The 8th Senate, presided over by Dr Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, adjourned sine die after a valedictory session which marked its last official assignment.
There were mixed feelings at the valedictory session, when senators took turns to appraise their performance for the past four years. The Upper Chamber, which for some time has been scanty in attendance after the 2019 general elections, was packed full with lawmakers taken turns to speak on their experiences since 2015 when the senate was inaugurated. Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers), commended his colleagues for working tirelessly in preserving the senate as an institution. He said it was the desire to serve Nigeria that brought us here. We preserved this institution for others to come and make their contribution. “We may not have served perfectly but we represented the highest standard of integrity. May God bless us all,” he said.
Also speaking, Sen. Shehu Sani said lawmakers were not elected to only represent their constituents, but also to protect the interest of the country at large. He pointed out that lawmakers had a duty to define their role in history by defending the institution of the national assembly. He said that one thing every lawmaker ought to take note of was to serve with honour and leave with more honour and also by standing for the truth irrespective of religious, ethnic affiliation or party leaning. “The national assembly is not an agency or a ministry, but an institution created to protect Nigerians. “As a parliament, it is a calling. We are not just here to represent the people, but to stand for issues that are germane,” he said.
On the performance of the 8th Senate, Sani said, there was no doubt it passed through turbulence, noting that “every national assembly has its challenges. “This country is faced with problems, but as an institution, we must work together to address the challenges, but we cannot do so with a divided house. The survival, dignity and honour of this institution lies in the lawmakers. “We must also note that we are not here to be subservient to anyone, but to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Sen. Ajayi Borofice (APC-Ondo), in his comment, applauded the leadership style of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki. He also commended his colleagues for demonstrating patriotism towards protecting the interest of the country. Said he: “Saraki has demonstrated uncommon leadership. Yes there was turbulence but because of his dexterity he was able to stabilise the senate. “No matter the perception of the public about us, we have demonstrated that we are patriots. We discussed issues of security among other critical issues. “We worked together irrespective of our differences to get to this point and as such I thank you all for your support.” Also speaking, Sen. Bassey Akpan (PDP-Akwa Ibom), said he had a memorable time in the 8th senate, noting that we was leaving a refined and better person. He commended Saraki for his exemplary leadership, saying, ” your leadership is an exemplary one and with that the 8th senate has a place in history. “I learnt so much from my colleagues and to my constituents, your mandate will be defended as I return to the 9th senate.”
The lawmaker said, the 9th senate had a lot to learn from the 8th senate, adding that it stood for Nigeria and defended its course. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu said there was much to learn from the 8th senate, including the disappointments. “We have all benefited in one way or the other and even in disappointment there is something to learn, like the need for us to emphasise the fact that God made it possible for Nigerians to elect us. “It is a rare privilege that was bestowed on us and we must not disappoint the electorate,” he noted. He said that there was nothing wrong with opposing the Executive at times, but we have to avoid extreme partisanship. We have to be bipartisan, adding that people depend on what we do and the example we show. “I subscribe to the believe that the senate will go on record to have passed the highest number of bills. “It has also experienced the highest number of vetoes, but we did not use our power to override the vetoes,” he observed.
Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) said under Saraki’s leadership, the committee on Ethics and Public Petitions,which he chaired recorded great achievement. “In the 6th and 7th assemblies, 66 petitions were filed, 26 were attempted and only eight were considered. ” Meanwhile, we entertained 642 petitions, considered 153 and 420 people who were disengaged, were reinstated back to their offices. Sen. Ben Murray Bruce (PDP-Bayelsa), in his comments urged senators of the 9th senate to make laws for the future and not in the past. According to him, what is happening today is that knowledge changes in six months. Some of the bills I presented that were not considered makes me feel some of us do not read.
“I therefore call on the senators coming into the 9th senate to put that in mind, “he said. Sen. Binta Masi (APC-Adamawa), thanked her colleagues for their contribution to the success of the 8th senate. She said that 39 bills were vetoed and we did not upturn any adding,”it shows there was collaboration.” Sen. Joshua Lidani (APC-Gombe), said one thing he would always remember was that we (senators) maintained our calm and continued to sit when some hoodlums absconded with the Mace.
“It showed a great sense of patriotism. I salute your courage. We have learnt a lot. “I also appreciate the tradition of ranking, and I hope the 9th senate will uphold it. I hope the 9th senate will be better having learnt from our mistakes,” he said. Sen. Kabiru Marafa (APC-Marafa), thanked God for seeing them through the turbulence that characterised the 8th senate. “To the leadership let me say a big thank you and I have learnt a lot. “I learnt from your wisdom in legislative business as well as the trust you have in us. I also thank my colleagues,” he said. He thanked the lawmakers for approving the sum of N10 billion for Zamfara, following the security situation. He said, “I will always remember Saraki as a person that respects loyalty and pays for loyalty.”
The 8th senate was inaugurated on June 6 and will officially cease to be on June 8. The valedictory session is the last official assignment of the lawmakers. The 9th Senate is expected to be inaugurated on Tuesday, by president Mohammadu Buhari.