Senate performed excellently, says MarkBy BOBRICKY 10:20 Fri, 05 Jun 2015 Comments
Outgoing Senate President David Mark yesterday praised the senate for its performance in the last four years.
Mark, in his contribution at the valedictory session to mark the end of the 7th Senate, said the red chamber recorded landmark achievements.
Mark said: â€œLet me in all modesty say that the 7th Senate achieved some measure of success in the areas of the number of bills that were passed, motions moved, in our oversight functions and in our legislative duties.
â€œSome landmark bills passed by this Senate include but not limited to; Pension Reform Act 2014, National Health Act, Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act and the Terrorism (Prevention) Act.
â€œIn addition, we received parliamentary delegations from Gambia, Benin Republic and the China while over 27 delegations from the Senate attended international conferences and seminars. We also honoured invitations from the Parliaments of Czech Republic and China.
â€œIn spite of the difficult political and economic climate within which we worked and despite our own internal challenges, we can end this Senate convinced that we represented our constituents and Nigerians with the most noble of intentions and to the best of our abilities.
â€œI must confess that within the last four years, we matured politically. That was why when some Senators defected from one political party to the other, we still maintained one united Senate.
â€œEven though the political intrigues of the last four years sometimes slowed down important legislative business, they nevertheless enriched our democratic understanding and I consider them equally important to the democratic process.
â€œIt is also important to note that we gave maximum support to the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS).
â€œI am happy that the institute has made remarkable progress in such a short time with its influence
extending to other African countries.â€
Despite these achievements Mark, the 7th Senate could not say it fully achieved its goals.
He said: â€œWe gave a nod to the clarion call for a national conference but the report unfortunately came very late.
â€œHowever, as much as we tried, we did not meet all the target we set for ourselves.
â€œFor instance, we were not able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and our constitution amendment is stalled.
â€œWhatever our achievements are, we are all well aware that we are yet to attain our goal. However, the 7th senate has laid a solid foundation which the 8th senate can build upon.
â€œI desired and worked for a National Assembly that would have its own Radio and Television Stations, a Specialist Hospital and relocation of the National Institute of Legislative Studies to its permanent site.
These projects are ongoing.â€
Outgoing Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba noted that between June 2011 and June 2015 591 bills were introduced out of which 123 were passed; others are at various stages of legislative processing and consideration.
According to him, among the bills considered and passed are bills that have far reaching impact on the polity.
Ndoma-Egba said within the same period, 115 motions were considered with concomitant resolutions approved.
He added that despite the penchant of the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led Executive not to comply with National Assembly resolutions, the various resolutions nevertheless served as a moral compass of putting the Executive in check.
He stated that notwithstanding non-compliance with its resolutions, the Senate effectively collaborated with the Executive in the overall national interest, stabilising the polity without undermining the integrity and independence of the Senate.
He observed that the 7th Senate, is remarkable for a number of reasons which helped to ensure stability in the polity.
Ndoma-Egba said: â€œFor once, a party in government lost to a party in opposition; a milestone in our democracy.â€
He noted that there are lessons to be drawn from the last elections, saying: â€œA second term is no longer taken for granted, incumbency has its limitations, impunity is unsustainable anywhere and internal party democracy is the only assurance to electoral victory.â€
He lamented that effort to give Nigerians a constitution of their dream was frustrated by the Jonathan administration.
He said: â€œEven though the review of the 1999 Constitution which is a military contraption was paramount in the legislative agenda of the 7th National Assembly, its effort to bequeath an acceptable constitution was enmeshed in a legal quagmire induced by the Executive, the entire process, efforts and resources needlessly dissipated.â€
Ndoma-Egba cautioned incoming Senators championing the cause of reducing the salaries and allowances of legislators now perceived to be on the high side, to thread with caution.
He said: â€œFor those who will soon be members of this hallowed chambers, who believe that they will be gaining mileage by championing long worn fictions of imaginary pay, let me remind you that you will not be the first in this purposeless crusade.
â€œLike those before you, you will soon go quiet.â€
Those who witnessed the session included a delegation from the House of Representatives, former Senate Presidents Joseph Wayas, Ame Ebute, Ken Nnamani, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and former Senate Leader Teslim Folarin.
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