The Senate President has reacted to the call in some quarters, including Senator Rochas Okorocha, that the House of Representatives be scrapped, saying the legislature as presently constituted is meant to address the country’s diversity and ethnic composition.
Nigeria currently runs a bicameral legislature consisting of the lower chamber, or the House of Representatives, and the 109-member upper chamber, also known as the Senate.
To reduce the cost of governance, Okorocha, a former governor, had advocated for the removal of the House of Representatives.
But, while speaking at the third University of Benin/National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) convocation ceremony which held on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Lawan insisted that adoption of a bicameral legislature by the framers of the constitution was intended to address the country’s diversity and ethnic composition to ensure justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians irrespective of their background.
He noted that having a unicameral legislature may create problems of non-representation and exclusion from governance for minority ethnic groups in the country, as well as inefficient representation for groups in the majority.
“Nigeria has consciously adopted to have a bicameral National Assembly; it is because of who and what we are.
“The diversity of Nigeria and ethnic composition of the country requires that we have a system that provides justice, equity and fair play.
“It is a conscious decision and design to ensure that everybody is represented in the country. We need bicameral legislature in Nigeria.”
The lawmaker explained that the quality of governance in Nigeria can only be improved by ensuring productivity on the part of lawmakers as against demanding for a unicameral legislature.
“What we should insist on is productivity. Members of the National Assembly must justify the expenditure on us. That is what we should be concerned with.
“We must be productive and we are on the way. We are on the way to proving that we are going to be productive.