December 31, (THEWILL) – Senate President Ahmad Lawan, has assured Nigerians that the Electoral Act amendment Bill and review of the 1999 constitution will be topmost on the National Assembly’s agenda when the lawmakers reconvene in 2022.
Lawan, who made this known on Friday in his New Year message to Nigerians, said the lawmakers would find a way forward on the Electoral Bill rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.
THEWILL had reported that President Buhari had withheld his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, citing the mandatory direct primary clause as major reason.
However, Lawan said the lawmakers are determined to deliver an Electoral Act that stands the test of time in safeguarding democracy and the electoral process in the country.
He hinted that they would also receive the report of the Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution upon resumption from recess, adding that the outcome of the exercise would promote unity, stability, and peaceful coexistence among the people.
Lawan encouraged Nigerians not to lose hope in the nation and its democratic institutions, saying the current challenges would be overcome.
He stressed that the ninth National Assembly would never be distracted from the implementation of its legislative agenda, promising that many more bills would be passed in the new year.
The statement reads: “I congratulate fellow Nigerians everywhere as we cross over from 2021 into a happy and prosperous 2022.
“I join you in thanking the Almighty God for His mercy that made the crossover possible for us as individuals and as a nation.
“The Year 2021 was challenging for people all over the world. It is praiseworthy that beyond the challenges, we can see the rays of a bright future from the new year.
“As your elected representatives, our new year pledge is to continue to pursue our common desire of a just, peaceful, and prosperous country. We promise to continue to discharge this responsibility without fear or malice, confident that by working in harmony, Nigerians will build the great country that is their abiding dream and manifest destiny.
“Without a doubt, insecurity is today one of our biggest challenges. However, I can attest that the government is resolutely addressing these challenges.
“As a critical contribution to that effort, the National Assembly has appropriated more funds in the 2022 budget to enhance the operational capabilities of our security agencies.
“My message to fellow Nigerians is that we should not lose faith in our country and its democratic institutions. The current challenges will be overcome and become mere footnotes in our glorious national history.
“The ninth National Assembly is focused and will never be distracted from the implementation of its Legislative Agenda as we had spelt out following our inauguration in 2019.
“Within the context of that Agenda, we have passed many critical bills and have many more to roll out in the new year.
“At the beginning of 2021, we made specific promises to the Nigerian people with respect to our legislative focus. We are proud that we have kept those promises.
“For instance, breaking the jinx of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which had defied passage for about two decades, was high on our agenda in 2021. With the cooperation of the Executive and the support of the key stakeholders, we were able to break the jinx. We passed the bill and got it signed into law in 2021.
“This piece of legislation will significantly impact the Nigerian economy and propel a significant turnaround in our oil and gas sector.
“It was with the same spirit of patriotism that we handled the Electoral Act amendment bill. We believe that sustainable democratic governance requires a transparent and credible electoral process.
“Following the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold assent to the bill, we shall make further consultations on the issues he stated for that decision, on our resumption of plenary in January.
“We shall find a way forward on this critical legislation in the new year. We are determined to deliver an Electoral Act that stands the test of time in safeguarding democracy and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“We are also looking forward to receiving the report of our Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution upon our resumption from recess. We believe that the outcome of this very important exercise will promote unity, stability, and peaceful coexistence in our country.
“The Electoral Act amendment bill and review of the 1999 constitution will be topmost on our agenda as we reconvene for Legislative business in the new year.
“Upon our inauguration in 2019, the ninth National Assembly had promised to reset the national budget calendar to January to December cycle, to make our fiscal system predictable and consistent with international best practice.
“We have since 2019 passed the national yearly budget every December to enable the President sign it into law before the new year. In consistence with this, on Friday 31st December 2021, we witnessed the signing into law by the President, the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
“Timely passage of the budget enhances the performance of the economy and has specifically aided our recent quick recovery from recession. We are determined to sustain this trajectory to act as an impetus to our economic planning and projection.
“The much that we have been able to accomplish this far can be attributed to the commitment and dedication of my fellow Distinguished colleagues and Honourable members and the prevailing atmosphere of cordiality between the National Assembly and the Executive. We intend to sustain and even improve on this in the new year and beyond.
“I appeal for continued understanding and support of all Nigerians for the government at all levels. As your legislators at the federal level, we will continue in the true spirit of our mantra to “work for Nigeria.
“Once again, I wish us all a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2022.”