I have consistently argued, and not just for
personal reasons, that experience in the national assembly is imperative and an
invaluable asset to the party and the constituencies being represented. It
takes considerable amount of time to be effective at law making, to understand
the ropes, to move bills or motions and to have a grasp of the paraphernalia of
goverance at the centre.

This explains why legislators are routinely
trained to continuously build capacity in a bid to discharge their
responsibilities dutifully. Need I say, that it costs a handful of Money to
train federal legislators, and it would be pound foolish for the country not to
profit from that investment.

The truth is, Senators like Ike Ekweremadu,
Ahmed Lawan, or even Femi Gbajabiamila in the green chambers just to mention
but a few, are able to push bills through faster in the Senate having gathered
the requisite experience and the wit for sensible politicking.

Their political party and the constituencies
they represent are usually the beneficiaries of such experience. Moreso,
senators that have stayed longer in the Senate have displayed a rare capacity
to attract more projects to their constituents as well as the privilege of
rank, in canvassing their positions or lending their voice to National Debates.

James Manager, for instance, was able to
achieve the The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State through
the bill he sponsored in the Senate. Beyond the quality and appropriateness of
the bill, it was his experience, lobbying and politicking, gathered from
serving 3 terms in the Senate, that ensured the success of the bill.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa is also drawing from
such experience to move forward his bill to see Yabatech upgraded to a
university through the City University of Technology Bill sponsored by him.

Of course, I’m a stickler for merit and would
not advocate that a non performing representative be returned to the national
assembly just to halt the excessive turnover of legislators. However, those who
have laurels to show and have fought the good fight should not be denied
further opportunity.

On this I completely align with the position
of the chairman of my party, the APC, comrade Adams Oshiomole who recently
encouraged the party to reward Loyalty and Experience. He said “Let me assure
all of us that the National Working Committee is making this promise publicly
and we are doing you no favour. Legislation and the legislature requires
experience because nobody can give what he does not have. We see people like
Senator McCain, when they speak, the American people listen. High turn over of
legislators is not a value to be celebrated. What we should celebrate is
experience which cannot be read in books, but can only be acquired on the job.
I want to reassure you that we will do everything possible to change the old
narrative of heavy turn over every four years and the ‘politics of you have
done enough, step aside’ will change over time for the good of Nigeria and for
the maintenance of democracy”.

Without a doubt, Senator Ashafa has remained
loyal to the party and his constituents and I believe the experience he has
gathered in nearly two terms in the Senate will prove a valuable asset in the
coming years for his constituents and Nigerians. Senator Ashafa remains
passionate and committed to delivering on every promise made to his
constituents, to provide legislative support to the executive, to defend our
dear constitution and to ensure that the common man finds hope in our dear
country. Thankfully, Senator Ashafa has again answered the clarion call from
his constituents to continue to serve them at centre dutifully.

Temitope Atiba is a lawyer and the Senior
Legislative Aide to Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa.