THE Senate, on Thursday, marked the first anniversary of its inauguration with lawmakers expressing worries over the state of the economy.
Speaking at the anniversary session, the lawmakers said concrete steps must be taken to save the economy in the next one year, adding that anything to the contrary could spell doom for the nation.
Senate chief whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, drew the attention of his colleagues to series of problems bedeviling the nation, in addition to what he called the challenge of imminent economic recession.
“No matter the political party we belong to, the country is in a turmoil. The economy is in a bad shape. Insecurity is very high. Unemployment is unimaginable. The next one year must not be like the last one year. We must make a difference.
“Some things have not gone on rightly in the last one year. If we say we have no sin, we lie and the truth is not in us. We need to tell ourselves the truth. We need to put our pasts behind us and work together,” he said.
The Senate minority leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, in his contribution, warned that if something urgent was not done, Nigeria could be plunged into crisis.
“The South-South people have abandoned their homes because of activities of Niger Delta Avengers. The North is in turmoil. The South-East is boiling because of agitation. The South-West is the only peaceful area, but they still send mercenaries to other areas to fight.
“I want to urge the All Progressives Congress (APC) to market this country very well. With the way the APC is saying that the country is full of criminals, investors will not come here to invest. They must change the way they talk about Nigeria. Things need to change.”
The senator representing Bayelsa East, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, said in his contribution that national budgets over the years had been made to give undue priority to recurrent expenditure, adding that the budget must be structured in such a manner that pays at least 50 per cent attention to capital projects.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in his remarks, celebrated the unity in the Senate,which he said was lacking on the day of inauguration.
“I am proud of our accomplishment as a Senate. On June 9, 2016, as I look back now, there are a number of our colleagues who were not here, but today everybody is here. We were divided along the lines, but today we are united as one indivisible Senate, working for the progress of our nation.
“To our detractors, let me just say that there is God. It is God that gives power and He gives to whoever He wants. It does not make any sense people wasting their time and energy plotting the downfall of other people. That means you are challenging God who has given power to those persons,” he said.
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in his anniversary speech noted the landmarks the Senate had made in one year.
He also lamented the state of the economy, adding that the Senate had devoted energy towards policies aimed at reviving the economy.
“The collapse in oil price has, without doubt, brought huge shock to our economy on a scale that perhaps, has never been experienced before. This requires us to develop creative strategies that would stimulate business and investments into other sectors,” he said.
Saraki commended the government on the progress made in the fight against Boko Haram and in the fight against corruption, but added that the fight against mass poverty remained a daunting challenge.
Saraki listed some of the measures adopted by the Senate to address the teething economic problems through legislative interventions, which included “commissioning of an expert report which identified 54 extant laws that must be reviewed and brought in line with international best practices in order to open up our economy up for private investments and business.”