Former Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ahmed Ningi, has insisted on the independence of lawmakers, taking a jab at the ninth National Assembly for being an ‘appendage of the presidency’.
Ningi, who was also a former House Leader in the House of Representatives, spoke at a meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) stakeholders forum at Bauchi Central senatorial zone held in Bauchi.
He lambasted the current All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated National Assembly for being too soft on national issues and patting the back of the presidency on wrongdoings to the detriment of good democratic governance.
Ningi faulted the APC-led federal government for destabilising the National Assembly by making it so loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is the first time in the history of the National Assembly where lawmakers are not challenging the presidency despite the numerous challenges facing the country.
“I can’t be a senator and be silent on national issues, especially at this time that our country is in critical condition of hardship caused by the APC government,” Ningi, who represented Bauchi Central senatorial district in the Senate, said.
He said lawmakers during his time stood up to the presidency, citing the instance of the move by the National Assembly to impeach then President Olusegun Obasanjo shortly before the 2003 general election.
According to him, this was even though PDP dominated both chambers of the National Assembly at the time, while Obasanjo was elected on the platform of the same party.
The former lawmaker said: “President Obasanjo was adjudged to have breached the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and we did not hesitate to commence impeachment proceedings against him even though we belonged to the same political party.”
He declared that for good governance as enshrined in the constitution, the National Assembly had to be robust, strong and active with a view for it to always positively challenge the presidency.
Meanwhile, the PDP chieftain submitted that the clamour by people of the central senatorial district for him to contest in the 2023 general election was an indication of his good leadership qualities, which he showed when he was in the National Assembly.
Ningi said his constituents enjoyed his tenure both as a member of the House of Representatives and Senate, saying this was the reason they wanted him back in the Senate in 2023.
The former lawmaker, who said he contested elections nine times out of which he won seven times, thanked the people of the district for the confidence reposed in him to be their senator once more, assuring them that he would provide effective and good representation, which he said was currently lacking.