From Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has stated that those attacking the integrity of the National Assembly are ignorant about the workings of the legislature.
Saraki said this in a statement released in Abuja, yesterday, ahead of Senate’s resumption from its annual recess.
The senate president said his focus, since he assumed office on June 9, 2015, has been to build an effective and efficient legislature that directly impacts the lives of all Nigerians.
He reiterated that the role of the legislature, in a young democracy, like Nigeria, is often misconstrued, hence, it is necessary for the National Assembly to work towards positively influencing the lives of all Nigerians, through its powers of lawmaking, oversight and advocacy.
“The president of the senate is just first among equals. However, what always motivates me is that drive to leave this institution better than we met it.
“I always like to leave a place stronger than I met it, and more capable to deliver on its constitutional role and functions than how it was before I got there.
“The difference between democracy and dictatorship is the parliament. This is why I tell people that it is not about who the senate president is the President, or the chief justice of Nigeria is, we must always work to strengthen all our institutions. For example, in four years, I’m gone. Somebody else will be there, but, the institution will always remain. If you have weak parliament that is not effectively able to champion the needs of the people, you will have a weak democracy. However, because of myopic interests, at times, some people do not see why we must protect the mandates and integrity of these institutions.
“When we decided to have a presidential system of governance, it was based on the fact that there must be checks and balances. When these safeguards are in place, it strengthens our democracy and promotes the sort of collaboration across the board that helps us meet the needs of Nigerians.”
Sarakialso stressed that the Eighth Senate will continue to remain committed to people-centered governance.
“Moving forward, we will continue to target laws and interventions that will have direct benefits to all Nigerians. We have started this with our economic priority bills, and we can see the impact with the uptick in banks now lending to more MSMEs. However, we will not stop here.
“With the slight improvement in our economy, it now behoves on all of us, the executive and the legislature, to work towards ensuring that these improvements translate directly to the pockets of Nigerians and the rising cost of living across the country. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.