THE Senate President Bukola Saraki has advocated for continuity in the choice of the leadership of the Senate as he noted that his successor was bound to be a product of the 8th Senate. “Let there be continuity,” he said.
Saraki made the call Thursday as he adjourned indefinitely legislative activities of the 8th Senate, whose four year life span officially expires midnight of June 8, having being inaugurated on June 9, 2015.
In his farewell speech, Saraki praised his colleagues for their sense of patriotism in protecting the sanctity of the legislature and “for your contributions toward making this the historic Senate that it is.”
Noting the poor relationship between the Executive and the 8th senate, he called for more engagements and collaboration between the Executive and Legislature in future assemblies.
Although the journey “to the final plenary and the last few days of the eighth Senate, was a victory in itself.” He said: “When I think of the many trials and tribulations we have faced as an institution, and my own personal travails particularly at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, I am humbled.
“This is because none of our achievements would have been possible without the support and cooperation of the entire members of this chamber.”
The invasion of the National Assembly by armed security operatives in August 2018, ranked as “the saddest (day) but in many ways it was also a good day for asserting the independence of the legislature and the triumph of democracy.”
He continued: “It should be a matter of pride to all 109 senators and to our offspring that, in this chamber, we put humanity first. I will always be proud of the humaneness of the 8th Senate.
“We showed that parliament belongs to the people, and that there should be no barrier between lawmakers and those they represent.
“One of our major acts upon inauguration was the Senate visit in August 2015 to Maiduguri, Borno State – the first ever National Assembly delegation to see first-hand the living conditions of thousands displaced by the insurgency.
“Today, the North East Development Commission is a reality, and the people are being resettled into their normal lives.” Besides the Borno IDP camps, the senators visited the Kuchingoro IDP Camp in Abuja, the Abagena IDP Camp in Benue State.
Saraki was happy that “when Nigerians cried out for help, we did not turn deaf ears. Many will remember the case of Miss Monica Osagie who accused her lecturer of demanding sex for marks.
“As a responsive Senate, we backed up the Sexual Harassment law we had enacted by passing a resolution on the issue, and conducted an investigation into the allegation.”
According to him, “I believe we made a real difference in people’s lives.”He cited as was major achievements, the passage of bills, which had lingered with previous senates. One such billl was “the decade-old Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) was the most comprehensive reform law governing Nigeria’s business environment in nearly 30 years.
“The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill was one of the major anti-corruption laws we passed; and it saved the country from being expelled from the global body of the Egmont Group.“And on May 22, we passed the Nigerian Football Federation Bill, which had been caught in the legislative bottleneck for 15 years.
He implored his successor to be there for the people and act in the interest of the average Nigerian while keep the legislature always at the behest of the citizens.