Yesterday, the Senate held a public hearing on the Bill to establish a North East Development Commission to help in the rehabilitation of areas affected by Boko Haram. These are my thoughts on this bill.
Posted by Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, May 10, 2016
#ThankATeacher As the world celebrates International Teacher’s Day, I want to thank Mr Imana my secondary school principal and other KCOB staff and teachers who taught us chivalry and patriotism.
The role of teachers in the fabric of a nation’s existence cannot be overemphasized; they determine our future through our children.
Our children need strong educational foundations to be able to compete in the global arena. Hence, our great teachers must be celebrated.
Like the Mission Statement of my Alma Mater, King’s College: education nurtures our children to become adults of profound character.
Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki
I have been enthusiastically looking forward to making a big but surprise visit to Ikenne, Ogun State to be part of the Centenary birthday celebration of Mama H.I. D. Awolowo, knowing that she is the last woman standing among the wives and mothers who truly contributed by supporting their spouses in laying the foundation for our nation building. To think that she will not be there during the period of the celebration, which is just about two months away, makes me sad, in spite of her ripe age filled with achievements.
Mama Awolowo truly distinguished herself among her contemporaries and not only because she lived longer but because she served God and humanity to the end. Even as a nonagenarian, she kept on hosting different fora and contributing to ideas on the unity of the Yoruba people in particular and Nigeria in general. She was an epitome of a good wife and mother and I have no doubt that as she reunites with her darling Husband, Pa Obafemi Awolowo, she would have good account to give of how far she had held forte in the absence of the late sage.
On behalf of my family and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, i commiserate with the Awolowo family, the government and people of Ogun State and Nigeria in general on the death of this of this great woman. They should all take solace in the fact that Mama lived a good life. May her soul rest in peace.
Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON.
The current security situation in Ekiti State today is a big threat to our nascent democracy, political stability and judicial independence. Above all, it is an afront to our peaceful co-existence in our immediate environment and to our nation in general.
I am personally worried and concerned as a Nigerian and as a stakeholder in the Nigerian polity. Whether the Ekiti State crisis is APC or PDP driven or whether it is as a result of an act of commission or omission and or whether it is government, group of people or individually driven, I must say without any ambiguity that what has happened in Ekiti State in the last few days is totally unacceptable and should be dealt with immediately and decisively too in good time.
A situation where the independence of our judiciary and its institutions in particular and the office of our respected judicial officials are no more secured and safe to discharge and practice their constitutional responsibility and professional roles respectively, calls for a signal that anarchy is about to set in to our polity. It is unfortunate that at a time when we as a Nation are battling high rate of insecurity and insurgency across the country and such assault is being unleashed on a Judge of a High Court on official duty, brings a deeper thought to the level of leadership we are providing to this country.
It is appalling that since the attack on one of the High Court judges in Ekiti State, the Federal government, the Presidency and the rulling party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP has either refused, neglected and or failed to make a formal pronouncement on this unwarranted attack is a sign of bad leadership. A precarious situation of this nature should not be sacrifice on political expediency. This is unacceptable.
The National Judicial Council, National Judicial Institute, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Benchers and other related judicial bodies must also condem this act and show concern in respect of this barbaric attack to one of their own.
A situation where the Federal Government, the Presidency and the party that forms the government at the national level deemed it not to be concerned and decided to keep mum over the unwarranted attack on our judges is an act of dereliction of duties and responsibilities. If the symbol of the common man on the street and the abode of his last hope is been diminished and degraded or insulted by whoever personalty or group of people, and we all see it as one of those minor issue, I am afraid to say that the leadership of this country has failed all of us in this regard.
Let me reiterate it once again as I always say, Nigeria is bigger than all of us as an individual or group of people. Nobody, I repeat, nobody should be above the law. The situation in Ekiti state is an indication that anything goes in Nigeria. For a public official in the temple of justice to be so attacked and humiliated while on official duty and the Federal government is looking the other way round is unacceptable and should be rejected by all concerned Nigerians. An attack on one judicial officer is an attack to the entire judicial institutions and all that represent it, an attack on a judicial officer is an attack on our democracy and its institutions, an attack on any judicial officer is an attack to the last hope of common man, while an attack on a judicial officer is an attack to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which we all sworn to defend and protect.
I hereby call on the Federal Government, the Presidency, NJC, NJI, NBA and other relevant private and public institutions to make a pronouncement forthwith without delay and condemn this criminal atrocity and act of affront to our collective sensibility . This act must stop and government must stop it. What impression are we giving the outside world where the sanctity of the rule of law has been undermined? It should not be under any guise. This is not about politics, it is not about election neither is it about any personality. It is about our judicail institution and the respect it deserves and the need to uphold it’s sanctity.
Anything short of this portends dangers and anarchy against Nigeria as a Nation and it should be resisted forthwith.
Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
ely welcomed in order to end this violent insurgency.
Finally, we need to recognize that terrorism is alive and thriving in the northern regions of Nigeria. This can be partially attributed to the fact that the environment has worsened and economic opportunities have lessened in this region. As was recently reported, about 35% of the land that was arable in northern Nigeria fifty years ago can no longer be cultivated. We must look into policies that address this issue if we wish to stem the tide of newly recruited terrorists.
Today, defeating Boko Haram starts with President Jonathan. Where we are as a country is not the Nigeria of our dreams and surely not the one we want to pass onto future generations. Whether from the north or south, Christian or Muslim, in the ruling party or the opposition party like myself, we want President Jonathan to succeed in this fight. Unfortunately he doesn’t see that and if he does, he hasn’t started to tap into all the human resources at his disposal to assist him. Instead many feel like accusers rather than part of the Team Nigeria in the war against terrorism.
However, I and others unreservedly believe that defeating Boko Haram is possible. Though this will only happen when our military men and women are given the necessary resources and support that they need; when the political community unites to fight this war for the entire country; when we effectively utilize international support; when we work with the local communities in the north to foster cooperation, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability; and when our leaders rise to the occasion and make the end of domestic terrorism a top priority.
The issue of the cleanup of extensive oil spill and the ensuing environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, has again been highlighted by the recent Amnesty international report.
This report has correctly indicted the Federal Government and Shell for doing next to nothing to implement the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) recommendations.
It would be recalled that in August 2011, the UNEP handed the Federal Government its scientific findings on the state of degradation in Ogoniland, and warned that the environment has become hazardous for human habitation. The report also called for urgent measures to be taken to restore the environment. Three years down the line, no action has been taken on the report, and we are no farther from where we were before its release.
For the Senate Committee on Environment & Ecology led by Senator Bukola Saraki, it is sad to recall that in the wake of the UNEP report, as the Chairman of the committee tasked with environmetal-related oversight, Saraki and his colleagues immediately embarked on a visit to the devastated parts of Ogoniland to fully understand the level of devastation.
Speaking with reporters after a visit to one of the most affected areas, Senator Saraki described the level of degradation as “Unprintable, wicked and embarrassing,” as some of the spills had been left unattended to for over 40years.
Following the visit, the Senate Committee on Environment promised the communities impacted by the environmental disasters that it would do its utmost to ensure the cleanup of the spills.
Not taking its commitments lightly, the committee commenced consultations with Shell and the relevant agencies of government towards the cleanup. After several meetings with the committee, Shell immediately made a number of written commitments to begin work at three of the most impacted areas, while the government would work out the institutional framework for implementing the cleanup process.
Having observed the level of devastation on the ground, and the recommendations of UNEP, the committee also called on stakeholders to fully implement the thorough recommendations of the UNEP. The committee further advised the Federal Government that to achieve the level of restoration that was recommended by the report, an independent Ministry of Environment needed to be established to supervise such activities, instead of the Ministry of Petroleum to be saddled with such duties (an opinion mirrored by the recommendations in the report).
The committee also advised Nigeria to follow the right institutional structures and framework, as stipulated by the law, and to conduct its affairs in a manner that separates issues like oil cleanups from politics.
It was at this point that the report became unnecessarily complicated and political. As usual, issues of ‘intent’ became the sole talking points, as people without vision and conscience began to question the motive of a northern leader seeking to end the suffering of other Nigerians from another region.
Because the chairman took his environmental mandate seriously, and wanted to see the end of the suffering of the Ogoni people, rather than applaud his efforts, his actions where branded as political because those who neither saw what he saw during his oversight visit, nor have the conscience capable of being moved, were more concerned about the $1bn earmarked for the cleanup.
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources hastily pursued and got the government to set up HYPREP. Saraki was on record to have warned against this move, and urged that unless we institutionalize the process and allow things to be done properly according to the report, we might end up losing the opportunity to change the lives of the people of the Niger Delta that have been affected by these oil spills.
Some of the other recommendations of the UNEP Report required legislative action. One of these was the amendment of the NOSDRA Act of 2006, as expert commentaries on the Act showed that it was weak and ineffective.
In fulfillment of these recommendations, Senator Saraki quickly initiated a review of the NODSRA Act, and sponsored an amendment with clear provisions that if passed, would ensure that there would be no repeat of the Ogoni degradation in the history of Nigeria. Again, instead of being commended for his work, the Senator was repeatedly attacked by naysayers.
Ironically, this same bill continued to receive support and commendation from legislators from other countries including UK, and US, and environmental experts across the globe. However, the support it needs to be passed, has to come from members of the Nigerian National Assembly and the Executive branch.
Ordinarily this support is ought to be easily given because of the magnitude of the problem that the affected communities face. Hoeever, for quite some time now, the NOSDRA bill has remained at the 3rd reading stage in the Senate. No politician that is worth his or her seat should play politics with an issue like this one. No more Nigerians need to die from hydrocarbon pollution in the Niger Delta for us to pass this bill. Yet many do not seem to understand what is at stake.
Needless to say, the warnings issued by the committee have all come to pass. Not only has the HYPREP not been able to do anything tangible since it was first established under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, but due to a lack of institutionalization, the stakeholders who are supposed to engage with it have not found it trustworthy enough to engage with it – neither has the government itself. It is now technically dead as it has been starved of funds and has been unable to pay the salary of its staff for over 18 months
In spite of the overwhelming pressure mounted by the unnecessary influx of over 70,000 armed personnel across the state of Osun; the illegal arrest and harassment of opposition members, and; the propaganda from the PDP, the great people of Osun have spoken with their votes. Osun has decided to give Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola another four year mandate.
I heartily congratulate my brother, Ogbeni Rauf on his sweeping re-election on the people-centered platform of the ALL Progressives Congress (APC).
From every nook and cranny of the State of Osun, people came out en mass to send a clear and loud message: we will not be bullied into submission; we will not cower until we get the change that we rightly deserve; and we will remain united in the firm belief that we can rescue our nation from the failed governance of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Osun has shown those seasonal politicians, that come out few months before election to claim a mandate from the people that no federal might can defeat the will of a powerful people. I know there are many out there that believe its time for a change but are held back because they believe “federal might” can’t be defeated or the people wish or voice doesn’t count , fellow Nigerians the good people of Osun has shown how that is such a fallacy in today’s Nigeria
Despite the clear-cut democratic victory that we have witnessed today, now that the dust has settled, we must get back to building strong precedents for our nation.
I commend Nigerians especially the youth of Osun state, who followed the electoral process all day long to ensure results were not tampered with at any stage of the electoral process. A job well done
The 2015 General Elections are only months away, therefore, before the single most important democratic contest of our time, we must bring those that choose to trample on the tenets of our democracy to justice. We must begin to investigate the new trend of arresting opposition leaders prior to elections. We must also begin to honestly question the restrictions placed on many of our fundamental Constitutional freedoms when elections come around.
Osun is not only a victory for Ogbeni Rauf and the people of his state, it is a victory for the future of this nation. So, as we celebrate this monumental achievement, I urge Ogbeni Rauf to keep doing the will of his people. I also urge all changemakers, pacesetters, and progressive minded Nigerians to come on board and join us in the battle to reclaim the mandate of our nation.
We can rescue Nigeria, however, like Osun has demonstrated today, we have to work hard and work together.
God bless the great people of Osun. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Signed Bukola Saraki
Watch this explosive video of Senator Saraki as he speaks on issues of national importance. Saraki Speaks About Nigerian Politics, Reforms And Moving On After PDP. http://youtu.be/QFlTvEJFnuc?a
The former governor of Kwara State and Senator representing Kwara Central was Saturday, 8th March given a heroic welcomed by both his supporters and passerby on his arrival at the Ilorin International Airport. The crowd initially came with the intention to welcome his Excellency back to the state of harmony, until the possession grew longer than expected which culminated to the senator himself alighting from his open roof vehicle to ’walk-the-walk’’ with the people in a show of love to the emir’s palace.
Speaking in an elated mood, Senator Bukola Saraki said “Today, Kwarans have shown that we come too far to be disintegrated by “nocturnal politicians” who come at the eve of election to rob us of our mandate; Kwarans have shown that irrespective of the external aggression and gang-up to disharmonize us, we cannot be broken’’
Speaking further he said, ’’In the history of my usual periodic visit to Kwara, apparently today’s arrival was extravagantly welcoming, as Kwarans came together en mass at the airport- I’m sincerely humbled, happy and confident of your support. Importantly, I’m very glad to have walked the roads together on our feet from the airport down to the Emir’s palace, this is the best way I can pass the weekend with my people; truly we are united, because you all turned out voluntarily from your various homes. I’m deeply honoured’’
The Chairman Senate Committee on Environment, also used the rare opportunity to assure Kwarans of his focus towards achieving the Kwara of our dream. ’’Let continue to support the Kwara state government and sensitize everyone to join the change train if they are yet to’’ He Concluded.