President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday urged all political leaders in the country to remain committed to delivering good governance to the people by not allowing preparations towards the 2019 general elections to overshadow their responsibility.
Saraki who made the call in his address to welcome Senators from their end of year recess, also said it would be a high level of insensitivity to the needs of the people if elected and appointed office holders allow partisan politics to override governance.
On the 2019 elections, Saraki said: “This is my appeal: It is too early for 2019 politicking to override the legislative agenda and the larger work of governance. We have begun a good thing with the recovery of the economy as the core of our agenda; let us see it to its proper conclusion.
“It would be most insensitive to the needs of the people of this country if we were to do otherwise. I am directing this appeal not only to us in the chamber but to the National Assembly as a whole, as well as to the Executive and indeed all political actors,” he said.
He said that the National Assembly was still pained by the unfortunate situation of fuel scarcity that plagued the country towards the end of last year, as well as the needless loss of lives in many parts of country through violent attacks.
He commended the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and the Senate Adhoc Committee on Security for cutting short their recess to respond to the twin grave issues of national concern.
He informed the lawmakers that the report of the committee on the Benue killings was already listed for consideration while calling on the Petroleum committee to expedite action on their report.
On fuel scarcity, Saraki said: “We, as representatives of the people, feel the pain of the people. Things being the way they were, we could not but respond to the crisis.”
On the Benue killings, he added: “We condemn these killings in the strongest terms, and we declare that mindless bloodletting has no place in our society. I offer our sincerest condolences to the people of Benue, and indeed to all who have suffered the loss of their loved ones as a result of these wanton acts.”
The Senate President said lawmakers would not relent in their efforts to conclude work on the ongoing Constitution Amendment process and the 2018 budget.
“Currently, there are two major ongoing issues before us – namely the Constitutional Amendment process and the 2018 Appropriation Bill,” Saraki said. “It is encouraging to see that the Assemblies in the States have already started work on the Constitutional Amendment; I urge us all to keep a keen eye on developments on that front.
“With regard to the 2018 Budget, let me take this opportunity to give a word of encouragement to the Committees as they work to ensure the proper conduct of the process,” he said.
He said the Senate would sustain its good relations and collaboration with the House of Representatives to ensure that all Bills awaiting concurrence are passed early enough and presented to the President for assent.
“To this end, I urge you all to reach out to our counterparts in the House, so that we can fulfil the lawmaking function in the most expeditious manner. This will help streamline the process – and clear the way for the passing of various legislations – making for improved synergy and joined-up working between the two chambers,” he said.