About 14 months since the inauguration of the ninth assembly, lawmakers have been striving to perform their primary duties and fulfill promises made to their constituents.
Top of the duties and promises is to make “…laws that are in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians,” as some lawmakers, including the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said.
This comes before any legislative duty like the oversight of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
One major way to achieve this is by sponsoring bills and motions. Most lawmakers take pride in the number of bills and motions they sponsor during their tenure and many who seek re-election use it as a campaign point.
This achievement can be measured not only in the number of bills sponsored but the ‘quality’ as well.
Over 450 bills have been introduced to the ninth Senate since its inauguration in June 2019. They comprise electoral reform bills, constitutional amendment bills, bills to create institutions and agencies, gender inclusion and social welfare bills, among others.
This report show the best and least performing senators with respect to the number of bills they have sponsored, and not their contributions on the floor of the Senate – as many would argue that many lawmakers who are not active in the chamber perform better at committee levels.
Top 10 sponsors
Top on the list is Anambra senator, Stella Oduah. Ms Oduah, a two-time senator, has sponsored 29 bills since the inauguration of the ninth Senate. Some of the bills are Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, Protection of Personal Information Bill, Private Hospital Regulation Bill, the Marriage Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, Marital Right of Spouses Bill, Investment Assurances Bill, among others.
She is followed by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, with over 20 bills. Although most of Mr Omo-Agege’s bills are Constitution Alteration Bills, the Delta lawmaker has sponsored a few other important legislation like the Sexual Harassment Bill, National Industrial Court Act Amendment Bill and Court of Appeal Act Amendment Bill.
Uche Ekwunife, having sponsored 17 bill, is next on the list. The Anambra lawmaker who has been vocal both in the chamber and at committee levels has sponsored the Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill, Penal Code Act Cap 53 (Abuja) LFN, Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, National Broadcasting Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, among others.
Niger senator, Sani Musa, who became popular among Nigerians because of the controversial Social Media Bill he sponsored, is next on the list with over 13 bills to his name.
Besides the Social Media Bill, Mr Musa has sponsored the North Central Development Commission (Establishment), Bill Teaching Hospitals Development Fund Bill, Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatisation (Prohibition), Constitutional Court (Est, etc) Bill, among others.
Another Anambra senator, Ifeanyi Ubah, is next with about 13 bills to his name. Some of his bills include the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act which has been signed into law.
Other bills include Erosion Control and Prevention Commission Bill 2019, Ecological Fund (Establishment) Bill, Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill 2019, among others.
Borno lawmaker, Ali Ndume, is next with 12 bills to his name. Mr Ndume, a two-time senator, has sponsored bills like Communication Tax Bill, Constituency Development Fund (Establishment), Unemployed Youth, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowances Trust Fund Bill, Army University Biu Bill 2020, among others.
Plateau senator, Istifanus Gyang, follows with 11 bills to his name. Some of them are Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, National Biotechnology Development Agency, National Unity Corps Bill, among others.
Also with 11 bills to his name is Cross River senator, Gershom Bassey. Some of his bills include Federal Roads Authority Bill, National Offenders Central Registry Bill, Fire (Hazard and Safeguard) Bill and Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) (Special Provisions) Act Cap C40 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill.
Lagos senator, Adeola Olamilekan, is ninth on the list with about 10 bills to his name. Some of them are Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration, etc) Act (Amendment) Bill, Federal University of Technology, Ilaro Bill, City University of Technology, Yaba Bill, NDDC Act, No.6 2000 (Amendment) Bill, among others.
Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti) and former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, have nine bills each to their names.
Senators yet to sponsor bills
While some senators have sponsored dozens of bills, a few others are yet to produce one.
The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, is one of such. Although always present during plenary sessions and makes contributions to deliberations, no bill has been brought to the floor in his name. This is unlike his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who has sponsored about 15 bills in the past year.
Senators in this category include former Senate spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, Adamu Bulkachuwa, Peter Nwaoboshi and Chris Ekpenyong.
Others are Kabir Barkiya, Ibrahim Shekarau, Nicholas Tofowomo and Lawali Hassan.
However, the Constitution does not compel lawmakers to sponsor bills and many believe that there is more to the duties of a lawmaker than sponsoring bills, but others believe otherwise.