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Exploits of the 10th Senate

Opeyemi-Bamidele

Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele

By Opeyemi Bamidele

The 10th National Assembly precisely turns one today. Its first anniversary is almost coincident with the National Democracy Day, which Nigerians, regardless of our faith, ideology or nationality, celebrated on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. This, again, reminds us all of the significance of 25-year unbroken democratic rule, the supreme sacrifice we offered to secure it over three decades ago, our collective resolve to consciously nurture it and the centrality of the Parliament to the growth of representative democracy.

In the last 366 days, the 10th Senate has been strategically collaborating with key public institutions, especially the Executive Arm, to defend our core interest as a federation; ensure macroeconomic stability; promote internal cohesion as well as foster unity among ethnic nationalities that constitute our dear Nation. Like never before, we have been utterly committed to this national assignment to position our Nation not just for more notable regional and sub-regional roles, but also for global leadership.

Driven by this ambitious national aspiration convincingly scribbled in our revised legislative agenda, the Senate has adopted a strategic partnership approach aimed at building resilient synergy with other arms of government and nurturing a competitive, functional and viable federation that works for all. Evident in all our parliamentary engagements, this has been our preoccupation since the inauguration of the 10th Senate as the foremost institution of representative democracy.

For instance, as of June 11, 2024, our records revealed that at least 477 bills were initiated since the 10th Senate kicked off its activities precisely on June 13, 2023. Of this figure, only 25 bills were fully passed into law while others are currently at different stages before the Senate. Comparatively, this figure only accounts for 5.24% of the entire bills introduced within the timeframe.

Many people may measure our performance based on the number of bills that were fully passed into law. Different reasons that account for the low number of fully enacted legislations. This can be ascribed mainly to other issues of highly fundamental national priority that occupied the attention of the Senate. Put differently, it is purely due to the imperatives of attending to other obligations as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Aside the 25 fully enacted legislations, no fewer than 275 bills (57.65%) were read first time within the timeframe, about 135 (28.32%) awaiting first reading; 45 (9.43%) awaiting the second reading; 43 (9.02%) currently at the committee stage and three bills (0.63%) were refused on different grounds. While only 13 (2.73%) of the total bills originated from the executive arm, 464 (97.27%) are private member bills.

Apart from the bills, the Senate arrived at 115 resolutions, which are far-reaching in consequence; profound in their significance to our economic development and strategic to the cohesion, growth and stability of our Nation. Each of these resolutions arose from motions of national importance, which different Distinguished Senators sponsored after due diligence was conducted.

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Also, within the timeframe, the Senate received and treated petitions from members of the public on diverse matters of grave concern. Despite time constraints, 50 of the public petitions were successfully and satisfactorily resolved. The Senate equally screened and confirmed 215 nominees for different political offices at the request of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and in accordance with Section 147 (2-6) of the 1999 Constitution and other Acts of the National Assembly.

Among others, the confirmations include key appointments into the Federal Executive Council, Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigeria Armed Forces, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

The confirmation is key to our national development. It no doubt sped up the process of forming or constituting the national government at a very critical time when our domestic economy was struggling to stay afloat; national security under threats and internal cohesion was seriously gasping for fresh breath. Already, the first year has passed by.And we have decisively addressed issues of strategic national interest with utmost priority.

From our observation so far, we are confident Nigeria is now more stable and the future of our Nation looks more promising than anytime in our recent history. As people of collective purpose, however, we are under obligations to support our governments, whether at the national or sub-national level, to build a resilient economy and an equitable federation that supports the aspiration of all its constituents.

As we embark upon the journey into a brighter, greater and more glorious future, we will devote much of our time to developing legal frameworks that will further stabilise our fiscal and monetary spaces; that will prioritise security of lives and strategic assets; that will deescalate consumer price index, especially food inflation and that will engender a more functional governance structure.

Aside from the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution, the Senate has initiated diverse processes with a clear and well-defined mandate. And the processes are designed to create, develop and evolve a more efficient, responsive and viable governance structure, whether with respect to the economy or security, politics or security, science or technology, agriculture or education.

-Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, CON, is the Leader of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria. 13th June 2024.

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