The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has urged members of the National Assembly, the executive and politicians to focus on governance in 2018 and not on campaigns towards the 2019 general elections.
The Senate President said this in his opening speech as the National Assembly resumed plenary on Tuesday.
He said, “Going into the New Year, I can only wish everyone of us the best as we prepare for the task ahead. It is a crucial year. As you all know, this, in all probability, will be the last productive year before we go into the 2019 electioneering period. Not only is there the need to up the ante in terms of productivity, it is important we keep our eyes on the big picture.
“Let us not be caught in the political fray before due season. Everything under the sun has its own time. This is Nigeria’s time. Let us devote ourselves to its service.
“It is therefore imperative that we speed up consideration on the various bills on which legislative work remains outstanding – particularly economic bills. Calling for similar attention are the other parts of the Petroleum Industry Bill related bills still to be passed, namely the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Host Community Bill.”
He added, “It is my appeal to everyone of us that our legislative duty to Nigeria and its people must be uppermost in our minds. We must not allow the upcoming 2019 elections to overshadow our work for the people that elected us – or distract us from that which we are mandated to do by the constitution and the trust reposed in us by the people.
“This is my appeal: It is too early for 2019 politicking to override the legislative agenda and the larger work of governance. We have begun a good thing with the economic core of our agenda; let us see it to its proper conclusion.”
Saraki stated that he was mindful of the “sobering fact” that the New Year had met many citizens in a reflective mood.
“Many were in the queue for petrol; many households are grief-stricken. This mood of reflection is also one from which no lawmaker is immune; what affects one, affects all.
“When one part of the body is hurting, the whole body hurts, and this holds true for the entire nation,” he said.