A soon to be ex-member of the National Assembly, Senator Abdullahi Gumel, has said that the country is always on the losing side whenever lawmakers lose their seats after a mere one or two terms at the National Assembly.
Gumel, who lost his re-election bid after his first term at the Senate, said the capacity training that lawmakers undergo after their election does not come cheap, and that monies expended on them become wasted when they fail to be re-elected.
Gumel also expressed concerns over what he called the decline in the number of ranking senators returning to the 9th Senate.
Senator Abdullahi Gumel who is a member of the All Progressive Party, also told the News Agency of Nigeria during an interview on Tuesday in Abuja that the continuous turnover of lawmakers at the National Assembly, particularly at the Senate, had negative implications.
He said the development had led to the loss of experience in legislative activities and waste of the nation’s resources, among others.
He stressed that the country often spent a lot of money training and retraining lawmakers to master the art of effective lawmaking, only for them to stay for four years or, at most, eight years.
According to him, only a few senators have been in the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.
“In developed democracies, you see someone spending 30 to 40 years in the parliament, gathering experience and not wasting the nation’s resources.
“In every set of the legislature, the lawmakers undergo capacity building in terms of training within and outside the country, and the nation spends a lot to build their capacity.
“Unfortunately, in every election, we lose such talents and we have to start all over again,” he said.
Senator Abdullahi Gumel hoped that Nigeria would learn from other countries by ensuring that lawmakers win their re-election bids as many times as possible.
He, however, urged lawmakers to live up to expectations in order to gain the support of their constituents to get re-elected to the National Assembly as many times as they want.
On beliefs in some quarters that former governors who are first timers in the National Assembly are not novices in matters of legislation, Gumel argued that they might be experienced in governance but not in lawmaking.
The lawmaker pointed out that governors elected as lawmakers still need extensive training to carry out the mandate of the legislature, which is the second arm of government.
“The experience they have is executive experience, no legislative experience. The legislature is in a world of its own and its rudiments must be learned,” he said.
Gumel, who lost his re-election bid to return to the Senate for the second time, hinted that he was retiring from elective politics.
“I have paid my dues. I have been in politics for the last 40 years. I am satisfied and proud to say I have been in politics for this length of time.
“I have reached the pinnacle of my ambition, which is to become a senator. I do not have the attraction of being a governor and I will be too old to start seeking to be president.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports also reports that, so far, only 43 serving senators out of 109 have been cleared to return to the Senate.
With this, not less than 60 new lawmakers will make it to the 9th Senate and it would take them a while, in spite of their experience in various fields of endeavor, to adjust to the legislative environment.