By Ikechukwu Okoroadi, Abuja
The Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum on Tuesday described the 8th National Assembly as the most productive since 1999, in spite of intimidation and harassment.
According to the Chief Press Secretary of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr. Sanni Onogu, the National Chairman of the Forum, Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim, stated this when he presented the group’s Shining Light of Honour Award to the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Senator Shehu Sani, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe and Senator Kabir Garba Marafa.
According to Ibrahim, the Forum unanimously resolved to honour Saraki, Dogara and the three Senators to show their appreciation and recognition of the work of the 8th National Assembly “in defence of democracy and the independence of the legislature.”
Ibrahim said: “You will agree with me that notwithstanding distractions that the leadership of both chambers of the 8th National Assembly faced, they were able to provide quality leadership that culminated in landmark legislations, which made the 8th National Assembly the most productive since 1999.
“It will be recalled that Senate President and the Speaker at various times suffered serious distractions, subtle harassment and intimidation for their loyalty and commitment to make the National Assembly a true parliament, representing the Nigerian people.
“Their unwavering loyalty and commitment to the Federal Republic of Nigeria provided decisive, purposeful and effective leadership that inspired most senators and members to equally put in their best through quality and patriotic contributions at plenary and committee levels that culminated into landmark legislations.
“As a matter of fact, but for the decisive and effective leadership provided by the President of the Senate and the Honourable Speaker, Nigeria’s fragile democracy would have been turned into a democratic dictatorship,”he stated.
He lamented a situation where some Senators and House Members oils not make it back to the National Assembly while fighting a populist cause.
“Nigerians are living witnesses and are proud of majority of the members of the 8th National Assembly for resisting sustained blackmail, intimidation and temptation by the executive to become its rubber stamp,” Ibrahim stated.
In his response, Saraki thanked the leadership of the Forum for the recognition, saying the award would further encourage the parliament to defend democracy and pass legislations where the interests of the people would remain paramount.
He stated that the National Assembly would continue to defend the nation’s democracy as well as its own independence, “since a weak parliament can only make for a weak democracy.”
On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas – who received the award on behalf of Dogara – said the parliament would continue to work for the betterment of the generality of Nigerians.