By Mumini Abdulkareem
Thursday June, 6, 2019 will go down in history as memorable day for the political leader of Kwara State, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the curtain fell on his four-year stint as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Although, the proceedings of the red chambers under Saraki took place within the four walls of the Senate building, his leadership qualities, capacity and futuristic outlook reverberated across the country and the world at large as his colleagues, many of whom were thought to be against him, took turns to shower encomiums about his leadership qualities, which he had demonstrated at various positions of authorities before his ascension to the office of the Senate President. His colleagues literarily waited for Saraki’s last day as chairman of National Assembly to paint his finest hours for his people back home and the country to see. It was indeed vantage Saraki.
While the former Senate President inherited a senate that could be said to have lived above average, Saraki’s exploits despite his trials and tribulations from the cabal in the executive over the way he emerged, not only bring him to the fore as a quintessential leader with focus, it has further lend credence to the belief by many of his apologists and supporters within and outside the country that he is yet the best president Nigeria is yet to have.
On the D-Day at the floor of the Senate, Saraki led the Principal Officers and other senators into the chambers; took the official prayers; and began the day’s proceedings at 10:58am. It was ?Senator Andy Uba who had once described Saraki as somebody whose political sagacity was grossly underestimated by his political foes that moved for the motion for the approval of votes and proceedings of Thursday, 30th May 2019 while Senator Sam Anyanwu seconded.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that the Senate begin the Valedictory Session to mark the end of the 4th session of the 8th Senate and it was Saraki’s Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu that began the deluge of eulogies which also attracted comments from his sweetheart, Barrister Toyin and kinsmen back home including Director-General of ABS constituency office, Musa Abdullahi among others.
In his emotional remarks, Saraki said the presence of members for the valedictory is a victory in itself that “we are seeing the journey to its momentous end despite all the challenges”.
According to him, “This is one of those occasions when the Supreme Creator (Allah SWT) reminds us, once again, that power does not reside in any one person.
“When I think of the many trials and tribulations we have faced as an institution, and my own personal travails particularly at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, I am humbled. “This way down the line, however, I realise that the day of that invasion was the saddest – but in many ways it was also a good day for asserting the independence of the legislature and the triumph of democracy. It also turned out to be a showcase of the special relationship between this chamber and the House, as Honourable Members stood in unison with their Senate colleagues in defiance of the invaders.
“Working together, we clocked many firsts in the 8th Senate, and we should rightly be proud of these, especially as they are imperishable legacies we are leaving for the people. It should be a matter of pride to all 109 senators and to our offspring that, in this chamber, we put humanity first. I will always be proud of the humaneness of the 8th Senate. Ours has been legislature with a human face, the personal touch, moved by the milk of human kindness. When Miss Hilda Eva Amadi tragically died at an NYSC Orientation Camp in Ilorin, Kwara State, we as the Senate were there to condole with those grieving her loss. We made donations towards the renovation of facilities at the camp and for topping up the medicine supply, to ensure the health and well-being of corps members there.” – Every single Nigerian life matters, and we demonstrated that in the symbolism and actuality of our actions at all times. When Nigerians cried out for help, we did not turn deaf ears. Many will remember the case of Miss Monica Osagie who accused her lecturer of demanding sex for marks. As a responsive Senate, we backed up the Sexual Harassment law we had enacted by passing a resolution on the issue, and conducted an investigation into the allegation. Responding to the needs of Nigerians was our calling, and by so doing, I believe we made a real difference in people’s lives”.
Saraki later adjourned plenary sine die (indefinitely)
Some of the eulogies are captured below:
Biodun Olujimi – Saraki was God’s choice: “It is usually a difficult task speaking after the Deputy Senate President. 48-months just rolled by- we came, we saw and conquered. We did our best in the 8th Senate, I remember when we came in to vote for the Senate President of our choice and discovered some of our colleagues where holding meetings elsewhere. I believe God had a hand in your election as the Senate President.
Emmanuel Bwacha – He’s a great team player: “It’s a rare privilege to be here. We have seen some of our colleagues stand up to speak in order to please their godfather. You are truly a great team player. That is one thing we will be willing to share with your successor.
Philip Aduda – He has led well: “I salute your leadership courage, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to work for the common purpose of making laws for the federal republic of Nigeria. I will not forget the troubled times we have been through. As far as the 8th Senate is concerned, you have led us well.
Bassey Akpan – His leadership most impactful: “Your leadership has been the most impactful. History will be kind to you. In effectiveness, the 8th Senate has a good place in history and the 9th Senate will have a lot to learn from it.? This Senate led by Saraki has passed a high number of Bills and Motion. We’re forever grateful for this rare opportunity.
Binta Masi Garba – He is my leader, mentor: “Nothing good comes easy, but sometimes we have to give way. Thank you, Bukola Saraki, my leader, my mentor.
Dino Melaye – He survived cankerworms, caterpillars: “I thank the Almighty who is the Supreme Controller of the universe. When cankerworms and caterpillars attacked you, I addressed you as the irremovable Senate President. To my surprise, many of those who orchestrated your downfall and removal have now called you their mentor, only God give and take power. The happiest day in my life was the day Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki emerged as the Senate President and saddest was when Senator Ovie Omo-Agege led thugs to steal the Senate mace, a symbol of unity.
Obinna Ogba – God will continually bless him for his leadership: “I urge my colleagues, especially those coming back to see this country as one nation. I want to particularly thank the Senate President and deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. May God continue to bless them for their leadership?
David Mark – He has developed Senate to enviable heights: “I have been here for 20yrs and I can say without fear that Saraki have developed the Senate to an enviable height.
Ali Ndume – He’s resilient, stands for what he believes in: “I respect you for your resilience and always standing for what you believe in. I have never taken anybody consciously on personal basis, I do that based on what I think is right. I know the 8th Senate has done so much work (under Saraki) and I hope the 9th Senate will learn from the 8th Senate.
Ibrahim Gobir – He directed us well: “Whatever has a beginning must have an end and so today, the 8th Senate comes to an end. You directed us very well and did your best.
Victor Umeh – He gave us opportunity to serve well: When I came here, you, Saraki gave me opportunity to serve well, even though I resumed this 8th Assembly late.? I have been very active for the 17months I have been in the Senate and I sponsored two Bills during this period. This Senate has gotten so much work done.
Ahmad Lawan (Senate Leader) – His emergence propel Senate to work for national interest: “After Saraki emerged as Senate President, we consciously decided in national interest, to work together for stability and peace, as we are all like-minded. I have now spent 20 years in the National Assembly. I believe that we can achieve a Senate we can be proud of when we work with patriotism”.
Toyin Saraki – He’s been brilliant Senate President, led unprecedentedly productive senate: “Four years ago, almost to the day, my husband took the bold step of accepting the nomination of a college of his peers, to be primus inter pares, as Senate President. Although we have not known a moment of peace since, he has been a brilliant Senate President, of the unprecedentedly productive Eighth Session of the Senate and National Assembly. I am super proud of him. I am super proud of you, his supporters, for your loyalty, dedication and efficiency throughout. Even in the most challenging of circumstances, you all excelled, and as a result, we all exceeded every expectation. I appreciate the sacrifices you all made, and pray that Almighty God recognises and rewards all efforts, as we all progress together to a brighter today and better tomorrow”.
Shamsudeen Bada: I congratulate him for a well accomplished successful tenure. Dr. Bukola Saraki is a leader with an incomparable large heart your unrelenting labour in the growing process of a new Nigeria will forever be remembered. You have excellently demonstrated a high responsibility oriented leader and your service has always been accompanied by so many successes. You’re indeed a pathfinder and your tremendous respect for the rule of law has always shown that, the people, and what they rightfully demand, is your ultimate concern. 2019 election was not a downfall, rather a merit, the test of your love towards your dear nation and state. It shows your depth of understanding humanity. Your great and incomparable works will forever make the nation of Nigeria and Kwara State yearn more for you. You’ve laid a foundation that only patriotic leaders can follow.
Musa Abdullahi – You delivered against all odds: “I wish to congratulate the leader of all leaders for paddling the canoe of the administration of the National Assembly to the glory land. It was very obvious that against all odds, you were able to weather the storm with courage in order to justify the confidence reposed in you for eight years as governor and eight years as senator and senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Respectively. You have always been able to use every positions occupied to impacts positively on the lives of the people. It is my prayers that Your Excellency will never be deprived of God mercies in all your undertakings.
Abdulqadir Abdulganiyy – Achievements ’ll remain benchmark for future Senates: “Despite all the challenges and vicious attacks against you by some disgruntled elements, you remained unperturbed, stood your ground and ensured that the Senate under your leadership recorded several ‘firsts’ and laudable achievements that will remain benchmark for future senates. Indeed, your composure, intelligence and resilience are second to none. You upheld the independence of the legislative arm and ensured the legislature never kowtow to the executive, which had always been the norm in Nigerian politics. Without doubt, you raised the bar of legislation and moved the Senate to enviable heights, as attested to by one of your colleagues and former senate president, David Mark. Dear leader, you came, you saw and you conquered. You’ll surely be missed by Nigerians”.