…Says it will be commonwealth above party
…. ‘We arrived Senate chamber 4am to prevent 2015 scenario’
…. Tinubu seeks collaboration with lawmakers
The duo of Senator Godswill Akpabio and Hon. Tajudeen Abbas yesterday unveiled their agenda for Nigerians after emerging as the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, for the 10th National Assembly (NASS).
They listed their priorities as working with the executive arm of government to build a strong economy, improve national security and check executive lawlessness. While Akpabio defeated Abdulaziz Yari with 17 votes to emerge as the 15th Senate President, Abbas polled 353 votes against Hon. Ahmed Wase and Aminu Sani Jaji who got three votes each.
In his victory speech, Senator Akpabio promised to be fair to all the members of the National Assembly and other Nigerians. He said it was a historic moment for him, adding that he would discharge the responsibilities of the office with utmost dedication, integrity, and fairness.
“Today marks a historic moment as we embark on a new chapter in the Senate. Distinguished senators, today, I stand before you humbled, honoured, and filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and responsibility as I acknowledge and accept your call to serve as the president of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I assure you that I will discharge the responsibilities of this office with utmost dedication, integrity, and fairness.
“I assure you, distinguished senators, that I am mindful of the enormous responsibilities that this position calls for. You will have my cooperation in all matters and our joint efforts will be one of team-work. I extend my sincere hands of fellowship to all of us, including those who, at a time, may have had different opinions regarding the leadership of the Senate. These expressions of differing and opposing opinions and views are but the fabric that democracy is made of.”
According to him, it was now time now to go forward with the task set before them as a collective body – the promulgation of laws and enactments for the well-being and security of the country and as a check on the executive arm of the government. He pledged that, together, they will not only reach but surpass the expectations of the Nigerian people regarding their roles in building a better, safer, more inclusive, prosperous, efficient and ethical country.
On his part, Hon. Abbas said the lower chamber would not be a rubber stamp in the hands of the executive. Abbas, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting with Tinubu, said the House of Representatives would stand up against any action not in the interest of the public.
According to him, the wide acceptability, depicted by the cross-party support during his election earlier in the day, put a lie to the picture previously painted that he was being imposed by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said “if you talk about rubber stamp, look at the acceptance rate, those who have elected those across party lines, almost all the entire PDP, SDP, ADC and all other minority parties voted for us. “So, if they feel that we are going to be rubber stamps, do you think they will elect us? No. They believe that we will safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly, the legislature.
“We will always separate our independence and we will relate and be able to harmonise with the executive where necessary, but where there is a conflict of interest, where we feel that the executive is or wants to do something that is not in the interest of the public, they know that we’ll stand up against that”, he said.
Also, the deputy speaker Hon Benjamin Kalu said the 10th House of Representatives will deliver on the promises its members made to their constituents by working with the executive. “We promised during the time we went to all the constituencies in the Federal Republic, canvassing for votes, that we’re going to ensure that nation-building remains a joint task that will not be left only for the executive, and the judiciary to handle. We promised that we are going to be there to make sure we bring our own bricks to the nation-building work and this extends to the creation of jobs, reduction of poverty, policies that go into enhancing our energy sources, policies that will help us create more local content usage in this country.
“Manufacturing now helps us reduce importation and increase exportation that will stimulate our economy. And as you see in the past 15 days, Mr. President has been taking the right decisions, you know, on issues. We want to sustain that through legislative support, legislative intervention, to make sure that, together, we build a nation we will be proud of,” he said.
‘We Arrived In Senate Chamber At 4am To Prevent 2015 Scenario’
Meanwhile, the deputy director-general of Akpabio/Barau campaign for Senate President in the 10th National Assembly, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, has revealed that senators in the camp of eventual winner of the race, Godswill Akpabio, arrived at the National Assembly complex at about 4am yesterday to avert what happened in 2015 Senate ;president election.
LEADERSHIP recalls that in 2015, senators-elect loyal to former Senate President Bukola Saraki kept vigil in the National Assembly Complex to install him as the Senate president while other senators-elect were at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to meet with the President Muhammadu Buhari at the time of the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly. It was reported at the time that Saraki and some of his supporters kept vigil at the Assembly premises in order to carry out their mission winning the top seats against the ruling party’s anointed candidates.
Senator Bamidele, who represents Ekiti Central, Ekiti State, spoke at the reception for his swearing-in for a second term in the Senate. He said: “I have not been able to sleep for the last 48 hours in order to ensure that Senator Godswill Akpabio emerges as Senate president. “We entered the National Assembly Complex at about 4am in order to avert what happened in 2015. The victory wouldn’t have been possible if not for the efforts of the immediate-past Senate president.”
Meanwhile, the immediate-past Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, has described Senator Bamidele as the pillar of the 9th Senate, applauding him for his contributions to nation building. According to him, “From day one, he has been a pillar of my Senate Presidency. We had some few cases that I asked him to handle and he performed excellently. “We have become a family as we continue another four years in the Senate and beyond.” Other prominent personalities at the reception were Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Adebayo Adewole; Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Ajakaye, among others.
Tinubu Calls For Collaboration
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday congratulated the newly elected leaders of the 10th National Assembly and told them to collaborate with the executive in order to deliver good governance for the Nigerian people. The president’s message extended warm wishes to Senator Godswill Akpabio and Rt. Honourable Tajudeen Abbas, who were elected as President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
In a statement he personally signed, President Tinubu expressed his confidence in their abilities and urged them to fulfill their responsibilities with utmost dedication. “The election of Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio and Rt. Honourable Tajudeen Abbas as the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 10th National Assembly is a good development. I heartily congratulate them,” President Tinubu remarked.
The president further acknowledged the triumphs of Jibril Barau, who emerged deputy Senate President, and Benjamin Kalu, who emerged as the House of Representatives Deputy Speaker. Tinubu, however, emphasised the weighty responsibility that comes with their positions.
“Being elected by their peers as presiding officers and assuming the leadership of the National Assembly is a great honour that comes with huge responsibility. I trust that you will justify the confidence reposed in you by your members and many Nigerians,” President Tinubu affirmed.
The president also expressed appreciation for the active participation of Yari, Wase and Jaji in the leadership election. Tinubu extended his congratulations to all members of the National Assembly, emphasizing that their enrollment into the service of the Nigerian people marked a significant moment.
He called upon them to diligently and faithfully carry out their responsibilities, working in the best interest of the nation. “We have all been called upon and accepted the responsibility to diligently and faithfully serve our fatherland with the oath we took. It is time to get on and move swiftly with the business of governance in the service of Nigeria,” President Tinubu declared.
Highlighting the importance of collaboration, the president expressed his preparedness to transparently work with the National Assembly. Earlier, the clerk to the National Assembly, Magaji Tambuwal, had announced that Akpabio had scored 63 votes to defeat his closest rival, Sen Abdulazeez Yari who also polled 46.
State governors including Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje were all at the red Chamber to celebrate with Akpabio.
In the House of Representatives, the open ballot system was adopted for the election in which members-elect one after the other announced their choice of Speaker. The total number of accredited voters for election was 359 out of the 360, due to the death of a member-elect from Taraba State, Ismaila Yushau Maihanci.
The returning officer for the election and clerk to the National Assembly Magaji Tambuwal said Abbas certified the requirements of the law and was elected and inaugurated. Handing over to Abbas, the immediate past Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila who expressed confidence in the ability of his successor to pilot the affairs of the House and urged him to continue from where the 9th House stopped.
Gbajabiamila said: “I wish you well. It’s not an easy feat. From what I know you will do a good job. We are your members and I congratulate you and on behalf of them I hand over my handover notes as the speaker of the 9th Assembly. This will be a guide to you and I hope you continue from where I left.”
The former Deputy Speaker was nominated by Tijani Kayode from Kwara State (APC) and seconded by Abdulmumin Muhammed from Nasarawa State (APC). Wase was nominated for the office of the Speaker by Mohammed Yusuf Doro Bindawa and Aminu Ibrahim both from Katsina State. The voting pattern showed that the duo of Wase and Jaji voted for themselves alongside their two nominators each, hence they both scored three votes respectively.
We Joined Race In Defence Of Democracy – Wase, Jaji
Accepting their nominations, Wase and Jaji said they were in the race for the protection and defence of democracy which could be in danger in the absence of justice and fairness.
Wase, who is the former deputy speaker, said he was offering himself as the voice of the voiceless, adding that his heart bleeds when he sees what is going on in the country. On his part, Jaji said he was one of those who stood to defend democracy, adding that power comes from God. (Headline, pic by Century Newsfront)