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Senate'll Resist Balkanisation of Nigeria

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....Vows to Restore Confidence in Governance

ABUJA, January 16, (THEWILL) - Fresh from holidays, the Senate, Wednesday, declared that it would resist any talk about the Balkanisation of Nigeria.

It also assured that it would restore confidence in the ability of the government to rise to the challenges elicited by public expectation.

In his welcome address to the Senators after a long Christmas and New Year holidays, Senate President, David Mark, warned that the Senate would not brook any act contempt against its authority, nor will it abnegate a responsibility so expressly conferred, particularly in the oversight and investigation of Ministries,Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Setting the agenda for the chamber, Mark said, “The task of the Senate in 2013 would be to work to restore confidence in the ability of the Government to rise to the challenges elicited by the public expectations. We will seek to bring succour to our nation, and re-energise our people’s faith in one indivisible nation, and in constitutional democracy.

" We will do this by pursuing a legislative agenda that not only promotes the common good, but is also responsive to the national mood and expectations.”

Some of these expectations, he added, can be met within the framework of existing laws, “provided that the legislative task of oversight is discharged with firmness, diligence, transparency, courage and commitment."

According to Mark," Those expectations requiring constitution amendment will definitely be accommodated and addressed in the on-going efforts to further amend the 1999 Constitution.”

However, the Senate President cautioned that the Senate will never countenance any talk about the Balkanisation of the country.

“What we should never countenance is any talk about the Balkanisation of our country. We have become a melting pot, moulded by a common history, a common destiny, and a common heritage. The result is that the fault lines, if any, have become blurred.

“It is gratifying to note that our people have continued to repose their faith in democracy. That faith can only be repaid through sustained good governance.

"This is why all of us, without exception, must resist the temptation to sacrifice governance on the altar of politics as the 2015 elections approach. Not to do so is to inordinately pander to the mere selfish craving for career advancement.

“I therefore call for even greater sacrifice, commitment and patriotism from all of us.

“We will continue to constructively collaborate with the Executive, within the context of the principle of separation of powers, to ensure that our nation emerges stronger and more dynamic.

" Such collaboration does not in any way diminishes the constitutional status of the National Assembly as the driving force of this democracy. It rather enriches it, for the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, are partners, all working towards good governance.

“Just before our last recess, we did observe certain incidents smacking of disrespect and contumacy towards the Senate, and particularly of its power to investigate some MDAs.

"For now, let me make this very clear: The power to launch investigations into agencies of government is expressly given to parliament by Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), as part of Parliament’s oversight functions.

"The Senate will not brook any act contempt against it, nor will it abnegate a responsibility so expressly conferred,” he said.