Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi) and former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC, Kano) are among the 10 senators who have not sponsored a single bill in the last one year.
The National Assembly, under Section 4 subsection (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, is vested with “powers to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List”.
The primary functions of a legislator include making laws on issues of public interest; representing the interest of citizens; and oversight of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The 9th Senate was inaugurated on 11 June, 2019. Since then, over 450 bills have been introduced, according to official records analysed by Daily Trust between October 2019, when bills sponsorship started and July 23, 2020 when the Red Chamber embarked on a two-month annual recess.
Other senators with no single bill to their names are: Christopher Stephen Ekpenyong (PDP, Akwa Ibom), Godiya Akwashiki (APC, Nasarawa), Emmanuel Yisa Orker-jev (PDP, Benue), Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya (APC, Katsina), Nicholas Olubukola Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo), Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta) and Lawali Hassan Anka (PDP, Zamfara).
The duo of Ignatius Datong Longjan (APC, Plateau) and Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo (APC, Lagos) also had no bills to their credit until their death in February and June 2020 respectively.
While the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, did not respond to Daily Trust request for comment on the development, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau said he was currently working on a bill to amend the Pension Act.
Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi North) on his part said though he did not have any bill to his name alone, he co-sponsored some.
As campaigners for bills sponsorship by senators insisted that it was shameful for a lawmaker to spend one year in the chamber without any bill to his name, others are of the view that legislators should not be pressured into doing so. They said it was the duty of the Executive to sponsor bills.
Unlike Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has 16 bills to his credit in the period under review. And just like Lawan, Gbajabiamila is a presiding officer.
In terms of bills sponsorship, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi) topped the chart with over 30 bills to his name. This is because the House of Representatives bills sent to the Senate for concurrence and the Executive bills stand in his name.
The Senate Leader is closely followed by Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra), a two-time Senator, with 29 bills. Coming third on top of the chart is the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) who had 22 bills. Most of Omo-Agege’s bills are those seeking to alter the provisions of the constitution. He chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
Next is Ekwunife Lilian Uche (PDP, Anambra) with 17 bills to her name, followed by Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger), who sponsored 14 bills while Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah (YPP, Anambra) has 13 bills and Ali Ndume (APC Borno) 12 bills.
Istifanus Dung Gyang (PDP, Plateau) and Gershom Henry Bassey, (PDP, Cross River) sponsored 11 bills each, Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos) 10, while Buhari Abdulfatai (APC, Oyo), Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) and former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu) have 9 bills each.
Ibrahim Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano), Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) and Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rives) sponsored 8 bills each. They are followed by Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna), Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun) and Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara) with seven bills each.
Senators who sponsored six bills each are: Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno), Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom), and Abba Patrick Moro (PDP, Benue).
Those with five bills each are: Senators Muhammad Enagi Bima (APC, Niger), Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa), Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara), Theodore Ahamefule Orji (PDP, Abia), Tolulope Akinremi Odebiyi (APC, Ogun) and Joseph Obinna Ogba (PDP, Ebonyi).
Senators Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo), Ayo Patrick Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo), Aduda Philip Tanimu (PDP, FCT) and Samuel Ominyi Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi) sponsored four bills each.
Others in this category are: Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti), Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi (PDP, Imo), Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (APC, Sokoto), Teslim Kolawale Folarin (APC, Oyo) and Barinada Barry Mpigi (PDP, Rivers).
Lawmakers in the Red Chamber who have sponsored three bills each are: Abdullahi Gobir (APC, Sokoto), Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC, Ondo), Ademola Kola Balogun (PDP, Oyo), Ahmad Babba-kaita (APC, Katsina), Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa), Francis Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun), Hassan Mohammed Gusau (PDP, Zamfara), Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo) and Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka (APC, Plateau).
Others with three bills are: Michael Ama Nnachi (PDP, Ebonyi), Olubunmi Ayodeji Adetunmbi (APC, Ekiti), Ramoni Olalekan Mustapha (APC, Ogun), Late Rose Okoji Oko (PDP, Cross River), Suswam Torwua Gabriel (PDP, Benue), Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba), Alhaji Ya’u Sahabi (PDP, Zamfara) Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo), Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo (APC, Osun) and Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun).
Senators Amos Bulus Kilawangs (APC, Gombe), Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo), Ibrahim Hadejia (APC, Jigawa), Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno), Late Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC, Imo), Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu), Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe), Degi-eremienyo Wangagra (APC, Bayelsa), Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba), Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) and Ibrahim Gaidam (APC, Yobe) sponsored two bills each.
Others in this category are: Jibrin Isah (APC, Kogi), Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya (APC, Kano), Adamu Aliero (APC, Yobe), Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos), Suleiman Abdu Kwari (APC, Kaduna), Binos Dauda Yaroe (PDP, Adamawa), Halliru Dauda Jika (APC, Bauchi), Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa), Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi) and Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba (PDP, Sokoto).
Those with single bill each are: Ishaku Elisha cliff Abbo (PDP, Adamawa), Akon Etim Eyakenyi (PDP, Akwa Ibom), Ashiru Oyelola Yisa (APC, Kwara), Bala Ibn Na’allah (APC, Kebbi), Bello Mandiya (APC, Katsina), Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP, Enugu), Danjuma Tella La’ah (PDP, Kaduna), Danladi Abdullahi Sankara (APC, Jigawa), and George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers).
Others are: Ibrahim Mohammed Bomai (APC, Yobe), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (APC, Bauchi), Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia), Oseni Yakubu (APC Kogi), Sandy Ojang Onor (PDP, Cross River), Shuaibu Isa Lau (PDP, Taraba), James Ebiowou Manager (PDP, Delta), Saidu Ahmed Alkali (APC, Gombe) and Umaru Tanko Almakura (APC, Nasarawa).
In the last one year, some of the private member bills sponsored by federal lawmakers had stirred controversies in the polity as regards their desirability or otherwise.
Some of these controversial pieces of legislation are: the anti-social media bill, hate speech bill, a bill seeking to establish an agency for repentant Boko Haram insurgents, a bill for an Act to prohibit/ban the use of generators and infectious disease bill.
Mr. Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive, Connected Development, CODE/Follow The Money, who spoke through the Communications Lead of the organisation, Kevwe Oghide, told Daily Trust that the reason lawmakers were elected by their constituents was to represent and advance progressive initiatives that address community challenges or propose bills that will improve the wellbeing of the citizenry.
According to him, if they are incapable of doing this, then it is important that the National Assembly leadership takes adequate action to ‘‘save Nigerians of the needless waste’’.
He said it was shameful for lawmakers to receive huge allowances without adding any value to the nation.
“Follow The Money demands that these lawmakers be assessed! It is shameful for them to receive an alleged sum of N13m taxpayers’ money without adding any value. Citizens must begin to recall such lawmakers as part of their constitutional role,” he said.
‘Don’t criticize any lawmaker for not sponsoring a bill’
The Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Mr Clement Nwankwo, said a lawmaker should not be criticised for not sponsoring bills.
Nwankwo told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the primary responsibility of proposing legislation lies with the executive arm of government since it needs them to guide the execution of its policies.
He said it was not right for Nigerians to pressure the lawmakers to propose bills.
According to him, the most important responsibility of the lawmakers, with regard to bills, is for them to scrutinise bills sent to them by the executive.
He said, “My view is that lawmakers should not be pressured into proposing bills when the Executive is the arm of government that is implementing policies, which are backed by legislation.
“That is why we have executive and private member bills. The private member bill should not truncate the need for executive bills.
“The public should reduce the pressure on lawmakers to propose bills when most of those bills are in vacuum; sitting on nothing.
“Lawmaking, oversight and representation are three responsibilities of a legislator. Lawmaking does not mean that the legislators have to propose laws. The Executive has the primary responsibility to propose laws because it needs the laws to guide the execution of its policies’’.
Lawan keeps silent as ex-Kano gov, other give reasons
Media aide to the Senate President, Ola Awoniyi, did not respond to calls, text and Whats App messages sent to him to react to the development.
Contacted, Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi North) admitted that he didn’t sponsor any bill but that he had co-sponsored some.
He said it was a waste of time to sponsor bills that will not get the president’s assent.
“Sponsoring of bills? I did not sponsor any special bill, but why should people sponsor bills that will not get president’s assent? Why should we waste time debating bills that the president will not sign? I want you to know that I co-sponsored some bills that are very useful,” he said.
For his part, Senator Shekarau said he was working on a bill to amend the Pension Act.
Shekarau, who spoke through his aide, Sule Yau Sule, said the draft of the bill would soon be ready for introduction in the Senate.
The story had additional information from Hamisu Kabiru Matazu.