The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that Nigerians should be appreciative of the fact the country is still together regardless of her many challenges.
Lawan spoke to journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, shortly on his return from the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the early hours of Thursday, August 15, 2019.
He was full of gratitude to God for the opportunity to be part of the over 60,000 Nigerians that participated in this year’s Hajj.
"We prayed for our country to achieve optimal security, to have stability, peace and progress. We prayed for the National Assembly too. It is our prayer that the ninth National Assembly will be one to work for Nigerians and for the benefit of those who voted for us” Lawan said.
"Nigerians in Saudi Arabia, came together with other Muslims worldwide to pray for global peace. I’m sure that with the message that we heard as part of this year’s pilgrimage and Eid generally, is a message of sacrifice, brotherhood and unity.
"Nigerians should thank God that we are still together, as such we should work to ensure that the unity of this country is not compromised," Lawan added.
The Senate President urged Nigerians to continue to pray for their leaders pointing out that no leader would like to deliberately fail to perform.
"Also, in times of challenges like we are going through presently, Nigerians should continue to be behind their leaders with prayers and support, backed by understanding, and by the Grace of God, Nigeria will reach those great heights that for long we have prayed for."
‘2020 budget to be passed before Christmas’
Lawan reiterated his appeal to the executive arm of government on the need to be on the same page with the National Assembly to reverse the “undesirable trend” of the current budget cycle in Nigeria.
"We need to work for a budget that will be passed by the National Assembly by December. That requires that we work assiduously with the executive arm of government, to have the budget laid before the National Assembly by the end of September, and for the National Assembly to lock up the whole of October this year for budget defence, so that it can be processed and passed before we go on Christmas break. It is doable, it is achievable and attainable,” he stated.
"I’m sure if we are able to achieve that, Nigeria’s economy will witness a boost. Businesses in Nigeria will have something predictable to work with. I believe that together with the executive arm of government, we should be able to do this, as this is fundamental to us in the National Assembly, and I’m sure the executive arm is also looking forward to that.”
Lawan maintained that with the recent constitution of the relevant parliamentary committees, the ninth National Assembly is now more prepared and ready to work for Nigerians.
"The ninth National Assembly has been properly constituted, especially with our committees in place," said Lawan, cladded in black caftan with a purple cap to match.
"We are ready, we are willing, we are capable, we are enhanced to work as an institution, to ensure that we provide those ingredients and inputs that the executive would want for it to implement laudable projects to develop the country," Lawan said.
Lawan departed Abuja on Monday, August 5, 2019, to participate in the Hajj, the first since his emergence as the President of the Senate.
In his company were Senators Sahabi Alhaji Ya'u (Deputy Minority Whip), Teslim Folarin, Bello Mandiya, Ajibola Bashiru and Sani Musa.
He was received on arrival by Senators Barau Jibrin, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mohammed Karage.