The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has revealed that the invasion on April 18, 2018, which led to the theft of the mace, would remain the ‘saddest’ of his tenure.
Saraki made this revelation on Thursday while delivering his valedictory speech which marks the last sitting of the eighth Senate. He said:
“Distinguished colleagues, let me thank each and every one of you for your contributions towards making this the historic Senate that it is. 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, because none of our achievements would have been possible without the support and cooperation of the entire members of this chamber.
“The invasion of the National Assembly by armed security operatives in August 2018 will live in infamy. 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. I thank the House of Representatives for the remarkable unity of the two chambers of the 8th National Assembly, for it was only in unity that we could withstand the storm.”
Saraki identified either Senator Ali Ndume or Ahmad Lawan as likely to replace him as Senate president. He said:
“I thank majority leader Ahmad Lawan; you have made your mark here and the record reflects it. I also thank former majority leader Ali Ndume; you also made your mark. Between the former majority leader and the current one, it is clear that one of you will be president of the Senate.
“Whoever emerges, I wish you the very best of luck. This I know: whatever the capacity, we should always do our best to serve the interest of the people. We should also have it in the back of our minds that power is transient.”
Saraki also boasted of the conduct of his colleagues who he said had no scandal in the last four years. He said:
“In closing, distinguished colleagues, let me say that I am quite proud of the fact that there was not a whiff of scandal in this Senate. You carried yourselves with the bearing and sense of probity worthy of the office. You played your part in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy. May the work we have done here bear bountiful fruits in the length and breadth of this great country of ours, and may it be so for years to come.”
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