Senate holds valedictory session for new APC chairperson, two others

The Senate on Wednesday held a valedictory session for three senators who are leaving the upper chamber.

The Senate on Wednesday held a valedictory session for three senators who are leaving the upper chamber.

The senators are Abdullahi Adamu and Abubakar Kyari who were recently elected the chairman and deputy chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) respectively.

Also eulogised is Hassan Mohammed, who was recently appointed the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had on Tuesday, read letters from Messrs Adamu and Kyari resigning from the Senate following their emergency as members of the NWC of the ruling APC at its March 26 national convention.

Mr Mohammed, on his part, had resigned in February.

During the special session which lasted for hours, over 20 senators took turns to talk about their time and experiences with the trio.

While lawmakers congratulated their colleagues on their new positions, a few others asked the new APC leaders to “protect” senators and the Senate at large.

Addressing Messrs Adamu and Kyari, Edo senator, James Manager, noted that the first test for the duo will be to “protect those who are here, not me, because we are not in the same political party.”

He said everyone is in danger in one way or the other and particularly asked Mr Adamu to “go there and protect those who are in danger.

“You know how it is done. Those of us on this side will be watching with keen interest. We know who you are, we know what you can do. Try your best for all of us.”

On his part, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), said being products of the Senate, the new APC leaders have a major responsibility of protecting the Senate at all times irrespective of zones or regions.

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“It is not about Ndume being a senator from Southern Borno,” he said, but “protecting the position of the Senate or the representation from the southern Borno having someone that served for two, three or four terms.

“You know that the rate of turnover is very worrisome. It is not because the legislators are not performing, we need you the chairman to protect the institution and this institution is made up of individuals with wealth of experience. Nigerians are expecting alot from the institution.”

Mr Ndume’s comment comes amid growing concerns of many senators failing to return for second (or more) terms as well as disputes between lawmakers and their state governors.

On his part, the Senate Minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, thanked the APC for choosing Mr Adamu whom he said the main opposition party, PDP, has groomed.

“He came here as a PDP senator and now taking over the APC to do the great job that Nigeria has thrust on his shoulders. The bridge builder, we are very happy that you have also gone to show them how democracy works,” he said.

He also congratulated Mr Mohammed who “came as a PDP, left again and, came back to go back again – PDP, APC, PDP again, APC again – I dare say Hassan, wherever you are, remember your home.”

In his remarks, Mr Adamu vowed to protect the integrity of the National Assembly and “work closely” with APC senators.

He also vowed to break through the PDP aisle of the upper chamber. This he hopes to achieve by convincing PDP senators to join the ruling party.

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Some of you are the best materials that this country can have but you are in the wrong camp. I was a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998, he told the PDP senators.

He further appealed to their ego by describing them as the “best” in what they do.

“It is in my heart of hearts that those of you who are willing to reach out to the higher pedestal of life, our hands are opened and we are stretching the hands to you.

“I assure you that among you, there is the best Governor Abia State ever had, among you there is a good Governor to be that is being denied, come over, we are very human, very fair, we play according to the rules of the game.”

In his contribution, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, described the emergence of the senators as executives of the APC as a remarkable development in the political evolution and history of Nigeria.

This, he said, goes to show that the legislature is coming of age and is now contributing to Nigeria’s political development and stability.

The trio were, thereafter, escorted out of the chamber by lawmakers present.

As Messrs Adamu, Kyari and Mohammed assume their new positions, Mr Lawan is to notify Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, of the vacant seat after which the latter will conduct by-elections to fill the seats.

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