The Senate President, Senator David Mark, has said no amount of blackmail can deter the National Assembly from carrying out its oversight functions of exposing corruption and poor administration in all areas of the nation’s life.
He said this Wednesday while formally welcoming his colleagues to the second legislative session of the seventh Senate.
In an apparent reference to the raging scandal in the lower chamber, which appears to have dimmed the public’s confidence in the integrity of the federal legislature, Mark told his colleagues that in the discharge of their oversight functions, they must not allow themselves to be cajoled into slumber or succumb to blackmail.
“We will do all we can to uphold transparency and integrity in governance,” the Senate President said, adding: “This Senate will continue to work to expose corruption and poor administration in all areas of our national life. This is our constitutional duty. We will do all we can to uphold transparency and integrity in governance.”
He therefore urged his colleagues to ensure that all pending investigations are speedily concluded without compromising thoroughness and detail, saying, “We will however continue to bring all requisite legislative pressure to bear on the right quarters to do the right things with our reports.”
On the increasing security challenges facing the nation, Mark assured Nigerians that good conscience, dialogue, understanding, tolerance and pragmatic security approaches are what the nation requires to come out of the malaise.
He said the Senate spent its first legislative day in the new session reviewing the current security situations in the country and assured that the lawmakers would continue the discussion at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, next week during their scheduled retreat.
“We must do everything humanly possible to restore peace and order immediately,” Mark said.
The Senate President also reminded his colleagues that constitution amendment remained one of the major tasks of the 7th Senate, saying: “This is because we believe that it holds the key to our many structural deformities such as insecurity, endemic corruption, poor governance, dysfunctional and comatose local government system.”
He urged Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Constitution Review Committee, which has already called for memoranda as well as the oncoming public hearings “to make inputs on how to make our constitution serve us better.”
He assured that the constitution review process would be participatory, transparent, inclusive, and in the same vein free and fair.
Mark disclosed that the National Assembly will work to strengthen the country’s electoral processes.
saying, “We did it before, we will do it again and even better because we have experience and precedence to our advantage”.
He said, “There is no doubt that the 6th National Assembly made its mark in electoral reforms which resulted in the locally and internationally acknowledged improvements in the 2011 general election, however, it is clear that more work needs to be done.
“We will work to ensure that the loopholes in our electoral laws and processes which unscrupulous Nigerians exploit to undermine the collective will of the electorate are plugged. The truth is that if we have to move forward as a country, we must get our processes of political recruitment right. This we are committed to doing”.