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Lawan: Tasking a lawmaker


By Hassan Adamu Nguru

Since Nigeria’s return to democracy, I have paid more attention to what is happening at the National Assembly and I keenly follow the antecedents of legislators. This is because in a presidential system, the legislature plays the most important roles that directly affect people’s lives. I am more interested in how people’s lives are or were transformed and how governance can have an impact on lives of the people. This is not a way of saying; other arms of government are insignificant. The three arms of government complement each other in so many ways. But the fact is, the legislature stands at the centre when it comes to the people; their present and their future. As citizens and firm believers in the dynamism of democracy, it is our duty to also pay close attention to what they do and how they fared. Where they let us down, we have to say it, and where they met our expectations, we also have to say it. This is what is called fairness.

How can a lawmaker’s performance be appraised? What will be the yardsticks? Even in finding answers to these questions, I believe there should be a context. What worked as a good performance of a lawmaker in the US Congress may not be relevant in Nigeria; though both countries run the same presidential system of government. Some assess lawmakers based on the number of bills they sponsored. Good as it is, but the lawmaker is much more than the number of bills he sponsored. Above all is the quality of representation; attracting projects for the people are more important in assessing the performance of a legislator.

Senator Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate is chairman of the National Assembly. He is also among the longest serving lawmakers – having been in the legislature from 1999 to date. He was in the House of Representatives and then the senate. For us the people of Yobe North senatorial district comprising Bade, Karasuwa, Jakusko, Nguru , Machina and Yusufari, he is a leader whose commitment to his people is a pacesetter. He always stands firm for the good of Yobe North and for the good of the whole of Yobe State.

Senator Ahmad Lawan assumed the leadership of the National Assembly at one of the most difficult times for our country. It is the time of bruising slump in the price of oil in the global market. This is also the time of so many live-consuming conflicts that have wider impact on the economy and socio-political stability of the country. He became the senate president after many years of ‘unstable’ legislature-executive relationship. Under his leadership, the National Assembly now has the stability it needs to function more effectively, and the executive has all the co-operation it needs from the legislature to make the lives of Nigerians better. At the national level, Senator Lawan has been moving in the right direction, solidifying the legislature as the key to political and economic stability of the country. Having been in the National Assembly all through its most turbulent past, he was able to use his experience to continue charging the legislature in the right direction of a mutual relationship, with the executive, based on respect and in the overall interest of all Nigerians. He was able to bring his legislative experience to bear in firmly safeguarding the independence of the legislature without resort to acrimonies. He is facing executive-legislature rifts with the power of dialogue, without resort to headlines grabbing altercations.

At home Senator Lawan has been making impact in many ways. Few days ago, he sponsored the training for Yobe youths on GSM phone repairs. The training started across the three senatorial zones of Yobe state. At least 1000 youths benefitted from the training that also includes; hands-on on hardware, software and entrepreneurship development. In this age of increasing relevance of information technology in all aspects of life, the skills that the youths from all parts of Yobe State will acquire from the training is expected set them on the path of aspiring to be key players in the technology industry. This effort is coming as Senator Lawan is also sponsoring the upgrade of Vocational Training Centre Gashua. Although the centre is located in Gashua it will draw trainees from all of six local governments of Yobe North.

Senator Ahmad Lawan was instrumental to the location of Federal University Gashua where it is now – in Gashua. Locating the university in Gashua puts it in a strategically accessible location for all the people of Yobe North senatorial zone. He also followed this up with ensuring that the Act establishing the university has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Through his efforts, hostels that can accommodate 2000 students are taking off at the university. Already, work is on-going for the establishment of a 10-bed clinic in the university. The world class ICT centre the university now has was a result of the commitment of Senator Lawan. Our senatorial zone is one of the parts of Nigeria referred to as ‘educationally disadvantaged.’ Many missed out on education not because they are not interested but because travelling far away for university education comes with a heavy cost. It is to the credit of Senator Ahmad Lawan that the only university in our zone is getting all the facilities it needs to qualify as a standard university that can meet the skills and manpower needs of the people.

Crucial to development for rural and agrarian communities are roads, which enable people to move around freely for business and social engagements. It is to the credit of Senator Ahmad Lawan that he facilitated the reconstruction of Nguru-Gashua-Baymari road which is nearing completion. For us the people of Yobe North and some parts of Yobe East this road is the most important. Only those of us with an idea of the state of this road before the reconstruction can appreciate how it can transform our communities.

In the area of healthcare, a standard 150-bed Maternal and Child Health hospital is at completion stage in Gashua. The hospital located on Yusufari road is aptly located to service the healthcare needs of all the local governments in Yobe North senatorial zone. For years, the lawmaker had also been using legislative influence in ensuring that the Federal Medical Centre Nguru is resourceful enough to be a referral hospital for Yobe north. Similarly, roads and drainages projects are currently going on in Gashua, Yusufari and Jakusko. There is the now on-going Gasamu-Amshi-Gorgaram road which is also currently ongoing – an important rural road.

On the social front, Senator Ahmad Lawan built Isamiyya model schools in all the local governments in his senatorial zone. He also sponsored the mass wedding of women from indigent families, which eased the social obligation burden on many families. Each year from 2017 to date he sponsored medical outreach in which people received critical medical treatment free. Herders benefitted from cattle vaccination he sponsors annually. He also influenced many TETFUND interventions for tertiary institutions in his zone and scholarships opportunities for many aspiring scholars teaching at these institutions.

For a lawmaker who has been in the legislature for 20 years, these are only recent projects. Beyond bringing notable projects to his zone, Senator Ahmad Lawan has been able to be a unifier of the zone through always ensuring that whatever projects he is bringing and whatever jobs opportunities secured are shared equitably across all local governments of his zone. So, far he raised the bar of leadership and representation, at home and nationally.

  • Nguru writes from Bulabulin, Nguru, Yobe State.

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