Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called for better relations between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as between the National Assembly and the executive arm for the development of the country.
This came as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, hailed the amendment of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly but called for safeguards to ensure that only results that emanate from the card readers count.
Both leaders spoke in Port Harcourt at the weekend at the 60th birthday celebration of the senator representing Rivers East senatorial district at the National Assembly, Senator George Sekibo and the public presentation of six books written by the senator.
Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawal, said the acrimony between members of opposing parties and between the National Assembly and the executive was not in the interest of the country.
He said there was need for cooperation between the states and the federal government as well as between the executive and legislature at different levels of governance if the overall objective of the actors was the development of the country and its peoples.
His words: “There is need for cooperation, partnership and synergy between the states and the federal government irrespective of the political parties controlling the states. We are supposed to serve our people and we cannot do that in a situation of acrimony. We may be different in our political persuasion but we have one common goal: to make life better for our people.
“I also believe the executive and the legislature should work together. We may have our differences but we must be conscious of the impact on national cohesion and development.”
He described Sekibo as one of the best in the Red Chambers, stating, “He is one senator you will not like to speak before you in the chambers because of the thoroughness of his presentation.”
He also commended him for writing and presenting six books despite the challenges of being a legislator, stating that other leaders need to learn from Sekibo on how to pass on knowledge and experiences for posterity.
He lauded the National Assembly for amending the Electoral Act, but stressed that unless measures are taken to protect the electoral process, the electoral umpire may use the present situation to rig in favour of the ruling party.
He said: “The National Assembly should take the amendment of the Electoral Act a step further by ensuring that only votes that emanate from the card reader count.
“Other than that, the electoral umpire may manipulate the system to favour the ruling party. We know what they are capable of doing and this should be addressed.”
On the birthday celebration, Wike described Sekibo as a dependable politician who places the interest of the state above all other considerations.
He noted that Sekibo plays his politics with sincerity of purpose.
The governor said: ‘One important thing is that Sekibo is a reliable and dependable politician. He is a loyal party man who never gives conditions for the concessions he makes for the party”
In his remarks, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, said Sekibo is a repository of legislative knowledge.
Chairman of the occasion and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, noted that Sekibo is one of the serious minds in the Senate.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, described Sekibo as one of the voices that help guide debates in the Senate. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Mr. Jones Onyereri, also felicitated with Sekibo, especially for the books.
Responding, Senator George Sekibo assured Nigerians that he would continue to work for the development of the country.
He also assured Wike that the people of Rivers State would always support him for his commitment to the development of the state.
Highpoint of the birthday celebration, was the unveiling of the six books written by Sekibo and the cutting of the diamond anniversary cake.