to work in a complementary manner.
“Therefore, Mr President views the kind of flair, the commitment, the passion, the constructive engagement with the Executive under his leadership, the cooperation with the Executive as a sign, not of weakness but strength.
“It is easy to be critical. It is easy to be negative but it is a lot more difficult and more challenging to have constructive engagement and cooperation with the Executive. But the beneficiary of such constructive engagement and cooperation is the nation.”
The Chief of Staff to the President added, “One of the achievements is that we now have a budget that runs from January to December and Mr President has just signed the Finance Bill and budget for 2022.
“So, the President really commends the way in which he handles the affairs of the National Assembly and looks forward to many more periods of cooperation with your leadership.”
Lawan made an impassioned plea to politicians of all stripes to work together to find common ground on pressing national issues.