The newly elected President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday said that his administration would work hard to protect the independence of the Legislature in the interest of the nation’s democracy and its citizenry.
He applauded the neutrality of President Muhammadu Buhari in allowing the 8th National Assembly free hand to elect its leadership at both chambers of the National Assembly, adding that the President’s exemplary leadership has laid a solid foundation for the stability of the 8th National Assembly.
Saraki, who was elected unopposed by 57 out of 108 Senators elected to the current Senate also promised that the 8th Senate under his leadership would carry out its constitutional responsibilities, anchored on the principles of accountability, equity and fairness.
He however, cautioned that the quest to assert the independence of the Parliament must be carefully handled in such a way that it must not lead the Assembly to start pursuing adverse relations with other arms of government.
The newly elected President of the Senate who stated this in his inaugural speech at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, noted that the change, which the people of Nigeria voted for in the 2015 general elections was a change that would take people away from a life of poverty and misery to a life of prosperity, happiness, security comfort, accountability and respect for democracy.
He expressed excitement that irrespective of differences in political party affiliations and other diversities in the polity, the Senators were able to unite and vote as one family for public interest and advancement of the nation’s democracy.
He also expressed appreciation to all the other party leaders who worked tirelessly to resolve all inter and intra party conflicts, urging that the senators should now move forward with renewed confidence and support for his leadership.
Saraki further commended the former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, for the uncommon leadership he provided for eight years, which he said had led to the stability of the Senate.
He also solicited with his colleagues to give him their maximum cooperation to enable them move the Senate, democracy and the country in general to an appreciable level, where Nigerians would begin to enjoy the benefits of good governance.
Part of the speech reads: “I am most honoured and privileged to be elected to serve as President of the senate. I accept with humility and respect the honour you have conferred upon me today.
“I want to thank all members of the National Assembly for your maturity and patriotism in the exercise we had just concluded in electing the leadership of the 8th Senate. We have today demonstrated that, even though we may belong to different parties, we are ultimately united by our common desire to entrench democracy and allow its principle guide our conducts.
“The change that our people voted for is a change from a life of poverty, misery to a life of prosperity, happiness, security and comfort, accountability and respect for democracy. This is a change that all of us in the National Assembly must strive to justify, Nigerians want to see a proactive National Assembly.
“As the President of the 8th Senate, I shall be guided by the enormity of the responsibilities that this moment imposes on all of us, I shall strive to be just, equitable and fair to all.
“It will be my responsibility to protect the independence of the legislature in the overall interest of our democracy; our quest for autonomy must not lead us into pursuing adverse relations with other arms of government.
“My dear distinguished colleagues, we are entering at a time when a lot is being expected of us, Nigerians expect that the new senate must make laws that will reform the oil sector, the security systems, diversify our economy, create jobs and make doing business in Nigeria more competitive.
“In the coming days, we shall be converging to hammer out an agenda that will help us focus and deliver on the minimum expectations.
“Distinguished senators, I seek your support and cooperation and I offer myself to be fair to all and ensure the unity of this chamber. I have inherited from my predecessor a great landmark.
“May the future generation of citizens look upon the 8th National Assembly as a true assembly of our people’s representatives, who did their best in the service of our nation.
“I congratulate ourselves for this great day and the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our great nation.
Having delivered his inaugural speech,the Senate adjourned plenary till today.
Recall that by this feat Saraki, 53 becomes the 14th president of the Senate while his late father
Pa Saraki was the leader of the Senate in 1979.