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Saraki to senators: it’s time to face legislative duties

46 PDP, 35 APC members pass confidence vote in Saraki, Ekweremadu
The Senate yesterday began its plenary on a dramatic note, with 81 senators passing a vote of confidence in Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu.
The vote of confidence on the leadership was unanimously adopted by senators.
The much-anticipated showdown on the floor of the upper chamber failed to come to pass.
The motion for the vote of confidence was sponsored by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East) and 80 others.
Of the 81 senators, 35 are All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers; 46 other supporters of the motion are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Anyanwu noted “with dismay the continued harassment of the Senate and senators, the National Assembly management and spouses of senators by security agencies of government.”
He said Senate was determined to continue to perform its constitutional duties and responsibilities without fear or favour.

Anyanwu also said that the Senate was resolved to focus on matters of interest and importance to the ordinary Nigerian, in view of the enormous challenges facing the nation.
He prayed the Senate to resolve to pass a vote of confidence on Saraki, Ekweremadu and the entire leadership.
The three prayers were unanimously adopted.
Anynwu also prayed the Senate “to call the police and all other security agencies not to allow themselves to be used by any person or persons to harass, intimidate or blackmail the Senate, senators and or their spouses.”
The prayer was equally unanimously carried.
Saraki did not allow the motion to be debated.
He said since 81 senators endorsed the motion, there was no need for further debate.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn N’Allah, who took a bow on behalf of other members of the Senate leadership said that they had resolved to justify the mandate given to them.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has enjoined his fellow lawmakers to put bickering for leadership positions behind them and face legislative duties.
In his welcome address at the resumption of plenary  yesterday, Saraki reminded the senators that Nigerians elected them to deliver on their mandate and not to struggle for positions on the floor.
Acknowledging the enormity of the hydra- headed challenges facing the country, Saraki spoke of the urgent need to address these challenges.
Said he: “Distinguished colleagues, we have our work cut out for us. We cannot afford to frolic. Nigerians did not give us our mandate to come and pursue leadership; their mandate was for us to pursue governance and bring solutions to their burning issues.
“It is time we remind ourselves of the solemn promise to deliver to our people real change. Leadership is secondary to our primary responsibility of good governance.
“As Senate President, you have given me responsibility to ensure that our primary responsibility is placed on the table, not under the table. Nigerians did not put their lives on the line for politics but for the delivery of good governance.
“My distinguished colleagues, the job of changing our corporate destiny starts today. Though the challenges are huge, they are not insurmountable.
“Let these challenges inspire us as leaders to show courage, statesmanship and valour. We have taken the right first steps out, we must now set out at dawn. We do not have all the time; indeed our clock is ticking.
“Distinguished colleagues, it is time; let’s get started and deliver meaningful change to our people.”
Saraki lamented the dwindling national revenue profile, which he blamed on falling oil prices, oil theft, indiscriminate granting of import duty waivers, dubious concessions and grants.
He continued: “Distinguished colleagues, our country is passing through a difficult time. We cannot afford to watch the mind-boggling leakages in our oil receipt to go on. This Senate is in tandem with Mr. President on this and is determined to turn every stone and shift every rock to ensure that all revenues due to the country from oil are recovered.
“We are not the only oil producing country in the world; oil theft cannot therefore become an acceptable part of our oil business.
“Furthermore, Nigerians are tired of the inadequacies in the power sector and want to see a reinvigorated power sector capable of delivering enough energy to power the new Nigerian economy.
“Our people dream to see a more open economy, they want to see legislative instruments that will help to open and stimulate private sector investment in infrastructure development, and enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
“Nigerians want to see the National Assembly tackle these obscenities in our revenue systems as they deny our people the right to good governance”.
Saraki deplored the upsurge in terror attacks in the Northeastern.
The country, he said, can no longer tolerate the excesses of the Boko Haram insurgents and promised to send a delegation of senators to visit troops and displaced persons’ camps.
“Soon afterwards we shall, working together with the House, develop concrete steps towards the rehabilitation and renewal of the battered local economy of the Northeast.
“Make no mistakes about it, the aim of these militant groups is simple; to test our resolve and disintegrate our unity. But let me reiterate the readiness and willingness of the National Assembly to support and work with President Muhammadu Buhari to comprehensively rout Boko Haram.
“We join Mr. President in saying that we will defeat terrorism in our country and region, because we have the will to win this fight. Our resolve is collective, we urge all friends of Nigeria, including the United States and the entire international community, to join us,” Saraki said.
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