By Mark A. Upaa
During its Valedictory session Thursday, outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki told the soon to be defunct members of the 8th National Assembly; “power is transient”, “we should always do our best when serving the interest of the people”. In his penultimate speech addressing a packed sitting, the Senate President, who lost his bid to return to the Senate during the just concluded 2019 general elections, waxed poetical even as he expressed satisfaction with the achievements of the 8th Senate, adding that he had no regrets.
He said, “This I know: whatever the capacity, we should always do our best to serve the interest of the people. We should also have it at the back of our minds that power is transient.” As regards the handling of affairs of the National Assembly in the last four years Saraki said: “It is important that I make some comments about Legislature-Executive relations. My own take is that if the Executive sees the National Assembly’s work on the budget as interference despite the provisions of the constitution, then there will continue to be problems between both arms of government.
“If the Executive sees the failure of a few of its appointees to secure confirmation by the Senate as a disagreement, then the relationship will not improve.
“If the Executive encourages its appointees who fail to secure Senate confirmation to remain in office, then there will continue to be disagreement.
“If the Executive believes the Legislature is a rubber stamp without the right to question its actions, then it will be a subversion of the Principles of separation of powers and checks and balances.
“My advice is that both arms of government have a role to play in our quest for good governance and their leadership should work for cooperation and fruitful engagement.”
On his travails as a Senate President and the unflinching support he enjoyed from his colleagues he said, “That I am here today, that we are all here today, is a victory for democracy. It is a testament to what people can do when they come together for the greater good. “This is also one of those occasions when the Supreme Creator reminds us once again, that power does not reside in any one person.
On touting the achievement of the 8th Senate Saraki said, “We can define ourselves by the record number of bills passed, motions cleared, resolutions adopted, petitions treated. We can also define ourselves by the belief that we fought for democracy, held government to account and made personal sacrifices. For some of us, sacrifices are still being made, owing to the fallout of some of the decisions taken. I have no regrets because, as first among equals, we bear collective responsibility for those decisions. As a leader, however, I take responsibility. The buck stopped with me. “In doing all that we did in this chamber, we always used to believe that poverty knew no party, religion, tribe or region. We came together in response to the needs of Nigerians as a whole, and we got the job done. It will be said of us that we were truly representatives of all our constituents. As we conclude the last plenary and wind-up the last few days of the 8th Senate, let us continue to nurture the relationships we have built.”