Dear Distinguished Senators,
Kindly accept my words of congratulations as you celebrate the first 365 days in office, following the inauguration of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Today, I celebrate with you as you celebrate the power of our democracy. This celebration is an eloquent testimony to the potency of our rule of law and amidst the prevailing crisis across our regions, I celebrate with you the strength of our unity as a nation. Please accept my congratulations.
Part of many lessons I have learnt from the 8th Assembly is that people can truly disagree without being disagreeable, that it is possible to compromise and still know certain principles that can never be compromised; and that as we listen to one another, we can assume the best in people, instead of the worst.
I understand and agree that we are in the midst of Crisis as a nation. I understand that our nation is at war against a network of violence and revenge. I understand how that might have weakened our economy, a consequence of our collective failure, as citizens, in the preparation of our nation for a new age. I do also understand how a considerable percentage of Nigerians have become homeless, jobless but certainly not hopeless. Things may be falling apart, but the center holds still. This is where our hopes as a nation rest. The strength of your unity as lawmakers is the strength of our nationhood. As legislators, I know you have not come this far to prove your strength just as politicians, nor to demonstrate your strength in struggling power with an individual, but because of your understanding of the enormity of the tasks ahead of us as nation. The understanding of where we were, where we are and where we hope to be in a nearest future – your understanding that despite your differences in political affiliations, regional dichotomy and religious background, you have collective responsibilities to the better days you promised Nigerians.
Distinguished Senators, I am not unaware that we are in a serious economic mess. The price of our oil projects against a drastic reduction in our productions and my country weeps of economic sabotage and a complicated environmental degradation. Let me reiterate that the unfortunate development in the Niger Delta region has tendencies of opening windows to external aggression in a competitive market environment we are now. I advocate a more diplomatic approach towards solving the Niger Delta militancy problems.
In this digital age, our economic needs a projection to compete at the global stages. It is a painful realization that we remain the architect of our misfortunes. Let the 8th NASS be the generation that reshapes the future of our economy to a sustainable standard. Give us an education system that value-driven, competence-based and self-reliance. Give us a platform where ‘Aba’ products are re-branded to meet up with he global demands and expectations and are proudly referred to as ‘Nigeria made’. The home-based products have potentials to strengthen our economy as. Nation. That is part of your promises, your commitment and you efforts, don’t let it be frustrated by circumstances.
Distinguished Senators, within this 365 days, you have proven to the whole world that the strength of our unity is embedded in our abilities to open our minds and understand our differences, rather than forgetting them. If in the spirit of collective aspirations, the 8th Assembly can be this united, I keep a living hope that the problems of Boko Haram in the Northeast, the Niger Delta Avengers in the South south, the Biafran struggle in the Southeast and the Herdsmen attacks across the country would soon be things of the past. So, I believe!
I believe that today, against our aspirations, the unity of our nation is under threats and Nigerian masses from the South, West, East and the North yearn for peace. It becomes pertinent to design a pivot on which our peaceful coexistence can rest. That is equity, fairness and justice. I have seen this as a prerogative of the 8th NASS. Please let this hope be kept alive. Your resolution to have peace at the National Assembly is not out of desires for personal gains, I agree you have passed through times of uproar and disagreement, all your engagements to achieve the unity is what stand you out as ‘Men of Honor’. You earned peace and unity today because you respect equity and fairness, because you respect individualism and collectivism. You believe and uphold the principles that all ”animals” are equal and that no group of ”animals” are equal than the others. I salute this leadership prowess and sacrifices.
Distinguished Senators, this letter is a call to a reaffirmation of the core values of the 8th Assembly. A call to reestablish how you need to continue in measuring up to the legacies of the 7th Assembly as a promise to the future of our nation.
This is the time to uphold tour resistance to the temptations of falling back on partisanship and pettiness that have, for decades now, poisoned our politics and political ideologies. The time to keep to the values you all share as lawmakers – the values of self-reliance, individual liberty and national unity. The value that an Ibo man is equal in rights to an Hausa man; and that a Yoruba man is not superior to an Ijaw or Fulani man, a value that advocates personal freedom to self-determination.
I congratulate Dr. Abubakar Bulola Saraki, the President of the Senate, the Senate President and the Chairman of the 8th National Assembly.
God bless Nigeria.
God bless PMB.
God bless the 8th NASS.
OLAYINKA S. IBRAHIM.
The Director of Projects and Empowerment. Constituency Office of the Senate President, Ilorin.