By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday said his current political travails are mere distractions that would soon fizzle out.
Speaking during a town hall meeting with the people of the state in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Saraki said: “Those distractions have started giving way.”
According to him, “All the travails one is going through, for those people who believe in God, know that all these are politics.
“All those distractions do not to allow us focus on issues. They always say that the truth will always prevail. We are beginning to see that truth is already prevailing. The distractions are finding their ways.
“I want to assure you that since my eight years as governor of the state, the legacy that we left is there for people to see. There is nobody after I have left office that can say either there is any uncompleted project in the state or any contractor anywhere in Kwara State that can stand up and say I demanded for any gratification from him.
“I want to say that my business in government is to improve the lives of the people. If it is for myself and family, I don’t have to be in government.”
Saraki who thanked Kwarans for their solidarity with him, assured Nigerians that government at the centre was working hard to revamp the nation’s ailing economy.
He said the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led government has no excuse not to fix the ailing economy.
The senate president explained that no responsible leader would abandon his followers in time of distress to wallow as being experienced with the current economic recession in the country.
He warned that members of the national economic team must buckle up and be ready to proffer solutions to the economic challenges facing the nation.
The former governor said: “Any of them not willing to offer personal sacrifice would have scores to settle with the Senate.”
Admonishing Nigerians to exercise patience, Saraki assured them that the Senate under his leadership would not rest until a solution is found, declaring that “It is a challenge to fix the problems and improve the nation’s economy.”
He said: “We have no excuse not to fix Nigeria economy but we need to be more patient in our agitation. It is important and of necessity to bring about solution. There is no responsible leader that will allow his people to suffer just because the economy is not doing well.
“Until we find solution to Nigeria’s problems, we will not rest. It is a challenge to improve the nation’s economy, and that is the primary reason people voted us into power. We can no longer engage in blame game, we are here to fix the problems. By the special grace of Almighty, we shall succeed.
“As things stand, I understand your concerns and feel your pains about the economy,” he said, “I assure you that we will work together to bring about legislative and policy solutions to address the lingering economic.”
He expressed concern that Nigerians were in the habit of aiding the economy of other nations with unbridled patronage for foreign goods at the expense of the locally made products.
The Senate president said the National Assembly had provided requisite legal frameworks to strengthen the campaign for the patronage of made-in-Nigerian goods.
On the renewed hostility in the Niger Delta, Saraki stated that only dialogue would solve the crisis.
He explained that the ruins in the region had grounded crude oil production from 2.2million barrels daily to 900,000 barrels.
Saraki maintained that engaging the concerned people in the area in talks would arrest the situation, adding that “the same method was used during the time of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and it worked.”
He also advocated that teacher’s salaries should become an item in the capital expenditure in the budget of federal and state governments in order to ensure its prompt payment to beneficiaries.
Saraki noted: “I have always said that teacher’s salaries are one of the priorities that we must not neglect. This is why we should consider transitioning all such line items in the national and state budgets into capital expenditures. This will ensure that education is always a matter of greatest importance and teacher’s salaries are always promptly paid.”
He therefore said it was useless to put building of classrooms and provision of laboratory equipment in capital expenditure when the teachers who teach the students are not paid and therefore not happy.