From Sa’adatu Maina, Damaturu
Being Speech by His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, on the Occasion of Reception Organised in Honour of Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly and Engr. Abubakar D. Ali, Hon. Minister of State for Works and Housing at the Banquet Hall, Government House Damaturu on Saturday 28th December 2019
Wa Sallallahu ala Nabiyul Karim
Your Excellency Distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan CON, President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly.
Your Excellency Hon. Idi Barde Gubana (Waziri of Fune), the Deputy Governor of the State
Your Excellency Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Gaidam, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education and the Chairman of today’s occasion
Your Excellency, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing Comrade Mustapha Salihu, the National Vice Chairman (North-East) of the APC.
Your Excellencies former governors and former military administrators Rt. Hon. Ahmed Lawan Mirwa, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Your Lordships, the Honourable Chief Judge, and Honourable Grand Khadi, Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.
Your Excellencies former Deputy Governors, the Chairman APC Yobe State and leaders of other political parties present, honourable members of the Yobe State House of Assembly.
Honorable Commissioners and Members of the State Executive Council, Special Advisers, Heads of Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement, Senior Government Officials.
Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Mais, Distinguished Invited Guests, extremely Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
As-Salamu-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
I am delighted to welcome all our guests and dignitaries to Damaturu today as we celebrate and honour His Excellency the Senate President and the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing.
While this is a celebration of these two gentlemen for what they are doing to make our country better and make all of us proud, it is also a celebration of our democracy itself.
Relative to many other democracies around the world, our democracy here in Nigeria is young. It is consolidating only since the last two decades. But because of the determination and hard work of politicians and leaders like Senator Ahmed Lawan, our democracy – and many of its institutions – have continued to make remarkable progress.
Of course, this is not to suggest that there were no rough edges that have put a lot of stress on our democratic system of governance over the last 20 years. Over the last four years, between 2015 and 2019 for example, the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of the government was anything but excellent. We all know that.
But that uneasy relationship – between the presidency and the senate – was what propelled many in the National Assembly and across party line to seek for a different and new approach after the 2019 general elections. It was what produced the forces and consensus that led to the emergence of a new national assembly leadership, under the Distinguished Senate President Ahmed Lawan, that believes in the significance of a cordial working relationship with the executive as the quickest and surest means of achieving national development.
Today, thanks to his robust leadership and the support of his 108 senate colleagues, the Senate President has restored that vital trust between the legislative and executive branches of the government. For the first time in a very long time, Senator Ahmed Lawan has also restored the January-December budget circle as provided for in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), giving the government the opportunity to more ably deliver on its mandate.
Within six months of becoming the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan has also recorded a slew of other accomplishments, justifying once more the need for a cordial, amicable working relationship between the legislature and the executive.
These include, but are not limited to, the speedy passage of the 2020 finance and appropriation bills, and the passage of the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Policy Paper.
Some of you here may recall that when President Muhammadu Buhari sent the list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate, the Senate President got his senator colleagues to cut short their recess in order to screen the nominees. It is a testament to his leadership that all the ministerial nominees were considered and passed in record time by the Senate.
There is something equally significant, if not more significant about the Senate President, that needed to be told. It is about his character and his vision for the country that he loves.
His entire life is a story of hard work, service and the quest for consensus and compromise. As a university lecturer, he was an inspiration to his students, and many of his former students are getting to the peaks of their careers today because of his mentorship and guidance.
As a scholar and a legislator for over 20 years, Senator Ahmed Lawan understands the need for congruence and harmony between theory and practice, between idealism and realism.
He knows that part of the responsibility of the Senate as a co-equal branch of the government is to tamper the legitimate, unceasing demands of the people with the limits of what the government can and should do. That means that the Senate must always be a bridge for our democracy to thrive and our people to prosper.
This is a task to which the Senate President has set himself with remarkable success. In doing so, he constantly works with his colleagues in the APC and across party lines to ensure that the Senate speaks with one voice and that its main focus remains to legislate for good governance and the security and wellbeing of the people of the country.
We also celebrate the Senate President today because he is from Yobe State. It is an honour that the number three citizen of the country is from our state. We are grateful to all the senators and to Nigerians for making this possible. We are also grateful to the people of Yobe Zone C. It is their support and their votes that made this possible, and this made Yobe State an integral part of the nation’s leadership. For all this, we are so thoroughly grateful.
His Excellency our immediate past deputy governor and now Minister for State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar D. Ali, like the Senate President, is also a colossus of service to the people.
From his years as a civil servant to over ten years as a deputy governor, Engr. Abubakar D. Ali has demonstrated what service and respect and loyalty means. In these exemplary, praiseworthy values, he found his compass. And his life story will forever be shaped by them.
We celebrate Engr. Abubakar D. Ali for what he has achieved so far and for all the things that he will continue to do on behalf of the peace and progress of our nation.
We celebrate him for the example he sets and the inspiration he provides to so many young people who are mirroring and projecting themselves in him and imagining themselves soaring to higher places if they commit to the values that define his life – loyalty, patience, and service to the people.
Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and ladies, there is no doubt that Yobe State and indeed Nigeria are a lot better today as a result of the services that the Senate President and the Minister of State for Works and Housing provided.
On behalf of the People and Government of Yobe State, I wish them success in their respective assignments. I have no doubt that they will continue to do our state and our country proud. I also have no doubt that they will use their influence to continue to support our effort to develop our state and help our youths to achieve their dreams.
As I end my remarks, let me also use this opportunity to call on Yobe people in every part of the country and in every part of the world to come and invest here in the state. We need Yobeans to set up new factories and farms that could recruit and engage our youths, we need new investments in education and agriculture and healthcare. As you know, these are things that the government alone cannot do. The task of moving our state forward must be a collective one.
In conclusion, I have the pleasure to present to each of our honourees today a Sword of Honour, a symbol that as warriors from Yobe State, they will continue to fight towards improving the lives of the people of this country.
I wish all our distinguished visitors and guests journey mercies back to their respective destinations.
Thank you so much.