The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has urged his colleagues not to allow the 2019 elections overshadow their work for the people that elected them.
He made the call in his speech on the resumption of the Senate from the 2017 end of year recess.
Arising after a closed door meeting which lasted over one hour, Saraki said: “Distinguished colleagues, it is my appeal to each and every one of us, that our legislative duty to Nigeria and her people must be uppermost in our minds.
“We must not allow the upcoming 2019 elections to overshadow our work for the people that elected us – or distract us from that which we are mandated to do by the constitution and the trust reposed in us by the people.
“This is my appeal: it is too early for 2019 politicking to override the legislative agenda and the larger work of governance.
‘’ We have begun a good thing with the economic core of our agenda; let us see it to its proper conclusion.
“It would be most insensitive to the needs of the people of this country if we were to do otherwise.
‘’I am directing this appeal not only to us in the chamber but to the National Assembly as a whole, as well as to the Executive and indeed all political actors.”
Saraki said 2018 would be defined by the collaboration between the two chambers of the 8th National Assembly as regards the number of items due for concurrence.
“We must work to build on the very cordial relationship between the two chambers as witnessed so far, and elevate the level of cooperation, for the benefit of the people.
“To this end, I urge you all to reach out to our counterparts in the House so that we can fulfil the lawmaking function in the most expeditious manner.”
According to the president of the Senate, this will help streamline the process and clear the way for the passing of various legislations making for improved synergy and cooperation between the two chambers.
“There are two major on-going issues before us – namely the Constitutional Amendment process and the 2018 Appropriation Bill.
“It is encouraging to see that the assemblies in the states have already started work on the constitutional amendment; I urge us all to keep a keen eye on developments on that front.
“With regard to the 2018 Budget, let me take this opportunity to give a word of encouragement to the committee as they work to ensure the proper conduct of the process.”
He further said that as a people-oriented Senate, Nigerians already had a measure of who they were, particularly through interventions and engagement in areas, such as job creation and youth empowerment.
“We will not relent in our efforts in these areas,’’ he said.
He said as the legislative arm of government, the assembly must do everything possible to transform the developmental firmament of Nigeria to bring succour to the masses.
On the lingering fuel scarcity, Saraki said no lawmaker was immune to the situation.
“What affects one, affects all. When one part of the body is hurting, the whole body hurts, and this holds true for the entire nation.
“We seek the cooperation and understanding of Nigerians as we try to get to the bottom of this issue.
“My own estimation of the fuel scarcity phenomenon is that it is man-made. We thought we had left the problem of fuel queues firmly in the past in this country but sadly, that appears not to be the case.
“In any event, there is a problem, and it must be solved, Saraki said.
On the recent tragic events in Benue, Saraki condemned the killings in the strongest terms.
” We declare that mindless bloodletting has no place in our society.
‘’I offer our sincerest condolences to the people of Benue and, indeed, to all who have suffered the loss of their loved ones as a result of these wanton acts.
“Human life is sacred. We state without equivocation that Nigerian life must become sacred. When we fail in our duty to protect Nigerian lives, it is a tragedy and an indictment on us all.” (NAN)
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