Sunday, 10th December 2023

Work for stability of Nigeria not your pockets, Shettima urges Senators-elect 

By John Akubo, Abuja
11 June 2023   |   1:35 am
Vice President Kashim Shettima has admonished the incoming members of 10th National Assembly to work for the stability of the country instead of lining their pockets.

Vice President Kashim Shettima (left); First Lady, Remi Tinubu and Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege at the valedictory session of the Ninth Assembly in Abuja…yesterday.

• God Used Me To Do Exploits For Nigeria — Oluremi Tinubu
• I’m Not A Thief, Kalu Declares In Tears

Vice President Kashim Shettima has admonished the incoming members of 10th National Assembly to work for the stability of the country instead of lining their pockets.

Shettima, who represented Borno Central, spoke yesterday during the valedictory session of the 9th Senate.
“To my incoming colleagues, I will leave you with a paradox. The stability of this nation is superior to the stability of our pockets. On Tuesday, let us vote wisely. Let us vote for the Nigerian nation.
“To my fellow colleagues who will depart from this chamber, I address you not as colleagues left behind but as experienced lawmakers who have become an integral part of my history. 
“We have shared many things in common, and standing shoulder to shoulder in times of adversity, we have fought relentlessly for the betterment of our dear country,” he said.  
The First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, in her speech, said she owes all her successes to God and her husband, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has been giving her useful advice.  
Her words: “God sustained me for three terms, from 7th Assembly to 9th Assembly. I am still confused how I have been able to continue the journey, because serving the nation takes a lot of sacrifice.
“It starts with sacrifice from your homes, your children, even your better half. It is also a great privilege for all of us that are here because over the years, we have made friends, brothers, sisters across our various tribes, ethnicity and religious divide.
“We have the entire Nigerians being represented and we were able to forge ahead and come together when we needed to make very good decisions in the overall interest of the nation. We did that as elder statesmen and women.
“My thanks will go to my husband for even giving me support. He gives me advice when I seek for it. He gave me the freedom to be myself and to be able to make contributions necessary to improve the lives of our people especially our women, youths and children.
“God used me to do exploits in this hallowed chamber. I did all that is required of every legislator – motions, bills including those that have been assented to.”
On his part, senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu, who is the Chief Whip of the Senate, betrayed his emotion as he tearfully told his colleagues that he is not a thief as his incarceration had portrayed.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the former Abia governor and Ude Jones Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Accountant in the state, on 36 counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N7.1 billion. On December 5, 2019, the court sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment while Udeogu got a 10-year sentence.  
However, the Supreme Court later nullified the process of their trial and conviction, and ordered a retrial, but no fresh charges have been preferred against them.
 Kalu told his colleagues that he was already wealthy before he ventured into politics, adding that he played a major role financially in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Before I came into politics, I could buy anything money can buy. I’m not a thief,” he declared. The former governor added: “Those that put me in prison know the reason. They took over my businesses and wanted to kill me yet I survived it and I’m in the Senate with you.
“I have never lacked. While I was in the PDP where I served for two terms as governor, I brought the money that they used in forming that party, every penny, in 1997 and 1998, and I later became a thief.
“People I gave transport money from my house in V.I. became agents. This is what Nigeria represents. Thank you for giving me these four years of uninterrupted support. This country is not fair.”
The valedictory session started with the issuance of Certificate of Legislative Service to the 109 senators to mark the end of the 9th Senate preparatory for the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly next Tuesday.

Earlier, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the session, announced the order in which senators would be invited to receive their certificates.
Following the order, the Clerk of the Senate first issued the certificate to Lawan and his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege. After that, Lawan himself issued the certificates to other senators starting with Vice President Shettima, followed by the First Lady Tinubu, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Senator Ibrahim Hadejia, Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani and Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Dr. Akon Eyakenyi.