For the first time since June 9, 2015, former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, explained yesterday why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not produce the Senate president that day.
Akpabio said though the party had the number needed to produce the Senate President on June 9, 2015, following the absence of a substantial number of their colleagues from the All Progressives Congress (APC), PDP decided to put the interest of the nation first.
Akpabio spoke yesterday when Senate held a special session to commemorate its one year anniversary.
He also revealed some of the intrigues that preceded the election of Bukola Saraki as Senate President.
“If we had wanted to take over theSenate, PDP would have done that. We had the chance to take all the positions.
“But, because we were not greedy, we decided to allow APC take over.”
He called on APC senators to express gratitude to PDP for displaying an uncommon show of sportsmanship and said: “We want to assist the APC government to succeed, despite all your efforts not to succeed.
“APC should be grateful to PDP for not taking over the Senate. It was uncommon,”
On the general state of affairs in the country, Akpabio warned that if something urgent was not done, Nigeria could be plunged into crisis.
“In the South-South, people have abandoned their homes because of activities of Niger Delta Avengers. The North is under turmoil.
“The South-East is boiling because of agitation. The South-West is the only peaceful area.
“I want to urge APC to market this country very well. The way APC is saying the country is full of criminals, investors will not come here to invest. They must change the way they talk about Nigeria. Things need to change,” said Akpabio.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in his remarks, said only God gives power and called on detractors to leave the Red Chamber alone.
“We can only remain patriotic. Our parties may differ, but, we have one country and one constituency, which is Nigeria.
“To our detractors, let me just say there is God. It is God that gives power and He gives to whoever he wants.”
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, commended the mutual trust and understanding of lawmakers.
He said unlike in the past, lawmakers have shown maturity and have been able to put their differences aside.
In his remarks, Saraki, who presided at plenary, reminded his colleagues that Nigerians expect so much from them.
He relayed his dream of a Senate where Nigerians, no matter where they are resident in the country, will feel the impact of laws made by their representatives in Abuja.
His words: “For too long, Nigerians have challenged us to justify our presence in this chamber.
“Many have wondered what exactly we do here or why we should be entitled to certain privileges.
“I believe the best answer we can provide to all these is to continue to seek ways that would enable the ordinary citizens feel the impact of the senate in their lives.
“I dream of a day when the poor woman sitting in her house in rural Awka, Anambra State, would be able to see the benefit of our work on her life.
“I dream of a day when a child going to school in Gusau would feel the benefit of the laws that we make.
“I dream of a day when a young lady in Oshogbo, Osun State, would be able to say how the Senate has helped her small business.
“I dream of a day when a farmer in Ogoja, Cross River State, would see how those of us gathered in this chamber has helped to improve his life.
“I am confident that if we continue on the path we have walked in the past year, that day will come soon.”