It is no longer news that Leader of the Senate in the 8th National Assembly, Ibrahim Lawan and Majority Leader of the 7th National Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday both emerged as the new Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
For many, it was the script expected to play out. Albeit, the drama that produced the Senate President of the 8th Assembly, Bukola Saraki and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara was still fresh in the minds of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and many keen observers
Though Saraki and Dogara were members of the APC at the time of what many describe as their ‘back door’ emergence in June 2015, the National Assembly witnessed more crises between the Legislative and Executive arms of government. President Muhammadu Buhari, who seemed unperturbed by their emergence, would later realize the political importance of having his men at the helm of affairs at the Red and Green chambers.
A need to avoid the 2015 drama, therefore, made the APC leadership rally round their members to reach a consensus and ensure that they control the Senate and House of Representatives.
Therefore, Lawan and Gbajabiamila were the party’s anointed candidates and despite defiance in some quarters within the party, the leadership of the party and the Presidency were on red alert to foil any last minute upset especially from lawmakers from the fold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
For the APC, the outcome of Tuesday’s NASS elections is a welcome development. The belief is that unlike the last four years, the present leadership will provide the necessary working environment and support to President Buhari to take Nigeria to the ‘Next Level’.
It is expected that the National Assembly will witness lesser rancor and also make vibrant laws in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The emergence of Hon Ahmed Idris Wase unopposed as the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, a development Gbajabiamila attributed to the intervention of his predecessor in office, Dogara, perhaps is also an indicator that the House is ready to work in unison to achieve a common goal.
But much as their eventual emergence is good news to the ears of the APC, there are fears that the checks and balances that the 8th Assembly would be remembered for may wither out.
There had been fears in some quarters that with Lawan and Gbajabiamila, who were seen as the “President’s Men” controlling both Chambers, the National Assembly might lose its bite and become more or less a rubber stamp to the Executive.