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Senators, Reps affirm Mark, Etteh

Posted by By BASHIR UMAR and EHI ONJEWU, Abuja on 2007/06/09 | Views: 424 |

Senators, Reps affirm Mark, Etteh

Senators and members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday affirmed the candidates approved by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus to lead the two chambers of the National Assembly.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday affirmed the candidates approved by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus to lead the two chambers of the National Assembly.

In a keenly contested election at the Senate, former military governor of Niger State, Senator David Mark, from Benue, was elected Senate president. He garnered 68 votes to beat immediate past governor of Benue State, Chief George Akume, who scored 39 votes. Senators Nuhu Aliyu from Niger State and Gbemisola Saraki withdrew from the race. One senator abstained from voting, while another senator was absent.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu from Enugu State was returned unopposed as Deputy Senate president.
In the House of Representatives, Hon Patricia Olubunmi Etteh was endorsed by all members as the new Speaker. She was the only person nominated for the position. Also, Hon Babangida was affirmed as the Deputy Speaker. He was returned unopposed.

The caucus of the PDP had, before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, endorsed Senators Mark and Ekweremadu as Senate president designate and deputy Senate president designate respectively. Also, the caucus endorsed Hon Etteh as Speaker designate of the House of Representatives.

Indications that Mark would not be returned unopposed as Senate president first emerged when former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Sani Yerima, in company of his other colleagues, walked into the chambers by 9.43 a.m and began consultations and serious lobbying with a view to thwarting the plans of the PDP.

The nominations for aspirants for the exalted post of Senate president, which commenced at exactly 11.05 a.m, were brought to a close by exactly 11.30. Senator Lee Maegba from Rivers, nominated Mark. Senator Patrick Osakwe, from Delta seconded the nomination.
At the close of nomination, Senator Aliyu urged the Clerk of the National Assembly, Nasir Ibrahim Arab, who presided over the session to interpret the rule of the Senate regarding ranking of Senators. The Clerk simply said: "We will not go into that. We have passed that stage and since there is no room for debate, we will not talk about that. The vote will be by simple majority."

As soon as the Clerk concluded his remark, Aliyu again got up to say: "In that case, I am withdrawing my nomination, I will support Akume." His action was greeted with applause from virtually all those who belonged to the same camp with him and Akume.
Again the Clerk said "If you’re withdrawing from the race, say so and do so without saying I support so, so and so." He had hardly concluded his remark, when Senator Saraki too stood up to say he was equally withdrawing from the race.

As it later turned out, all the former governors of Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe and Kaduna voted for Akume. Senators from Edo, Kwara and Niger voted for Akume.
In the end, Mark carried the day amid shout of "PDP, power!" After the elections however, Akume was among those who moved closer to Mark to congratulate and embrace him.
Mark dressed in blue ‘Agbada’ with a matching traditional Idoma cap, was thereafter, sworn-in by the Clerk at 12.05 p.m.

Unlike Mark’s election however, that of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President did not generate any heat. He was nominated by Senator Nicholas Ugbane from Kogi. The nomination was seconded by Senator James Manager from Delta. He was subsequently sworn-in by 12.30p.m, since no one opposed his nomination. The new Senate President was later to administer oath of office to other Senators.

Speaking after he was elected as senate president, Mark said that his tenure would make a marked difference in the legislative and the executive relationship in Nigeria, even as he pleaded with the press to allow the upper legislative chamber to be mature before appreciable performance.
"Please don’t crucify us, allow us to die before you bury us," he told the mammoth gathering during the swearing in ceremony.

He pledged to "build bridges of understanding among the diverse segments of the Nigerian society, while giving assurance that his tenure would witness purposeful leadership that would invigorate the senate.
"I want to assure you and the entire country that my tenure will provide a focused and purposeful leadership based on the principles fairness, justice, and equity".
He acknowledged that he could not succeed in his assignment without the unalloyed support and cooperation of the senators and therefore solicited their cooperation and encouragement to accomplish his assignment.

"I wish to seize this opportunity to extend my hand of fellowship to you and seek your support and genuine advice from time to time respective of our political and ideological leanings. He noted that it was a collective responsibility of the law makers to protect the Senate and make it the pride of all so that Nigerian democracy could compare with any democratic institutions in the world".
The Benue senator also called on his colleges to support him in his efforts to "collaborate with the other arms of government so that jointly we can help to strengthen and deepen our present democratic experience for the good of our country with out compromising our legislative authority and independence".

According to Senator Mark, "there is no legislature anywhere in the world that will succeed if it does not maintain harmonious relationship with other arms of government, particularly the executive and there is no executive anywhere in the world practicing democratic governance that would succeed without maintaining a cordial, respectful, mutual, admirable relationship with the legislature which is the difference between dictatorship and democratic governance".

The Senate President stressed that if public confidence of the Senate must be sustained he and his colleges must rise to the challenges of their collective mandate and demonstrate honest and transparent leadership qualities and exemplary conduct at all times in the discharge of their duties.
"This Senate unarguably is made up of men and women of proven integrity with track records of accomplishment in various fields of endeavor and we are therefore best suited to help sharpen the future destiny of this great country", Senator Mark emphasized.

Making a strong pledge to the Senate that his tenure will make history, the Senate President also reminded his colleagues: "You all know that the easiest thing people do is to criticize but the most challenging thing is to come out with ideas that can move the nation from one point to the next".
In her acceptance speech, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mrs. Etteh promised a cordial relationship with other arms of government, with the view to building on the foundation laid by her predecessors.

Etteh was nominated by Hon Farouk Lawan, representing Shanono/Bagwai Federal constituency of Kano State as Speaker to be and was seconded by Hon Ita Solomon James Enang of Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal constituency of Akwa Ibom state.
She promised to take the issue of constituency responsibilities serious, in addition to building good relationship with other arms of government based, based on mutual respect, interdependence and cooperation.

While seeking the support of her colleagues in the task ahead, she reminded them of the confidence reposed on them by the people they were representing.
"As the first woman to occupy this seat, blemish or failure must not be mentioned in the same breath as the office I am assuming. I will not let Nigerian women down and those who have decided that the Nigerian woman has come of age," she promised.

Former Speaker Aminu Bello Masari and his predecessor, Alhaji Umar Ghali Na’Abba were the first to pay her homage, while Masari hugged her, Na’Abba whispered to her hearing as the chamber erupted in clapping.

The new Speaker later administered the oath of office on the members that present.
Four state governors, Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun, Andy Uba of Anambra, Alao Akala of Oyo and Gabriel Suswam of Benue graced the epoch making event.

The PDP team was led by Chief Bode George, Ojo Maduekwe, Major General Ike Nwachukwu (retd), Senator Florence Ita- Giwa.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown