OrderPaperToday – Although the tenure of the 8th Senate recently came to an end with some members returning and others gone into seeming political oblivion, we cannot but recall certain persons who played significant role in defining moments in the last four years of Nigeria’s upper chambers.
This category of senators portrayed certain characteristics- positive and negative -while contributing to discourse and activities of the red chamber.
Sen. Olusola Adeyeye was a ranking senator from Osun State who had previously served terms in the House of Representatives. Throughout his stint in the federal chambers, he stood out by speaking truth to the conscience of the legislature, especially the 8th Senate. He was always seen proffering words of wisdom to his colleagues whenever there was a heated debate.
On one occasion, he blamed the lack of true federal character of the 1999 constitution for the spate of violence and insecurity across the country and the lack of adequate provisions to instill virtues of peace among Nigerians.
At a point when his colleagues were constantly trying to exonerate themselves from the delayed passage of the budget, an accusation continually issued from the executive, Adeyeye on the flip side accused his colleagues of being the cause of the constant feud.
Equally, at the valedictory session of the 8th senate, while Senators prided themselves of one achievement or the other, the former chief whip highlighted the low points of the chamber.
He equally chided his counterparts over their derogatory remarks on the 2018 budget, urging them to eschew the path of partisanship. Sen. Adeyeye voluntarily declined to seek reelection after well over a decade of straddling the hallowed chambers of the federal legislature.
Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe is a fourth timer in the Senate who has now emerged in the 9th assembly as minority leader even though he was the de facto voice of the opposition in the 8th senate. He constantly chided the President Muhammadu Buhari presidency in a chamber predominantly occupied by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). His contributions were sometimes direct jibes at the President, leaving Buhari’s defenders scampering in defence.
On several occasions, he accused Buhari of being incompetent and ignorant and once threatened him with impeachment. He incessantly expressed displeasure at the ‘fictitious’ and ‘impoverished’ content of the executive’s annual budgets.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator is from Abia State where he had served as Deputy Governor.
This inimitable and perhaps most prominent feature of the 8th senate performed endless dramatic acts within and outside the federal chamber. Upon being called to make contributions during plenary proceedings, he usually commanded utter silence from his colleagues who await to be entertained by his theatrical comments and gesticulations.
Dino Melaye is from Kogi State and had previously served in the House of Representatives where he also courted controversies of fisticuffs. Initially elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Melaye joined others in defecting to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018 and was reelected into the current 9th assembly on same party.
From his several hit songs trending on social media to his harsh or subtle condemnation of the executive, Melaye is known for not selecting his battles. He jumps on almost all conversations damning whatever consequence some of which included series of court appearances, hospital visits, among others. He was in constant battle with his state governor, Yahaya Bello and was famous for flaunting exotic cars and belongings on social media.
Mrs. Abiodun Olujinmi is adjudged the iron lady because she is one female in the 8th Senate who could match up with her male counterparts on any debate. The Ekiti-born senator was however involved in a slap drama in 2018 that almost brought her into disrepute.
She was the only female Senator from the opposition PDP who confidently opposed the APC-led administration over issues of financial impropriety by NNPC, vote buying through social intervention programmes, among others.
Close to the end of the 8th Senate, she became the minority leader following the resignation of the previous occupier, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The hot blooded and strong willed Zamfara Senator is ready to fight anyone he considers an enemy. This was particularly evident with the former Governor of his state, AbdulAziz Yari over the latter’s inability or complicity in tackling indiscriminate killings in the state.
His point of orders and motions on the subject matter became burdensome forcing the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to ban further discussions on local politics in the chamber.
In addition to insecurity, Marafa and Yari remained at loggerheads within the same party which led to a supreme court judgment which upturned the 2019 elections victory of the APC faction led by Yari.
Ben Murray-Bruce is considered a personification of insincerity when the odds do not favour him. At the beginning of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2015, Bruce advised him to use made-in-Nigeria Peugeot as his official car and also reduce the number of cars in the presidential convoy. This remark got a negative backlash from the public who criticized the Senator for not lending similar advice to the previous President, Goodluck Jonathan, who was from his state and political party.
Bruce is perceived as a preacher who neglects his preaching. He was berated by Nigerians after hailing the emergence of Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, 92, and on the other hand criticized the 75-year old Nigerian President for being too old to run.
On another occasion, the “Buy Nigeria’ advocate advised the federal government to patronize local manufacturers and designers for the Nigerian jersey but published his book titled ‘A commonsense Revolution’ in Texas, USA and sent his son for studies at a university in the United Kingdom. The Bayelsa senator did not seek reelection in deference to a zoning arrangement in his constituency.
Up until July 2018, Senator Sani persistently condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the APC, the platform on which he was elected in 2018. He was in a perpetual brawl with the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir Elrufai equally from the same party.
In view of the nearness of primaries for his reelection, he soft-pedaled and refused to join federal lawmakers in the gale of defection from APC after reportedly being promised an automatic ticket.
Upon losing out to El-rufai’s candidate, Sani left for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) noting that the erstwhile party lacks honour, integrity and internal democracy and went ahead to continue his charade of criticisms. The Kaduna-born senator is popular on social media.
He only got into the chamber after winning a by-election in 2017 upon the death of his brother, Isiaka, the previous occupier of the Osun West senatorial seat. Adeleke gained the heart of Nigerians with his admirable dancing moves which however did not match up his performance in the chamber.
In all, Adeleke will continually maintain a record of a Senator of the federal republic of Nigeria who is the life of the party. He contested the governorship of Osun State under PDP and is contesting the outcome which did not favour him.