Romanus Ugwu and Fred Itua, Abuja
Senators elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have pledged to work with the Presidency and the party in the selection of leadership of the National Assembly.
In separate interviews at the International Conference Centre, venue for the collection of certificates or return, the lawmakers tasked the presidency and leadership of the party on early directive ahead of the June inauguration.
This, they said, is necessary to avert the leadership crisis that engulfed the eighth Senate.
Specifically, Adedayo Adeyeye urged the national leadership of the party to provide the required direction.
However, senator-elect, Bamidele Opeyemi, cautioned that whatever process would be employed by the Presidency and the party leadership must be well managed to avoid any backlash.
“The calibre and character of personalities elected for the ninth Senate are very solid and promising for the country but leadership is key, hence the leadership of the ruling party must manage well, whatever process it’s going to use for emergence of leadership at both chambers this time around.
“Once this is done, the party and in particular, the National Assembly and the presidency will be on the same page on development-driven bills sponsorship, policy formulations and approval,” he said.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North) said lessons learnt from the leadership squabbles of the eighth senate would be used to check possible leadership crisis.
“I was a key player in the leadership configuration of the eighth Senate and the attendant crises that followed. As one of the 43 returnees, the lessons learnt will be used to prevent the mistakes of the past from happening,” he said.
Kabiru Gaya and Ovie Omo-Agege promised to do everything within their power to ensure that the upper chambers have a harmonious working relationship with the executive arm of government.
The duo argued that though they have ambition of becoming principal officers of the senate, they would rather wait on the presidency and the leadership of the party to decide on the composition of the leadership of the parliament.
Gaya who declared his intention to run for deputy senate president, said his aspiration is driven by appeal from his colleagues and his burning desire to serve in the leadership of the next Senate having returned for the fourth time.
Gaya, who represents Kano South district, said as the most ranking senator, he would work harder than he did previously.
INEC charges on 2023 general election
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) has challenged members of the incoming ninth National Assembly to deploy every legislative instrument to urgently start and conclude work on electoral framework in good time ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who made the appeal while presenting Certificate of Returns to 100 senators-elect and over 329 House of Representatives-elect, in Abuja, expressed happiness over the return of majority members of the eighth Assembly.
Among the notable senators given Certificate of Return included the governors of Ogun and Zamfara States, Ibikunle Amosun and Abduazeez Yari, Oluremi Tinubu, Dino Melaye, Ifeanyi Ubah and Abba Moro
In his opening remarks, Yakubu said: “As a matter of urgency, the commission will begin work on post-2019 elections review and roadmap to 2023 general elections. There is a lot of work but very little time available. As a process governed by law, the success of election in Nigeria depends, to a large extent, on the electoral legal framework and most importantly in ensuring adherence to the law.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to work with the National Assembly to review and strength our electoral law. But, I want to appeal to the senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on electoral framework in a good time well ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The tendency to delay electoral reform particularly the review of electoral framework until it is too close to the elections, leaves the commission with little time to develop processes including regulations and guidelines, make required consultative with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education including sensitisation, train staff and organise deployment for the elections.
“I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiative or even sponsoring private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reforms.
“We look forward to working very closely with you in the next senate. However, all these are matters to consider, I hope we will do so in earnest,” he said.
He revealed that the management will meet on Friday to consider the report on the committee set up to look into the governorship and State Assembly election conducted in Rivers and Bauchi states.
“The committee we sent to Rivers returned on Wednesday and has submitted the report, just the same with one we dispatched to Bauchi. We are going to meet on Friday to take decision on it. As for the inconclusive governorship polls, I want to say that we have done so in the previous elections. We deserve commendations that none of the 195 elections we conducted off season has been nullified by the tribunal or court. We will continue with the good work we are doing and do everything to conclude elections in accordance with the dictates of the law. We will not circumvent the law.”
The commission also reacted to the recent declaration of Imo North senatorial candidate, Benjamin Uwajimogu, and the withholding of Certificate of Return of the governor of Imo State and Imo West senatorial zone, Rochas Okorocha, stressing that while there was problem over the former, the latter should get across to the commission.
As the lawmakers await inauguration, senators-elect from Kwara Central, Dr Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, Kwara South, Lola Ashiru and Kwara North, Umar Sadiq, have boasted that their performances within the next four years will surpass that of Bukola Saraki in eight years.
Particularly, Oloriegbe said Saraki despite attaining the position of Senate president failed to set standard of performance for any successor to study let alone, meet.
His counterpart from Kwara South, Ashiru said the new set of elected political office holders in the state, at whatever level, would collaborate together to give the greatest good to the greater number of Kwarans while Senator-elect from Kwara North, Sadiq, said he has the strong conviction that marginalisation that has been the lots of the area under successive governments, would be a thing of the past.