November 5, 2017.
OPINION: An Overview of the 7th Annual Senate Council Orientation Program
Osuji Chima Francis
Legislation is such a technical field of human endeavour. It entails adequate knowledge of the rules governing debate, and the capacity to apply these rules to the legislative process. Attributes such as courage, eloquence, civil behaviour, intelligence, discipline et cetera, are the markers of a vibrant legislator.
Being on the floor of parliament is no child’s play; it entails serious business. In order to make the most out of it, a legislator must have a high sense of purpose as well as possess requisite skills. A legislator is the voice of his constituency. He/she represents the collective aspirations of his people. It’s never about the legislator when it comes to legislation, it’s about the people from whom all the powers of government are derived.
In a different sense, the relationship between the legislator and the people may be described as a social contract. It’s an agreement that binds the lawmaker to his campaign promises. Representing the people demands a high level of mental alertness, intellectual stamina, commitment, and selfless service. This is a lawmaker’s creed. It’s nonnegotiable.
It’s on this premise the Senate Council, under the leadership of Sen. Adekunbi Ademola Alexander, should be commended. Last Saturday, November 4, witnessed yet another milestone of this current Senate Council. The first being the incidence of August 31, when the new Senate Council proved itself as a strong and virile institution composed of stalwarts and brave hearts. That day, it was clear to the university management that members of the 31st Assembly are no easy fries.
As such, the event of November 4 was designed to equip senators (especially first timers) with the tools of legislation in order to engender productivity on the floor of the House. What such an event does is that, it exposes greenhorns to the fundamentals of parliamentary business. It couldn’t have come at a better time than the period it was held.
Another dimension to this year’s orientation program is the calibre of resource persons invited. For instance, the event brought a political icon to the university community. Hon. Alhaji Hassan Oyeleke, Majority Leader, Kwara State House of Assembly, was fantastically sensational in his presentation.
Others include former Speaker of the Student Union (Unilorin), Mr Mumeen Kabir Alawaye esq; former SU Presidents, Mr Obayemi Azeez Olaitan esq, and Mr Ahmed Lawal; the Speaker of POGSASS (Unilorin); and Senators Lawal Omotoyosi, Fatoye John (Pappy J), Abdulbaqi O. Abdulbaqi, Musa James, Muneerat Yahya and Socrates.
The choice of trainers for this year’s orientation program is commendable. They comprise men and women of proven integrity and capacity. Each training session anchored, had its own unique cadence and vibrance expected of an effective communicator. Judging from the political philosophy and work ethic of the Senate President, Sen. Adekunbi Ademola Alexander, it’s no surprise to see the pedigree of resource persons fielded during the event.
Though the event proper took off few hours behind schedule, the overall outcome was largely effectual in terms of its aim and objectives. Now that our distinguished senators have been orientated and re-orientated (because some are returning senators), it is hoped that members of their constituencies will begin to enjoy the dividend of effective representation in the Senate Council.
By implication, we expect to see depth and perspectives during debate, economy of argument by way of eliminating vain repetitions, fact-based assertions, high level of discipline during plenary, punctuality at sittings, commitment and selflessness in service.
Having said that, while it’s safe to say that the event was largely successful, it’s equally important to relay some observations across to congressmen as regards the conduct of some of their reps during the programme.
First on the list, is Sen. Giwa, the hall rep of Zamfara hostel. The mouth of this distinguished senator was busy with gum-chewing, and side-talking for the most part of the event. In fact, the Senate President had to call her to order during his vote of thanks.
One wonders why Senator Morenikeji of Clinical Sciences, was seen sleeping for the most of the training sessions. Was she finding the renditions boring or she was just tired generally?
The most interesting scene is that of Sen. Winifred (Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Sen. Ekundayo (Egg-head) of Clinical Sciences, who were seen chatting intimately throughout the program. Theirs could be likened to Romeo and Juliet or the Jack and Rose sensation in Titanic. They did all this during a function of the Senate Council.
Another senator who did something typical of secondary school pupils, was Sen. Abioye Samson (Possible) of the faculty of Agriculture. He was seen making what seemed like a jest of some speakers particularly Sen. Muneerat Yahya. Does the word ‘issue’ ring a bell? Guess he was particularly interested in the mistakes, rather than the content of instruction. This is unacceptable of a distinguished senator of the Student Union.
Be that a it may, the general composure of senators was commendable in terms of civil conduct. Let’s just assume the senators who made the headlines for the wrong reasons, would do better when the real business of legislation and oversight commences.
As they prepare to embark on an excursion to the Kwara State House of Assembly to observe the order of proceedings, it is hoped that they’ll make the most out of the opportunity afforded them. Meanwhile, a big kudos to the leadership of the Senate Council for putting such a befitting program together.