The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday urged lawmakers to remain focused in carrying out their legislative mandates notwithstanding the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Saraki, who made the call in his welcome address to Senators from their end of session break, said any divided attention in view of the pending elections would not be in the interest of the country.
“We must not be distracted. It is incumbent on us, therefore, to not allow politicking get in the way of our first duty to the Nigerian people, as Senators of the Federal Republic,” Saraki said, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja.
He added: “On this note, I charge us all to fasten our seatbelts and power on with the work we have been tasked to do. Posterity is watching, and history will vindicate us if we do the job with diligence and in truth.”
Saraki stated that though the Senate clocked its third anniversary while on break, there was no celebration given the sombre mood of the nation.
He said: “Indeed, we have come a long way, and have set a new bar in the legislative history of this country. We have passed 213 Bills in the period under review and cleared 138 Petitions – surpassing in three years the records of the entire four-year terms of every previous Senate. This is no mean feat.
“As we hit the home run, therefore, it is important we do not pack-pedal or slow down; we must intensify efforts towards doing all that we are sworn to do for the electorate that voted for us as their representatives.”
The President of the Senate also urged the Executive to expedite the release of funds for Budget implementation, now that the 2018 budget has been assented to “so that our people can begin to see the positive impact in their lives without delay.
“The work is not done. We as the Senate must continue to exercise our oversight functions to ensure successful implementation and value for money.
“Naturally, we continue to work towards reforming the budgetary process. Clearly, it is necessary for the Executive and the Legislature to work towards a more robust engagement on the need for a better budget environment and process, going forward.”
Saraki said despite the sterling achievements of the Senate in the past three years, it must be prepared to tackle all emerging national challenges and see to improvements in he security of lives and property in the country.
“We are resuming plenary today under a pall of national anxiety and apprehension over the state of insecurity in the country,” Saraki said. “We have been alarmed at so many senseless killings of Nigerians, with the high number of casualties in Plateau being among the most egregious of late.
“Let me reassure Nigerians that we are as concerned as they are in the face of this challenge; and we continue to hold government accountable, in order to see to improvement in this area.”