A frontline contender for the Senate Presidency, Bukola Saraki, has unveiled his agenda for the 8th Senate.
In an interview with reporters in Abuja, Saraki said if his colleagues gave him the opportunity to serve them as President, he would ensure openness, transparency and accountability in running the affairs of the Senate.
He also said the public will be better enlightened about the functions of the legislature, especially as it affects making laws that would impact positively on their lives.
According to him, the Senate under his leadership will take responsibility for ensuring good governance.
Saraki said his confidence has been further boosted by the quality of men and women who will be part of the 8th Senate.
This, he said, would make the task lighter because he and his colleagues would be on the same page in the area of probity and accountability.
He said, “One of the things I have observed in our engagement with many Nigerians out there, they wonder, ‘what do they do there? What happens in the National Assembly?’
“There’s no connection between the National Assembly and the Nigerian people. I hope that the Eighth Chamber, under our leadership, would begin to bring a closer relationship, a better connection between the Senate and the Nigerian people.
“Some of the laws that we would pass are laws that would have direct impact on the lives of our people. Secondly, in the areas of representation, we must improve in being able to connect, and interact with the people we represent.
“I also think there are some bills that are priority bills. In doing that, I think, one, in the area of delivery of Justice; I think it’s a key area. All the things we talk about, whether its security, rule of law, anti-corruption and even on the commercial side, we need to look at that.
“We need to look at electoral reform because that would strengthen our democracy. These are bills I believe are key. We need to priorities these bills.”
Saraki said, “Some of our responsibilities in the area of oversight, we really need to improve on that. No matter and whatever we say, some of the issues that we have seen, on things that have happened over the last few years, we cannot but take responsibility, that there’s poor oversight, and that’s an area we must improve upon.”
Saraki also promised to improve the Senate’s capacity to deliver on its mandate by ensuring that capacity building is given its pride of place in the National Assembly.
The former Kwara State governor, who is currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, also argued that the nation’s budgetary system needed to be revisited.
According to him, there is need to do more to ensure that the greater percentage of Nigerian benefit from our democratic process through an improved budgetary system which will take into account areas of leakages as well as waste, with a view to plugging them.
He also observed that there is the need for greater interaction between the Legislature and Civil Society because there is a lot of human resource which will be mutually beneficial that were yet to be fully tapped into for the benefit of Nigerians.
He appealed to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress to allow lawmakers elect their own leaders, a move he said would ensure stability in the Legislature.