As legislative tradition, the last session of the each Chambers of Nigeria’s National Assembly culminating each legislative term is usually a Valedictory Session which herald the country’s uniqueness, culture, tradition, unity in diversity, patriotism, selfless service to humanity, achievements and a period of sober reflection amongst lawmakers.
Accordingly, Thursday, June 6, 2019 witnessed the last session of the Upper Legislative Chamber where most Senators spoke glowingly on the antecedents of the 8th Senate where some extolled the virtues of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who they said provided them the much needed platform and opportunity to serve the citizenry diligently and with high sense of humility.
The Valedictory Session sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) saw more than half of Senators lending their voices during the debate. Sen. Lawan commended his colleagues for according him the opportunity to serve. He added that the Chamber would always strive hard to protect the territorial integrity of the nation and promote its unity.
He called on the legislative arm of government to adhere strictly to its constitutional mandates, stressing that the 8th Senate spent 72% of its time in lawmaking while the remaining 28% was shared amongst oversight function, representation and other legislative interventions. He enjoined Senators to be united regardless of party affiliation for supreme national interest both in belief and actions of the legislators.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session declared that the success of the 8th Senate was a victory for democracy, stressing that Power reside with God almighty and none of the achievement of the Chamber would have been possible without the support of Nigerians. He asserted that the 8th Senate is proud of its achievements among which were:
• The introduction of the idea of ‘Round Table Summit’ held in Benin City and Kano City where the voices of the less privileged and down trodden in society are heard.
• The 8th Senate ensured that there is no barrier between it and Nigerians by making sure that the North-East Development Commission is passed into law and assented to by the President to address the plight of refugees.
• Senate always respond to the needs of Nigerians whenever the need arises by intervening and ensured the end of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) industrial disputes.
• Allocation of 1% the nation’s Consolidated Revenue to the nation’s basic health care and guaranteed basic health care across Nigeria through legislation.
• The passage of several Bills into law, some of which were the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIG), Companies and Allied Matters Bill, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill, The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Bill and many more.
• Several intervention aimed at addressing insecurity in the Nigeria which include the ‘National Security Summit’, ‘engaging the Military Service Chiefs and granting approval for the procurement of Military operational hard-wares’.
• The passage of several Motions aimed at improving the lives of the citizenry and the nation.
The Senate President called on the 9th National Assembly and the Executive Arm of Government to improve their engagements, consultations and cooperation, hoping that the 9th Senate would improve the relationship between it and the Executive Arm of Government.
Sen. Saraki also glorified God almighty that throughout his four year term there was no scandal in the Senate. He equally thanked the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, the two Senate Leaders that served during the period, Sen. Ahmad Lawan and Sen. Ali Ndume, all the Principal Officers of the 8th Senate and all his colleagues, Clerk of the Senate and his team of Officers, other Staff of the National Assembly as well as the Media for the immense support they accorded him.
The Senate President urged his colleagues in the 9th Senate to extend the same cooperation they accorded him to the next Senate President because he is also a colleague in the 8th Senate. The the contribution of the Senate President marked the climax of the Valedictory Session and Sen. Saraki puts the question that the 8th Senate do adjourn Sine Dine and lawmakers answered in the affirmative and the Chamber adjourned indefinitely, never to reconvene again.