Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Members of the Senate returned from their inauguration break on Tuesday to lavish encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan for conducting a successful handover of government last Friday.
The Senate also on Tuesday received the first ever communication from Buhari as the President, who wrote to seek the Upper Chamber’s approval to appoint 15 Special Advisers (SAs) in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
The senators’ congratulations followed a motion sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and 101 other senators.
In the motion, the senators equally congratulated their colleagues in the National Assembly, who have become governors in their respective states.
Entitled ‘Congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and others’, the motion also urged the former federal legislators and other state governors to observe the Rule of Law, and continue to maintain the integrity of the National Assembly, and respect the legislature in their respective states in consonance with democratic principles.
“The successful inauguration of our colleagues in the National Assembly as governors in their respective states: Hon. Aminu Tambuwal as Governor of Sokoto State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa as Governor of Delta State, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade as Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bindo Jibrilla as Governor of Adamawa State, Senator Atiku Baguda as Governor of Kebbi State and Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as Governor of Enugu State.
“(We identify) with the current government under President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and the state governments under the leadership of our colleagues in the National Assembly in their tasks to legitimate yearnings of our people for a greater country in all spheres of socio-polotical and economic life,” Ndoma-Egba read.
In his contribution to the motion, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, urged the incoming members of the National Assembly to partner with the executive, especially on security and national development.
“This shows consolidation of democracy in Nigeria, and electing National Assembly members shows the people have confidence in us. The 8th National Assembly should partner with executive and partner with them on security and national development for the administration to deliver the dividends of democracy,” Enang urged.
Senator Bukar Ibrahim, in his contribution, expressed hope that Buhari would write his name in history the way Jonathan did.
“I join all Nigerians to congratulate all elected leaders; it shows that Nigeria can do a clean election. The problem has always been leadership, and Jonathan has set the pace by conducting a credible election. Jonathan has written his name in gold in history, and I hope that Buhari will do the same,” Ibrahim said.
In her contribution, Senator Nkechi Nwogu the incoming Assembly not to allow tribunal matters to put them backwards.
“We congratulate them for a peaceful inauguration, and this has put our false prophets to shame; and it goes to show that Nigeria has gone into the annals of history.
“I congratulate PDP for conceding victory. For the fact that PDP accepted to play the opposition is commendable, and it shows that democracy has grown. I hereby enjoin the 8th Assembly not to allow tribunal matters to put us backwards,” she said.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, observed that it would not be enough to congratulate Buhari without also congratulating Jonathan for willingly conceded defeat.
“If the followers didn’t accept, the story would have been different today. For the first time, in the history of this country, we discovered that the presidential election is not before any tribunal. I think that is a milestone in our democratic process, and we must acknowledge that it is a mark of statesmanship and a demonstration of the acceptance of the will of the people because election is not done by just one individual. Election is done by all of us, who are members of the various constituencies.
“It is not just enough to congratulate President Buhari; I think we should also congratulate the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who willingly conceded defeat, and followed the announcement with a telephone call to President Buhari, and also appealed to his members to accept that as the verdict from the people,” Mark said.
Mark, however, declared that becoming a governor, after serving at the Senate, is not an upward movement, but a downward movement.
He particularly noted that senators should look upwards, after serving in the Senate.
“For our colleagues, who have gone to become governors, my position is different. I think (that) going from the Senate to becoming a governor is not a movement forward, but a movement backwards.
“Well, if you decide to move backwards to sacrifice to work for your people, then, we should also congratulate them. But I think from the Senate, we should look upwards; but in spite of that, some of our colleagues have gone to the states to assist in bringing development to their states. So, I congratulate them also,” he added.
In his first ever letter to the Senate, which was addressed to the Senate President, Senator David Mark, Buhari, however, did not include the names of the intended Special Advisers.
Buhari’s unedited terse letter read: “Pursuant to the provision of Section 151(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which confers on me to appoint Special Advisers to assist me in the performance of my functions, I write to request for your kind consideration and approval of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic to appoint fifteen (15) Special Advisers as prescribed in Section 151(2-3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“While trusting that this exercise will receive the traditional prompt attention of the Senate, please accept, Mr. President, the assurance of my highest consideration”.
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