Amidst all political bumps that posed formidable antagonism against the emergence of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly, it would be recalled that agitation for competency and a value driven leadership remained the yearning of the Nigerian masses. Obviously, this as the yardstick that brought about Saraki’s victory on June 9, 2015, cannot be said unconnected to the political sagacity he had expended in the time past as a former governor and experienced senator who is internationally known for brilliancy and true representation. Besides, his activities in 7th Assembly as he stood above his colleagues on several issues distressing Nigeria such as removal of fuel subsidy, uncovering of oil thefts, environmental degradation including oil spills and so on despite being in the ruling party then, also greased his victory. Significantly noting, many of his perceived enemies have hitherto been portraying him black in the name of political combat but his honesty, patriotism and nationalism have been justifying his political triumphs. Specifically on his senate presidency, Nigerians’ choice and their freehold trust in his competence never finally got shortchanged on the utter of egocentricity of some infinitesimal leaders who wanted Nigeria politics to be a business as usual by sounding an underhand party supremacy above Nigeria’s constitutional right.
In reference to the chaotic challenges that stroke the national assembly initially, it’s unarguably germane we ask ourselves how Saraki, so far, has been able to orchestrate a proactive senate leadership that is unwaveringly targeted at ensuring quick manifestation of the CHANGE agenda of the APC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Despite the stumbling blocks and yet-to-be established 8th Senate’s agenda, Sen. Saraki has hit the ground earnestly running. In his usual belief in being connected with Nigerians, his antics in the Red Chamber that becomes 2 months old in few days to come, is towards the direction of an open and accountable National Assembly where common constituents stand to know what goes and who gets what at every point in time. He has since his inauguration day as Senate President, been updating all the activities of the Senate via his very popular social media platforms. This indeed is a replica of how he was very responsible and responsive to many agitations of Nigerians via his twitter and facebook platforms. The people of Begaga village of Zamfara state and Ogoni land of Rivers v fb state affected by lead poison and thick oil spill by Shell Petroleum Development Company respectively can attest to how he championed their ordeals as the Chairman Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology of the 7th Senate. The synonymous actions are however what we have been witnessing on his new media platforms since June 9. As the Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, there is no gainsaying that Nigerians’ outcry on social media on the exorbitant salaries and allowances of the legislators and their aides as well as the cost of running NASS and its concomitant agencies like National Assembly Service Commission, Institute of Legislative Studies resulted in the Committee he set up which eventually reduced the NASS’s allocation by a significant percentage. He is without a doubt, a leader who is truly not only sensitive to tropical issues affecting the country but also a solution provider for the problems.
In the history of Nigeria Senate, there has not been a Senate President who was visited by as many Civil Society Organizations as Sen. Bukola Saraki for advice and partnership on people’s based legislations. This is certainly an attestation of his uncluttered personality and promised agendum that his doors will always be opened for advice and potent ideas in the direction of good governance and APC’s change mantral. It is also worth noting that many top government’s MDAs like Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service, National Assembly Service Commission and so on have paid his courtesy visits in which he challenged them to accomplish with excellence, transparency and accountability, their agencies’ statutory responsibility towards the nation’s improved productivities and Internally Generated Revenue. The Senate President, Sen. Saraki who is an advocate of NASS’s independence but not godfatherism specifically challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria during their own courtesy visit, to recover the Rice waiver that is worth 30 billion dollars under the last administration, a motion which was later sponsored by Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim representing Kwara South Senatorial District and supported by other Senators on the floor of the house last week. This implies that Sen. Saraki also shares the common stand of President Muhammadu Buhari to recover all the loots and go after those that have milked our common treasury dry.
In the same vein, the leadership of Sen. Saraki in the 8th Senate has created a permitting environment for Senators to promote priority bills that have direct impacts on the constituents. Sponsoring of such bills was verifiably embedded in Saraki’s proposed legislative agenda according to many interviews he granted few days to the inauguration of the 8th Assembly. Many of such prioritized bills which are tantamount to the enactment of people oriented laws have been sponsored and co-sponsored within the pressure of time under Saraki. Although It is African not empowering one’s enemies so that they don’t use it at against one but Saraki who is a product of competency and believes aptly in it, proved that doctrine wrong by appointing some of his major antagonists like Sen. Banabas Gemade as Chairman and members of some of the few Ad Hoc Committees set up so far. The astonishing leadership by example antics demonstrated by Sen. Bukola Saraki is his voluntary interest to lead the Senate to the Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps in Northeastern part of the country at the face of heavy attacks recently thrown to the region by members of the insurgency group named Boko Haram. Verily, a true problem solver sees for himself, the amount of problems caused and its adverse effects on people, so that, he can provide appropriate solutions. A question I keep on asking myself is why did Sen. Ahmed Lawan who is from the region boycott such visit? It was even reported that he switched off his phones in order not to be contacted about time the scheduled visit. Is that not the validation of the kind of Senate President he wanted to become? Obviously he wanted to be a Senate President that would not put Nigeria first but satisfy the interest of some individuals at the detriment of the Nigerian populace. Alas! God has already forbidden that.
In the last note, the activities of the 8th Senate under the leadership of His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki is an effective and efficient Senate as evident above, potent to position Nigeria and Nigerian parliament to their first class status in the global consideration. It is therefore worth our collective supports and prayers as patriotic citizens irrespective of party affiliations and different political beliefs. God bless Nigeria, our country.
By Bashir Akanbi
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