Senate President Ahmad Lawan has told Nigerians to vote out all current members of the ninth National Assembly in 2023 if they feel they are not satisfied with their performance.
Lawan threw the challenge on Friday while making the opening remark during a retreat for top management of the National Assembly Service Commission and National Assembly in Abuja.
He argued that the National Assembly is an institution which keeps democracy in Nigeria running contrary to what many people see them as people wasting and embezzling the commonwealth of the nation.
He stated that people need to understand the functions of the lawmakers rather than just base their arguments on how much they earn as members of the National Assembly.
In his words; “What does the legislature mean to Nigerians. Can we debate properly what the functions of members of the National Assembly and indeed the legislature should be rather than be talking about jumbo pay?
“We should be looking for value for money. Without the National Assembly or the legislature across the country, we won’t have democracy anymore.
“We need to understand what the National Assembly or the legislature means to Nigerians.”
He went further to declare that the N128 billion budgeted for the National Assembly is only about one percent of the N13.08 trillion 2021 national budget, adding that Nigerians can vote out all curent federal lawmakers in 2023 and elect new ones if their aspirations are not been met.
“If you don’t like the set of members of the ninth National Assembly, change all of us in 2023. Get better people but help support the system to function,” he said.
“Instead of trying to see how N128 billion will be utilized by the National Assembly, what will be the outputs and how useful they are to the Nigerian public, Nigerians only argue that the budget should be cut, it is too much.
“I’m not defending the National Assembly, but I’m here to encourage debate on what the National Assembly or the legislature means to us as a country and as people.
Lawan also argued that the number of legisltaive aides which each lawmaker can appoint is grossly inadequate, which also affects their output.
Naija News understands each legislator, apart from the principal officers is entitled to five legislative aides. Lawan however, argued that this is not enough, making them have to rely on staff of the National Assembly to carry out some necessary duties.
“I’m not advocating for more than necessary but what we have today is inadequate,” he said.