Senate President David Mark has assured Nigerians as well as stakeholders in the oil industry that the petroleum industry bill (PIB) will be passed before the end of the 7th senate. The PIB, the omnibus law to reform the petroleum sector, has been before the national assembly since 2008. Speaking at senate chambers on Tuesday, Mark admitted that passage of the bill had dragged on for a long time, but expressed optimism that its passage would be the legacy of the current dispensation of the national assembly.
“We are conscious of the concerns of various stakeholders. It has taken long but we should do all we can to pass it. When passed, the PIB will have profound impact on the future direction of our economy and will be one of the legacies of this assembly. Although, we have a critical and congested legislative timetable ahead, we must be thorough in our work,” he said.
Mark also spoke on the declining global crude oil prices, calling for quick diversification of the economy. “In the face of declining oil prices, it is clear that our over-reliance on a mono-product is unhealthy and unsustainable. This reality makes it even more pertinent that the federal and state governments work assiduously to develop other sources of revenue generation outside the oil and gas sectors. The continued diversification of our economy into other sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, trade and services is now inevitable,” he said. Addressing the issue of violence in the forthcoming general election, the senate president called on politicians to caution theirs supporters against taking the law into their own hands.
“We may be in different political parties but we are not enemies. We must educate, caution and guide our supporters and followers. Election should be an asset to democracy but where it leads to violence or acrimony, it becomes a liability,” he said. “We must, irrespective of party affiliations, do our best to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections. At the risk of stating the obvious, I would like to emphasise that for us to hold an elective office, there must first be a nation. I urge all my distinguished colleagues to continue to set example for conduct in the public sphere. I am disturbed and saddened by the war songs emanating from many quarters, particularly from highly placed Nigerians who are threatening fire and brimstone.
Elections need not dissolve into theatres of war. It is my belief that war mongering will only result in a legacy that we will all regret. “As distinguished senators, we have a role to play in ensuring that Nigeria witnesses a peaceful general election. Despite the much vaunted fear, apprehension and anxiety that our nation may not survive the elections by some doomsday prophets, I personally remain optimistic that we have the strength of character, the political will, the perseverance and maturity to rise above all the challenges that lie ahead.
We are all leaders and I know that we will work towards peace and harmony. Our nation will not disintegrate after the elections. “Let me once again appeal to my fellow politicians and the entire political class, that in order to achieve free, fair, transparent and credible elections, we must support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out its responsibilities without hindrance. I also urge INEC to take into account the wishes of a large body of internally displaced persons who have expressed their desire to have their votes cast and counted. INEC must ensure that no eligible Nigerian is disenfranchised.” Read more at: http://www.thecable.ng/mark-will-pass-pib-may-29 | TheCable