OrderPaperToday – Of the 14 lawmakers who made our list of bench warmers in the Senate in 2017, 8 have made slightly remarkable engagements in the past one year.
Before now, most of them barely had bills to their names, were hardly committed to committee duties, and never raised point of orders or motions.
Now, some have bills and motions against their names or vehemently lent their voices to proceedings at the red chamber.
In the category of those who have made quite some progress are:
Jonah Jang (PDP, Plateau)- Despite his age inhibitions, Sen. Jonah Jang sponsored a motion requesting the committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND to investigate the delayed issuance of certificate to graduates of College of Education, Pankshin, Plateau state, which hitherto prevented them from proceeding for the National Youth Service (NYSC) programme.
Jang also raised a motion on the demise of Senator John Nazip Shagaya on the 14th of February. It was his point of order on the Killings in Plateau state in the mid-year that forced the red chamber to introduce a bill seeking to create state police.
Outside the legislative chamber, he was extremely vocal in his move to run for the presidential seat but unfortunately lost out in his party’s primaries.
George Akume (APC, Benue) – Finally, the Benue North-West Senator gets to speak after a long silence since 2015, without any contribution in plenary or as the head of the committee on Army. He spoke on Benue killings even if his input was without head or tail.
He also lent his voice by condemning the report submitted by the joint committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence on the killings in Benue state.
He was however accused of dereliction of duties by his Vice, Abdullahi Danbaba who lamented that the Committee on Army has not done any substantial work since its constitution in 2015.
We might be seeing him in 2019 as he won his party’s ticket to recontest for the seat. Hopefully, he makes a change in the next legislative assembly should his constituents be gracious enough to reward docility and mediocrity.
Senator Jeremiah Useni (PDP, Plateau) – Senator Useni has moved from seconding motions to moving his. He raised a motion on the need to establish more rehabilitation centers across the country owing to rampant drug addiction.
Fondly called ‘Jerry boy,’ this senator also sponsored a bill to establish Federal Polytechnic Langtang, Plateau state, to provide full time courses in technology, applied science management and other fields of studies and to make provisions for the general administration of polytechnics on the 20th of February this year.
He equally submitted a petition on behalf of a member of his constituency against Nigerian Export, Import Bank.
He probably made these moves being his last time in the federal chambers as he emerged governorship candidate in his state under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC, Imo) – Uwajumogu made quite a tremendous input this year. He has risen beyond being an individual who presented three petitions on behalf of his constituents to moving a motion regarding child labour and molestation.
Another motion was on the alarming welfare of disabled persons across the country which led to the invitation of the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan.
He also spoke with this newspaper in an interview on constituency projects, jumbo salaries, the political fight with his governor, alongside other issues.
He was also part of the 10 senators who vehemently kicked against the reordered sequence of election which they felt was targeted against President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa)- What we might consider a slight improvement from Senator Mohammed was a motion on the 14th of February querying the Federal Government for reducing the tariff on Milk as against the last time he moved a motion on the 30th of May 2017.
He equally made appearance in plenary when he presented a report of the committee on Trade and Investment on Oil and Gas Export Free Zone act on the 25th of January.
Sen. Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna)- Senator La’ah kicked off this year by seconding the motion to present a report by the committee on Judiciary, Human rights and legal matters on the confirmation of Hon. Hadi Ibrahim Rufai Imam for appointment as the Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, FCT, Abuja.
He sponsored a bill to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Technology Manchok, Kaduna state and another bill to repeal the Explosive Act ad Re-enact it to make provision to regulate the manufacture, possession, use, sale, transportation, export and import explosives.
He was part of the co-sponsors of Senator Useni’s motion on the urgent need to establish more rehabilitation centers across the country.
He openly expressed opposition against his Governor, Nasir El-Rufai when contributing to the report that rejected a World Bank loan of $350 million for his state.
He accused his Governor of sponsoring over the killings in his state, a point of order he passionately delivered on the 24th of October.
Probably as a result of his improved participation in plenary, he was made the Chairman of the Committee on Poverty Alleviation.
Sen. Atai Aidoko (APC, Kogi) – After recovering from the lingering legal battles on his seat, Senator Aidoko became more involved in matters of the red chamber.
On the 1st of February, he lent his full support to a motion regarding the need to support the center for research, control and treatment of Lassa fever disease in Nigeria and another motion in respect to the International Women’s Day where he described himself as “half woman” and preached against the marginalization of women.
His contribution led the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki to direct the Ministry of Finance to rescind a circular issued to Ministries, Departments and Agencies that 2017 budget funds would be “mopped up” by 31st of March this year.
He faulted the report of the committee on scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for not adequately capturing the issue of subsidy and the deregulation.
He equally raised a point of order on the death of 32 people killed in Dekina and Omala local governments of Kogi states by Fulani herdsmen during the year.
He proposed increment to the budgetary allocations for constituency projects and gave a break down to his colleagues on how to organise a protest with N10 million.
Sen. David Mark (PDP, Benue) – The only input he made during plenary is on the abysmal quality of education given in the country.
A notable move from him was his declaration to run for the presidential seat and his many press statements on issues of Benue or PDP interests. Here is a report by this newspaper on the track record of his achievement in the 8th assembly.
While we laud the improvements seen in some Senators, there are others who have persistently disregarded legislative duties. These are the perpetual absentees and bench warmers with neither bills nor motions to their names for three or so years running.
The Senators in this category include: Buruji Kashamu (PDP, Ogun):
Ahmed Yerima (APC, Zamfara):
Rilwan Akanbi (APC, Oyo):
Nelson Effiong (APC, Akwa-Ibom):
Yele Omogunwa (APC, Ondo):