The outgoing Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, on Thursday, cautioned lawmakers who would be part of the 9th Senate against electing first timers as principal officers.
Adeyeye, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who represents Osun Central Senatorial District, gave the warning while delivering his valedictory speech on the floor of the upper chamber in Abuja.
”If I leave without also pointing out some of the things that we have done wrong, I believe I would not have done good service to this Senate and to this republic.
”One thing we did wrong, especially at the beginning of this Senate in my opinion was the emergence of the minority leader.
”The Nigerian Senate is the first parliament that I know of where a first timer emerges as leader because of inter-play of ethnicity and rules.
”We must get so serious that no first timer should become a principal officer. It doesn’t happen in any serious legislature,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian Senate must have that temperament, that seriousness, that wisdom, that courage to say it doesn’t matter how much your experience has been before you come to this place.
”When you are a first timer, you are a first timer. That goes for both PDP and APC.
”So I pray that in subsequent Senate that we make sure that we don’t have a first timer holding a principal office,” he said.
The lawmaker said the only exception was where an office zoned to a particular political party had no experienced member who could occupy it.
Adeyeye also berated the culture of using the oversight as an avenue for extortion by members of the Senate.
”I don’t think we have done a good job with oversight.
”Since I got here, beginning with Senate President David Mark, repeatedly announcements were made that oversight should not be used for extortion.
”Unfortunately, that has not always been the case.
”Till now, two years in a row, NAFDAC budget has not been passed for no other reason because of inter-play of strong men in the corridors of power.
”May God help the Nigerian Senate to cure such situations,” he said.
Again, he said the Senate as an institution flagrantly disregarded its own rules within the period under review by commencing the business of the day often behind scheduled time.
”For example, our rules say we should start at 10am.
”Today, we did not start until past 11am and that’s not the fault of the senate president or the fault of the deputy senate president.
”Often times, we get here on time but if we marched here 10am, we would not begin from 12pm.
”At one time, we tried it. We succeeded for a period of four months and then we went back,” he said.
He said in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa, among others, legislative work begins at scheduled time.
He called on members of the incoming 9th assembly to correct the anomaly.
”Somehow, the National Assembly beginning with the Senate must set an example that 10am means 10am.
”I pray to God that punctuality will be the soul of business for the ninth Senate and every Senate thereafter,” he said.
Adeyeye, who said out of his own volition, he decided not to vie for any elective office in 2019 general elections, also faulted the Senate in areas of confirmation of appointments.
He said out of 37 nominees for the ministerial appointment sent by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, two of them did not perform well but they were confirmed
”Honestly in my opinion, we should have rejected them.
”The reason is if we have the wisdom and the courage from the beginning to say out of 37, 35 have done very well, two did not do very well, even the president would respect our objectivity.
”Mr President, I believe you were cautious so that they would not say because of the climate under which you became the senate president that you were trying to subvert the president,” he noted.
According to Adeyeye, any nominee who passes should be allowed to pass regardless of sentiment and any nominee who fails should be told he has failed that is how we do our job well in the best interest of the republic.
He said on the issue of the constitution, ”it is the primary responsibility of the legislature to amend it.
”We cannot pass the bulk to any other person but ourselves.”
He said it was disheartening that the issue of federalism had been view as north-versus-south affair.
”It is not. This republic will benefit if we take the courage to have true federalism,” he said.