Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
For the first time in the 15-month life of the Eighth Senate, All Progressives Congress (APC) senators held a successful unity caucus meeting in which members forgot their differences and discussed issues affecting Nigeria, the federal legislature and the fortune of their party.
The meeting which lasted for two hours was held at the private residence of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and was attended by 50 senators from the two hitherto existing groups in the party.
The meeting was held Monday night preparatory to the resumption of the Red Chamber of the federal legislature on Tuesday and took place about the same time the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators also had their own caucus meeting at another venue under the leadership of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
What surprised many was the convivial atmosphere as Senators discussed freely and after the meeting exchanged jokes and engaged in banters and back-slapping.
During the meeting, the APC senators discussed the proposed debate on the economic recession which will be spear-headed by the Senate President during the Tuesday plenary and agreed that members should take leadership in the efforts to find solution to the economic crisis.
They praised the efforts of the Senate president in promoting unity among members and his decision to facilitate debates towards finding tangible solutions to the economic recession in the country.
The Senators also noted that by the end of next year, election issues will be very dominant in the polity and that there was need for the Senate to fast-track debates and passage of key bills before the time when partisan engagements will divert the attention of Senators.
They agreed that they should persuade their colleagues to always endeavour to be prompt at plenary so that sitting would always commence early and that the Senate should engage with the executive on the implementation of constituency projects as a way of spreading federal presence to the nooks and crannies of the country.
Other issues discussed at the meeting include image and public perception of the National Assembly, need to hold the caucus meeting regularly and the need to be methodical in the work of the Senate.
They resolve to fast-track the passage of bills, motions, public hearings, oversight, committee work and other legislative activities so as to ensure the Senate achieve more before its tenure will expire.
The meeting may have created a new chapter in the relationship between APC Senators. The ruling party has a majority of 60 Senators in the 109-member chamber.