The Eighth Senate faltered in areas of punctuality, oversight, legislation on restructuring and two others, Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye has said.
Mr Adeyeye spoke during the Senate’s valedictory session on Thursday.
The session, where senators are allowed to reflect on their time at the assembly, is usually the last session of a parliamentary tenure.
Asides scoring low on punctuality, oversight, legislation on restructuring, the senator representing Osun Central said the Senate did not perform well in the election of the Minority Leader “and confirmation of poor ministerial nominees.”
He said, “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 republic.
“For example, our rule says we should start at 10 o’ clock, today we didn’t start until past 11 and that is not the fault of the Senate President or deputy. Often-times, we will get here at 10 but if we want to start we will not form a quorum. The Nigerian National Assembly, beginning with the Senate, must set the example that 10 a.m. means 10 a.m. At a time we tried it for three to four months then we went back.
“I don’t think we’ve always done a good job with oversight. Since I got here, repeatedly, announcements were made that oversights 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 than interplay of strong men in the corridors of power.”
Shortly before the Chief Whip. Biodun Olujimi, the Minority Leader of the Senate, spoke.
Mrs Olujimi had thanked her colleagues for electing her as first female Minority Leader despite being a first-timer at the Senate.
However, Mr Adeyeye considered it a wrong move to have elected Mrs Olujimi.
“One thing we did wrong at the beginning was the emergence of the Minority Leader. The Nigerian Senate is the first parliament I know of where a first timer emerged as leader because of interplay of ethnicity and rules. It doesn’t happen in any serious legislature.
“The Nigerian must have that temperament, that courage to say it doesn’t matter how much your experience is before coming to this place. When you’re a first-timer, you’re a first timer. That goes for both PDP and APC. The only exception is when you zone a position to a particular zone and there is no other person but a first timer,” he said.
Asides these three, he said the Senate made mistakes in confirmation of two ministerial nominees and in their disposition to the issue of restructuring.
“I believe we made a serious mistake in the confirmation process. 37 nominees appeared before us and within this chamber, there was a consensus that two did not do well. Honestly, in my opinion, we should have rejected them. If we had the wisdom and courage from the beginning, to say out of 37, 35 have done well, two did not do well, even the president would respect our objectivity.
“When it comes to our constitution, it is the primary responsibility of the legislature to amend it. We have to lead. It is unfortunate that in talking federalism in this country, sometimes, the debate is couched in such a way as if it is a north versus south. It is not. This republic will benefit if we have the courage to have true federalism.”
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