President Bola Tinubu-led administration is steering the country through troubled waters, the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said.
Akpabio spoke on Saturday at a retreat organised for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
He, however, promised the president and Vice President Kashim Shettima that the 10th National Assembly would collaborate with the executive arm of government to deliver on the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda, pledging that the “President will not walk alone.”
The Senate president said the 10th National Assembly would collaborate with them to take the ship of the nationa to “harbours of bliss and development.”
He said: “The Vice President of our dear country, Your Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima, thank you for honouring the leadership of the National Assembly with your presence in this retreat.
“We know that the executive arm is steering our country through turbulent waters. The mark of a great sailor is not how he fares in calm waters; it is in how he powers through the rough seas.
“If His Excellency, Senator Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and your good self must take the ship of state to harbours of bliss and development, then you must steer us out of the sheltered shore, through the rolling waves and stormy gales, and set the sails to weather every storm, safe in the knowledge that you are not alone.
“Tell Mr. President, that the leadership of the Tenth National Assembly (and by extension the entire National Assembly) says that he will never walk alone.”
Akpabio said the President Tinubu-led executive and the National Assembly have been destined to “give hope to our nation.”
He said: “My dear colleagues, when John the Baptist heard about the works of Jesus Christ, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?’
“It was not a religious question; it was a generational and rhetorical question. This question defines the hope and expectation of every nation, every people, and every group when change occurs.
“This is the question in the streets and highways of our dear country; ‘Is this the government that should come, or do we look for another?’
“The follow-up question is, ‘Is this the National Assembly that should come, or do we look for another?’
“We believe that this is the government that should come to change the fortunes of our country. We believe that this is the National Assembly that should come to change our destiny.
“We believe that this National Assembly has come to give hope to our nation. There is an Italian proverb that says that the right man comes at the right season.
“We must not only be worthy leaders but also dealers of hope for the entire membership of the National Assembly in particular and our nation in general.
He called on the leadership of the National Assembly to be united and of one purpose in proffering solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the country.
He added: “Check the history of the world and you will discover that the world has always been changed by a few thoughtful, patriotic, selfless, concerned citizens armed with faith and conviction.
“They led the charge, the masses followed. Friends and colleagues, we can lead the charge in our country.
“Let us be united in purpose. It does not matter which political party you used to get to the Red or Green Chamber, right now we are in the Nigerian boat.
“If we all put our hands on deck, the 10th Assembly shall surmount every challenge. It is in our hands to make this Assembly the last hope of the common man or the lost hope of the common man.
“The choice is ours. As leaders let us see every problem through the broad windscreen of national interest; not through the tiny side mirror of politics. Let us be the symphonic voices of reason; not the raucous echoes of tribal or religious sentiments.
“My friends and colleagues, let us not make the mistake of thinking that our problem is APC or PDP or LP or SDP or any other party.
“That is an error. We face a collective action problem because relevant groups and stakeholders in our country fail to connect, cooperate, and collaborate. But if we, the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, can properly understand and effectively use collective action processes in the official conduct of business, we would achieve positive outcomes for our country.
“As leaders of those who represent our people, it behooves us to set collective action templates for our nation’s developmental efforts and a collaborative legislative agenda for solving our nation’s challenges.
“A template that would eschew such issues in collective action problems like the tragedy of commons, senselessly exploiting common resources and depleting them; free riding, being inordinately concerned with consumption and not the production of our wealth; information asymmetry, hoarding information to have an imbalance of power; and opting for a sub-optimal equilibrium where we could go for agenda setting.”
He noted that the retreat seeks to identify priority business for the Tenth National Assembly and develop strategic objectives for the Legislative Agenda of the respective chambers.
He added: “I believe our priority, as leaders, should be people. We represent people whose pains we should alleviate; whose concerns we should address; whose hopes we should not betray.
“Therefore, listening to the people in order to feel the pulse of our nation should be a critical component of our legislative agenda. But no matter the problems we face, let us never forget that what is morally wrong cannot be politically right.
“We must remember that in every democracy, the legislators are the foot soldiers marching for the masses.
“We are also here to share experiences, bond with each other, and have candid exchanges on critical issues before the National Assembly.
“I urge us to be frank and open because a chain is as strong as its weakest link. More so, the candle does not lose anything by lighting another candle.”
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Okon Bassey in Uyo