OrderPaperToday – Several incidents have so far shaped the 9th Senate and influenced the activities and output of senators in the polity.
For the year 2021, we have also previewed the 10 senators who will likely gain prominence either for good or bad reasons.
Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North)
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was featured in the 2020 edition due largely to his unequivocal pledge to continually collaborate with the executive arm, even at the expense of the independence of the legislature.
This posturing guaranteed prompt passage of executive bills, presidential appointments, loan requests, among others, despite notable opposition from senators and demurring by sections of the citizenry.
There is no nothing to suggest that 2021 will be different for Lawan. But whether he would be able to secure the support of senators is another matter given that this year will likely throw up some significant shifts in the political arena.
Mr. Senate President, however, needs to put some energies into gaining some legislative credits for himself against the backdrop of the fact that he has no bill to his credit in the first year of the senate.
Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South)
Sen. Abaribe has stayed strong in amplifying the voices of the minority bloc in the senate. He hardly spares a chance to chastise the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over perceived wrongs.
It largely appears that the power of the minority in the red chamber is diminishing in occasions when their inputs are not considered.
For instance, the payment of a N10 billion loan to Kogi State few days ahead to the Gubernatorial election was protested by PDP Senators yet it was approved.
But Abaribe firmly maintains his status as the minority leader of which more of such instances will be seen in the coming year.
With such a pivotal position in the red chamber, it is required that Abaribe pays equal attention to sponsorship of bills to make up for the fact that he introduced only two bills in one year.
Year in, year out, it seems the 42 years old senator has a continual unfolding of scandals to his name.
In July 2019, he was reportedly caught on camera physically assaulting a woman at an adult toy shop in Abuja. There has been no effective measure to sanction him in spite of an investigation opened by his colleagues.
In 2020, another video emerged of him allegedly assaulting a man in Adamawa state. He offered an explanation on the incident though.
2021 might not be an exception for Mr. Abbo based on these antecedents.
Asides these alleged assaults, the senator defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and hinted to run for the gubernatorial seat for Adamawa state in 2023. He will most likely be seen in greater participation in the politics this year.
While it appears the senator has more influence in the grassroots, he needs to work more on bills sponsorship as only one bill was introduced by him in his first year in the red chamber.
He has reportedly commenced politicking and lobbying various key political stakeholders to secure the first citizen seat which arguably has been clamoured for a candidate from the south east region.
More of such related activities will be expected in the coming year.
As one ready to take the most prominent political position in the country, he has an abysmal performance in terms of sponsoring bills. This is one area he needs to do more.
Similarly, based on the agitation for south east presidency, Okorocha declared his intention in September, 2020.
For him, it is time the region produces a President as other geo-political zones have occupied the number one position.
With closeness to the next election year, it is expected that there will be more political moves in that regard as commenced by groups drumming support for his ambition.
Like Kalu, Okorocha had no bill in his first year in the 9th Senate.
This senator was recently sworn in to represent Plateau South senatorial district after the demise of Ignatius Longjan.
Being a newbie, an addition to the small percentage of female peers in the chamber, the first female senator from her state and a former senior lecturer of the University of Jos, all eyes will be on her contributions in the 9th senate.
Included in last year’s report, the Deputy Senate President will continue in this year’s spotlight being the chairman, senate committee on constitution review.
The committee will be involved in a lot of activities having shelved the exercise due to the global covid-19 pandemic.
He performed tremendously well in bills sponsorship, being one of top ten senators with the most number of bills. He will possibly introduce more this year.
As seen in 2020, Omo-Agege will likely be seen presiding over more plenaries in the red chamber.
Sen. Olujimi has been a paramount figure in the senate over the years – as a minority leader in the 8th assembly, a strong voice against alleged bad governance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and crucial figure for gender inclusion and equal opportunities.
Pulling great steps in supporting women and children, she promised to vehemently oppose the inclusion of underage voting for girls.
She has also considerably sponsored quite a number of bills among her female peers in the chamber. Eyes will certainly be on her in 2021.
As Chairman, Senate committee on Public Accounts, Sen. Urhoghide, in the past year was vibrant in committee duties, calling out Ministries, Department and Agencies allegedly misappropriating funds.
Most of such investigative hearings were concluded with threats to sanction erring MDAs or government officials which seems not to be yielding positive results.
Recently, same was seen with the National Youth Service Corps.
Will he continue his repeated threats or prod the senate to take action with sanctions? This year will tell.
The Katsina North Senator got into the 8th red chamber 8 months before the expiration of the assembly and secured his seat in the 9th Senate.
In sponsoring bills in his first year in the 9th Senate, he leads his peers from the state, owning two out of three bills introduced.
He largely contributes during plenary; for instance he identified Almajiri as one of Nigeria’s greatest danger after Boko Haram.
Other times, he spoke in the chamber, he expressed support for the Buhari administration presumably being the senator representing the President.
But for the first time on the 2nd of December 2020, he affirmed that the President has not done enough with respect to tackling insecurity.
2021 will showcase if he will be able to continue future criticisms against the ruling government headed by one of his constituents.