I’m not Grooming My Son for Kwara – Saraki

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What we need to do is educate, enlighten and engage those that have reservations to let them know that this country will be better for it,.

I have given many examples. Even America that we copied, a lot of you must have been following in the last few months the health care bill in America.

They attempted seven times and that is just a health bill. They go, they fail, they come back. They adjust, they go, they come back. They don’t say because they fail they start abusing everybody that did not agree.

We need to understand because if we want this bill to pass, it is the same people that would have to make it pass. So we cannot blackmail or bully them. We must convince them and get them to buy into it.

So I am hopeful. We will try and look at it again after the break and hopefully by then those who are sceptical or who have their concerns would have been convinced.

During the review, the issue of citizenship, whether a woman should claim her parents or husband’s place for elective positions and also the issue of affirmative action came up. Is the National Assembly anti-women?

The National Assembly is not anti-women. I think we achieved something during the constitutional review. It is a pity that it has not been well reported and that is, we negotiated in the Senate. We are not against affirmative actions and other issues regarding gender, but a lot of lawmakers were against some of these to be in the constitution.

Even in most countries it is not in the constitution. Even the countries we copied, gender affirmation is not in the constitution. So we agreed that we vote against it in the constitution with the commitment that when the gender bill comes it will go and we had that gentleman’s agreement and to me that is a great achievement.

If the gender bill passes with the gender affirmation, we would have done our beat and that is what we will be pushing for after our vacation.

I have given many examples. Even America that we copied, a lot of you must have been following in the last few months the health care bill in America.

They attempted seven times and that is just a health bill. They go, they fail, they come back. They adjust, they go, they come back. They don’t say because they fail they start abusing everybody that did not agree.

We need to understand because if we want this bill to pass, it is the same people that would have to make it pass. So we cannot blackmail or bully them. We must convince them and get them to buy into it.

So I am hopeful. We will try and look at it again after the break and hopefully by then those who are sceptical or who have their concerns would have been convinced.

 

During the review, the issue of citizenship, whether a woman should claim her parents or husband’s place for elective positions and also the issue of affirmative action came up. Is the National Assembly anti-women?

The National Assembly is not anti-women. I think we achieved something during the constitutional review. It is a pity that it has not been well reported and that is, we negotiated in the Senate. We are not against affirmative actions and other issues regarding gender, but a lot of lawmakers were against some of these to be in the constitution.
Even in most countries it is not in the constitution. Even the countries we copied, gender affirmation is not in the constitution. So we agreed that we vote against it in the constitution with the commitment that when the gender bill comes it will go and we had that gentleman’s agreement and to me that is a great achievement.

If the gender bill passes with the gender affirmation, we would have done our best and that is what we will be pushing for after our vacation.

Some Nigerians have accused National Assembly, especially the Senate of being opposed to the war against corruption hence the rejection of the appointment of EFCC Chair and the fact that many of you are former governors who have cases to answer.

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding. I think there is a lot of blackmail and all is not in the interest of democracy. Let us take it one by one. Rejection of the candidate for the position of a chairman of EFCC is a process. It is a process that is not restricted to the EFCC chairman. It is a process that has to with either a chairman or the Governor of Central Bank, Director General of Lottery Commission, Electricity Regulatory Commission. It is the same process and we have approved many people from the executive and we have rejected some and when we reject them, it is not for any personal reason because it is a process.

In the case of the EFCC it is unfortunate. Those that follow how National Assembly works; if the National Assembly has an interest on any candidate, the candidate will not bescreened on a Wednesday. Magu’s screening was on a Wednesday where we carry plenary live. That is to show you how transparent the Senate was. We screened him on a Wednesday so that all Nigerians can watch it and let him go and sell himself.

That shows that there was no pre-meditated plan to reject him. Unfortunately we downplayed some things. This is about institution. If the top, most serious intelligence organization not even EFCC in this case, let’s say you are screening the Governor of Central Bank and EFCC reports that the man lacks integrity and is not honest, will you just discard that. Even if you do, years later you are weakening that institution.

We should stop talking about personalities. We should be focusing on how to strengthen our democratic institutions. It is not about individuals. But because some people have particular interest they will try and bring this down to individuals. There is nothing personal on the personality of the Acting Chairman of EFCC.


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