Saraki: Nigeria’s Unity Not Negotiable

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  •  Presidency to sign budget next week, says Dogara 

By Damilola Oyedele and James Emejo in Abuja

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki at a special session to mark the second anniversary of the eighth Senate yesterday declared that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable and “must be defended by all, in spite of numerous agitations.”

Also yesterday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara hinted that the 2017 budget which had been transmitted to the Executive by National Assembly may finally be signed into law early next week.

“This Senate must stand clearly and act clearly to defend the country. The unity of this country is not negotiable. We must defend the unity of this country. It must act clearly on the fact that there is only one Nigeria which is not negotiable, and against division of this country. We must live by example and I want to commend all of us for the roles we have played in this area,” Saraki said.

The Senate President added that the next two years would be more challenging and called on the lawmakers to show leadership to every part of the country.

“Anybody that toys with that is somebody that we will fight to defend the unity of this country. We must eschew bigotry, tribalism and see each other as one and together build a new Nigeria of our dreams,” Saraki added.

The Senate President further urged Nigerians to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari adding that the government is sincerely disposed to turning things around in a much more enduring manner.

He also expressed appreciation to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for providing leadership and character and leading with conviction.

Speaking in the performance of the Senate in the last two years, Saraki said the eighth Senate has passed 96 bills and 72 petitions in just  two years, eclipsing the highest ever in the history of the National Assembly, a record held by the 5th Senate after passing about 65 bills and 6 petitions respectively within the same time period.

“Though we inherited a legacy that created in some minds cynicism and despondency, we were undeterred irrespective of an unending barrage of virulent attacks and unprovoked aggression, the 8th Senate matched on, together erasing records and setting new ones,” Saraki said.

He added that the Senate would remain steadfast in exposing corrupt practices and plugging leakages in ministries, departments and agencies of government.

“We need to be bold and stand for the rule of law,” he said.

Other lawmakers harped on the unity of Nigeria.

Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) noted that there was a pressing need for the Senate to make a statement on the agitations and calls for secession.

“I believe we have been able to work together over these two years despite the turbulent start. The challenge before us is what we can do to address the political, social and economic issues before us. The next two years will be tougher because of moves for secession,’’ Sani added.

In his speech to mark the second anniversary, the Deputy Senate President lauded the leadership qualities of Saraki, which he noted, had steered the Senate right despite the trials he had faced.

Ekweremadu expressed appreciation for the support he has received from all the lawmakers.

Dogara: Presidency to Sign Budget Next Week

Dogara, who also spoke during a special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 8th House of Representatives said the House had kept to its promise made to Nigerians at the beginning of the legislative session to ensure transparent deliberation and passage of the 2017 Appropriations Bill.

In his appraisal of the House within the period, the Speaker noted that the cohesion within the lower chamber constituted a major achievement of the 8th House.

He said: “Without this, all else would have fallen apart as valuable hours of legislative business would have been dissipated on the management of internal squabbles.

“This we achieved, by always placing patriotism above partisanship which is key to the unremitting exemplary maturity that is seen on the floor, week in week out.”

He said a total of 1,064 bills had so far been introduced out of which executive bills accounted for 50 bills; while Senate bills transmitted to the House were 21 as well as 993 bills from private members.

However, Chairman of the Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr.  Olusegun Adeniyi while commending the National Assembly for finally opening up its finances said some of the actions of the lawmakers dent the image of both the House and the Senate.

He said most of the perception problems currently confronting the House were largely self-inflicted and originated from the lower chamber.

He said a situation where members fought and threw irresponsible tantrums on social media was damaging to the House reputation.

Speaking on “Image Perception of the Legislature: Causes and Possible Solutions”, Adeniyi, who was the guest speaker of the august occasion, among other things, criticised lawmakers for voting billions of Naira for new cars at a period when the economy is undergoing a recession and majority of Nigerians experience difficult times.

He further cited a general perception that many of the House members are idle and hardly in Abuja to make contributions to bills.

As a way out, he recommended that members’ attendance list be published henceforth while instituting and enforcing sanctions for non-attendance.

  • Chukwuemeka Mbagwu

    I believe in one Nigeria. However, the oneness of Nigeria should be based on equity, devolution of powers and resource control. That is how true Federalism works. Therefore, if these virtues are lacking, we can renegotiate the bases of our corporate existence. So it is wrong to say that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. In fact, it is autocratic to say so. Relationship (personal, business, political etc.) is not by force.

  • Egie Joseph Odiase

    All a smart person has to do is to take a look at the map of Nigeria to know that splitting Nigeria is not possible. Nigerians cannot ever allow the Igbos to claim the southern coast, the sea and land that does not belong to them. I feel for you biafrans. You need to spend more time agitating for a something doable. No one will surrender the wealth of Nigeria to you without a bloody war. Note.

  • Sarah

    The 3 pre-independence leaders of colonial Nigeria; Awolowo (West, Yoruba), Bello (North, Hausa) and Azikiwe (East, Igbo) were given the option of taking their separate regions away as separate countries but WILLINGLY committed​ their peoples to ONE Nigeria. In fact Awolowo and Azikiwe WILLINGLY agreed to delay independence for two years just to be in the same ONE Nigeria with Bello.
    All regions vicariously WILLINGLY agreed to be part of one Nigeria and signed up to our constitution (or its various reincarnations). The constitution provides the sane way to address grievances​ including constitutional amendments. Any recourse to self-help outside the constitutional framework is bound to lead to unexpected consequences, some of which we are now seeing.
    Hopefully sane heads will prevail before we get to the point point​ of no return.

  • Edim Asekong

    The man is to be pitied. While driving in his well tinted vehicles, Saraki sees Nigeria the way it should be and certainly not the way it is.

  • uOkwunna

    Biafrans said they want to go Arewa people said pack and go and here a mere politician is saying Nigeria unity is not negotiable, the funny part of it is that this is the same man who told Col Ali (Custom Boss) to appear in uniform and he refused, he told the presidency to remove Magu they refused, he said that in protest they will not clear the INEC resident commissioners and now the commissioners has been cleared, Saraki to be sincere with you the Super Eagle team are better failure when compared with you team (the Senate). Shut-up unity is not by force.

  • josvinco

    “Nigeria unity is non negotiable” yet the idiots who circulated notice to the press giving ultimatum to the igbos to vacate the North are not cooling off with security agencies. Has any media reported their arrest ? Should there be even a public out cry before the police get them arrested ? The country needs reform.

  • AriseNigeria

    Nigerian unity minus Biafrans could be non-negotiable. What is unity? Merriam-Webster defines “Unity” as “the state of being in full agreement.” “Agreement” is defined as “a negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action.” Unity can only be an agreement between “interested” parties through a negotiated terms and conditions. So Nigerian “unity” can only be achieved through a negotiated agreement of interested parties. The illiterates that purchased their university in Nigeria are completely ill-informed, and that is why they have turned this banana republic into a zoo. Mr Senators, show us the document of agreement which led to the formation of Nigeria. In the absence of an agreement by interested parties, there can’t be unity. Nigeria is not legally binding on any group that wants to exit Nigeria, because there has never been an agreement that binds us together to form a union called Nigeria. Legally Nigeria is void of unity in the absence of an agreement. UNEDUCATED FOOLS RUNS THIS ZOOLOGY CALLED NIGERIA

  • Daniel Obior

    Saraki’s voice is the voice of a slave, echoing his masters, who happen to be Hausa/Fulani.
    He is too stupid to realise that his liberty depends on negotiating the so called unity.

  • Ify Onabu

    Nothing on earth is non-negotiable. Infact, all things are negotiable, I mean all things. Even with God Almighty, you can negotiate things. Ask Abraham, Moses, Hannah and King Hezekiah. To the elite of Nigeria, who have cornered public resources to advance their private interests, Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable. The ultimate question is: how has this ‘unity’ provided for the vast majority of our citizens? For an ordinary citizen whose child cannot be gainfully employed 10 years after graduation, who does not feel safe in his farm because of marauding herdsmen, who cannot afford three good meals daily, who does not have access to electricity and clean water… this ‘unity’ is certainly negotiable. For the thousands drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in attempts to flee the hell that Nigeria has become, this ‘unity’ is certainly negotiable. To those who do not feel safe in worship places, motor parks and market places, this so-called ‘unity’ is certainly negotiable. Haba, why must they continue to lecture us? Certainly not from this man whose integrity is questionable! Haba!