Senate President’s Valedictory Speech

FAREWELL SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, DAVID  MARK, ON THE  VALEDICTORY SESSION TO MARK THE END OF THE 6TH SENATE AT SENATE CHAMBER ON THURSDAY, 2ND JUNE, 2011.
It is my pleasure and privilege to address you my bosses and colleagues,
distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this auspicious
occasion of the winding up of the 6th Senate. There is time for everything under
the sun.
I thank the Almighty God Who has made it possible for us to witness this great
day. It is most unfortunate that conspicuously absent from this gathering, are
two of our colleagues, who were snatched away by the cold hands of death. Two
very illustrious Senators from Gombe State are not here to share in the joy of
this day with us, Late Senators Tawar Umbi Wada and Peto Dukku. May their gentle
souls rest in peace.  Amen.

A session in the Senate

It is a great honour for us to have been found worthy by our respective
constituents to serve this nation as Senators of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria. It is also ennobling to have been elected to serve our people at a very
critical period of our political history. Everything that has a beginning must
have an end. Everything in this world happens at the time God chooses. The time
has come to draw the curtains on the 6th Senate. For us, we have had our season
and we have come to the close of this responsive, stable and vibrant Senate.

The process of our emergence as leaders of the 6th Senate, four years ago,
precisely on 5th June 2007, has been applauded as the most democratic. My
bosses, you freely expressed your democratic right by electing the Senate
Leadership. All this while, we have remained committed and steadfast to the
virtues of ethical leadership and transparency. We maintained an open door
policy, realising that it is our collective responsibility to protect the
Legislature and make it the pride of all. In strengthening and sustaining our
country’s democracy, we rose up to the occasion of our collective mandate to
demonstrate patriotism and nationalism in legislating for good governance and
improving the living standards of our people.
When we started the 4th Republic in 1999 and experienced so many legislative
hiccups, little did we know that by the end of 12 years the people of Nigeria
would give us the kind of support that we have enjoyed, particularly in the last
4 years. There is no doubt that since then the Senate has become more stable,
cohesive, independent and assertive. I am happy to note that in the past four
years, an unprecedented number of bills and motions have been considered and
passed. This to me is a remarkable improvement.

The circumstances surrounding the ill health and eventual demise of our late
President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, GCFR, (May his gentle soul rest in peace,
Amen) were a major test of our legislative competence. The nation looked up to
us for a solution to a situation some people had already considered an impasse.
My distinguished colleagues, you collectively rose to the occasion by
introducing the Doctrine of Necessity. That singular action by this
distinguished Red Chamber saved our dear country from imminent political crisis
to the contentment and applause of majority of Nigerians. The concept of the
Doctrine of Necessity has enriched our political lexicon and rescued us from the
brink.

History will however not judge our performance on the face of how we
handled this lacuna alone but in other areas. But we have made history most of
which have been stated in your brilliant and emotion-laden farewell speeches.

In addition, the 6th Senate for the first time successfully amended the 1999
Constitution. Despite its very cumbersome processes, not only did we do it once
but thrice, with the confidence and support of the generality of our people.
Through common understanding and our commitment to the provision of the greatest
good to the greatest number of Nigerians, we have been able to accomplish what
hitherto was branded an impossible task. By this action, Nigerians now
appreciate that the Constitution can be tailored to meet their dreams and
aspirations through systematic review to make it responsive to the exigencies of
democratic global best practices.
I am indeed happy to have been part of the 6th Senate which also successfully
carried out the amendment of the Electoral Act (2010). This amendment provided
the water-shed for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections by the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) this year. I am particularly
delighted that the elections have satisfied the yearnings and aspirations of
majority of Nigerians, and widely commended by the international community.

I therefore wish to use this opportunity to once more, congratulate the
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of
Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, and his able Vice
President, Arch. Namadi Sambo, GCON, on their outstanding victory in the polls
and subsequent swearing in. I pray God to protect and give them the wisdom,
vision, courage and fortitude to take the country to greater heights. My
congratulation also goes out to all politicians who won their elections based on
the amended Electoral Act, 2010.

At the inauguration of this Senate, if you will recall, I underscored the fact
that no Legislature anywhere in the world would succeed if it does not maintain
a harmonious relationship with the other arms of Government, particularly, the
Executive. Similarly, there is no Executive anywhere in the world practicising
democratic governance without maintaining a cordial, respectful and
collaborative relationship with the Legislature. The Legislature is the bastion
of democracy.
In the same vein Distinguished colleagues, it is for these reasons that the 6th
Senate maintained a cordial relationship with the Executive which was based on
the tenets of interdependence and partnership. As partners, we never competed
but cooperated and synergized for good governance to grow the economy and
strengthen social order for the nation.
The result of the cooperation has been the proper and smooth passage of the
2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Budgets.

The 6th Senate conscientiously and dutifully carried out its oversight functions
to ensure the implementation of government policies and budgets.
The achievements of the 6th Senate as highlighted above, should serve as a big
challenge to the incoming 7th National Assembly and particularly, the 7th
Senate. I hope that the 7th Senate will do better in view of the experiences
garnered over the years and match the high expectations of the good people of
Nigeria.

Let me at this juncture, extend my sincere appreciation to my friend and
brother, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, other
Principal Officers, Committee Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, all distinguished
Senators, Clerk of National Assembly, Deputy Clerk of National Assembly, Clerk
Senate, Deputy Clerk Senate, Chamber Staff, Tea girls, Committee Clerks, the
Media, particularly the Chairman and members of the Senate Press Corps, Civil
Society Organizations, career and political staff of the National Assembly for
their personal and collective contributions to the success of the 6th Senate. It
is our collective honour; we all share in the success.
I wish you all success in your future endeavours. To you my bosses who will not
be returning to the Senate, I say a big thank you for your services to the
nation. Even as I hope that you will make yourselves available as resource
persons in further service to our fatherland.

May God bless us. May God bless our dear country Nigeria.
Once again, I thank you all.

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