Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 20, the 10th Senate will mark its first 100 days having been inaugurated on June 13, this year.
The inauguration of the parliament followed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s proclamation, via a letter to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal, in line with Section 64(3) of the 1999 Constitution.
The first duty of the senators was the election of the presiding officers – the President of the Senate and the Deputy Senate President. After a keen contest, Senator Godswill Akpabio, from Akwa Ibom State, emerged as the President of the Senate, defeating Senator Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State.
Apparently, because of his rare personality traits, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, a fourth timer at the National Assembly (three times in the Senate – 2015 to date and once in the House of Representatives – 1999 -2003) emerged as the Deputy President of the Senate unopposed as all his colleagues threw their weight behind him.
Three weeks after the emergence of the two presiding officers, eight principal officers were named, thus the leadership of the 10th Senate was duly constituted. With the constitution of the leadership, the lawmakers got the parliamentary work started as urged by the President of the Senate, Senator Akpabio, in his speech on July 4, 2023, titled, “Let’s get the work started.”
On July 6, Senator Barau, for the first time, presided over the plenary session. During the session, five motions were moved including the one on Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
After the July 6 session, which attracted applause from across the Red Chamber and beyond, Senator Barau had presided over the plenary on other occasions in the absence of the President of the Senate in the last 100 days.
Among the critical motions sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate during the period under review was the one on the poor state of road infrastructure and the menace of gully erosion in the country. Also to his credit was a motion on the emergence of President Tinubu as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Four bills of the Deputy President of the Senate, including the one on the creation of a development commission, have been introduced at the Red Chamber.
Recognizing the heterogeneous nature of the country, the Deputy Senate President selected his seven key appointees from across the country – four were drawn from Kano State – two from the southern part of the country – Oyo and Imo states, and one from Kwara State – North Central geopolitical zone.
The appointees who hail from Kano State include: the Chief of Staff, Professor Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi; the Special Adviser (Policy & Monitoring), Professor Bashir Muhammad Fagge; the Special Adviser (Political), Yusuf Aliyu Tumfafi and the Special Assistant (Media & Publicity), Shitu Madaki Kunchi.
The Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), Ismail Mudashir, hails from Kwara State; the Special Adviser (Special Duties), Idris Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State; and the Special Adviser (Administration), Mrs. Ngozi Ndawi Nkemdirim, from Imo State.
Commendations have followed what has been described by lawmakers, media practitioners, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders in the country as balanced appointments.
For Senator Barau, his representation has been constituents and pro-masses driven. Hence the unfettered access he grants to people from Kano North, Kano State, and beyond comprising the old, young, rich, and poor; APC members and members of other parties.
For instance, in August, he instituted a scholarship programme through which hundreds of tertiary institution students from Kano North Senatorial District were given N50, 000 each. The programme was flagged off at Bayero University Kano (BUK).
Before the scholarship scheme, the Deputy President of the Senate had paid WAEC and NECO fees for hundreds of secondary school students.
To boost agriculture in Kano State, Senator Barau also distributed fertiliser to farmers across the 44 local government areas. According to beneficiaries, this initiative would enhance their output and contribute towards attaining food security in the state and country.
On September 6, the people of Rimindako community in Bagwai LGA of Kano State, through a human rights activist, Barrister Muhammad Zubair, lauded the Deputy President of the Senate over the construction of Yasanya Bridge and access road in their community.
On the invitation of the Zeberced Group, the Deputy President of the Senate was also at the Abuja Industrial Park located in the Idu Industrial District on September 4. Sitting on 245 hectares of land, the park will house 200 factories, a helipad, a train station, a lorry park, a bank, a recycling station and a power plant, among others when completed.
The park is an initiative of the Zeberced Group, jointly founded by Adil Aydin Kurt and Cemal Kurt from Turkey. The company’s Managing Director, Aidl Aydin Kurt, conducted Senator Barau round the project. Kurt told his visitor that the project when completed would provide 40,000 direct jobs to Nigerians.
Moved by the 40,000 jobs to be created, Senator Barau said the parliament would provide the necessary legislative support to the company, saying the project was in line with the commitment of the federal government to address unemployment, boost and diversify the country’s economy.
Even with the annual recess embarked upon by the parliament on August 7, the office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been active, five days a week (Mondays – Fridays), with Senator Barau performing official engagements. During the period, he met with ministers, heads of agencies, civil society/pressure groups including promoters of the proposed Tiga and Gari States, clerics, and party leaders, among others.
During their visit, stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano North Senatorial District, led by Hon. Sani Mukaddas, hailed Senator Barau, describing him as an exceptional lawmaker and leader.
In the same vein, a forum of former zonal women leaders of the APC has thumped up Senator Barau, saying he is not discriminatory in his dealings with all.
“Continue to support us; we won’t disappoint you, Insha Allah,’’ were the words of the Deputy President of the Senate to those who visited him. He also assured them of the commitment of the parliament to support the executive with the necessary legislation to address the challenges facing the nation.
Ismail Mudashir is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Deputy President of the Senate