Nigeria Membership Of IPU’s Executive Council Will Create Job Opportunities For Nigerians, Says Senate President

President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Saturday, said that an unusual deft move by the Nigerian delegation to the 147th assembly of the Inter-Parlaimentary Union (IPU) broke the 59 old jinx and made Nigeria a member of the body’s Executive Committee.

Recall that IPU has the membership of 179 parliaments with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking first to journalists on their arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja from Angola where the event took place, the deputy speaker said that Nigeria was happy with the development, stressing that it has henceforth granted her access to major parliamentary decisions of the global community.

Kalu who initiated the idea and nominated Akpabio for the position said the Senate President was a man competent and most qualified for the job.

The deputy speaker said that Nigeria has now taken her rightful place in the global legislative map.

Kalu also expressed gratitude to the body of world parliaments for electing the speaker of Tanzanian parliament, Tulia Ackson as the President of the Union.

He said: “Nigeria has decided to take their place in Africa and also the World. Over the years, from 1964 till now, Nigeria has not been a member of the executive committee of the Inter-Parlientary Union (IPU). We saw that as a 59 old jinx that needed to be broken and we saw a competent leader of the delegation in the person of the President of the Senate. When I saw that other West African countries wanted to take over that slot, I said no and we moved a motion that Nigeria was interested in it.

“And I had him in mind knowing full well that he has the capacity that we are looking for. He accepted and the international politicking started from there and the rest is history. Today, we have broken a 59 year old jinx of having the voice of Africa heard strongly globally. The president of the Senate is going to be one of the decision makers in the world with regards to the Legislature which all over the world is a fulcrum of democracy.

“So, the way it’s going to be run round the world, the way policies are going to be made with regards to that, issues that ate going to be discussed, he is going to be in the room. And if that is not a great achievement for this delegation, I wonder what it is. And secondly, through his help and our synergy, we chose a candidate. A candidate that respected Nigeria, travelled all the way to Nigeria to ask for our vote to be the President of the IPU. The first time it was coming to Africa and for a women, we quequed behind her and we started the international politicking across the entire geopolitical zones in the world. And I want to tell you that again, we won.

“So, we won two trophies, coming back. Tulia Ackson became the president of the IPU, the first time a black woman from Africa will be occupying that position. All thanks to the leadership of the President of the Senate and my support as the deputy leader of this delegation. I am so proud Nigeria’s voice has been heard. We have taken our position. And I tell you if you were there yesterday, you would have seen the entire Africa being hosted by Nigeria under his leadership. So, we are back to take our place.”

Similarly, the Senate President, Akpabio while reviewing the activities of the Nigerian delegation to Angola said that the inclusion of the country in the Executive Committee will create jobs for the people.

He said: “We just went there and the delegation realized that Nigeria had not been on the table. Like the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives said, it was a joint delegation of the both the Senate and the House of Representatives. And he was the first to point out that when we look at the decision makers at the IPU, we realized that the highest organ is the Executive Committee. And Nigeria was last seen there in 1964 for 59 years. It’s actually not a small thing when you take cognisance of that fact that it’s a global body, and not only one country that votes.

“And even the francophone and the anglophone sections of West Africa and the rest of Africa, sometimes, we are at a loss because of the minority status of the English speaking West African countries. So, we had to appeal to our brothers and sisters from the West Africa coast and thereafter, we went towards the global community and at the end, I was given that opportunity, I was elected as a member of the Executive Council. It is for a three year term.

“And like the deputy speaker said, the woman that most respected Nigeria, recognized Nigeria and sent a delegation to come here and consult Nigeria happens to be Tulia Ackson, the speaker of the parliament in Tanzania. So, we picked her up and the whole knew that Nigeria was with her. And you know Nigerians, we can be noisy sometimes. And we made sure that the world saw that we were with her. There was no doubt about that. A lot of African countries came privately to meet us in our hotel rooms and they said since Nigeria is with this woman, then who in Africa can be against her? But then, she had other contestants. There were 3 others from Somalia, Senegal and I think one one other one from Malawi. But at the end, Nigeria prevailed and the choice we made was accepted by the global community and today, she’s the President of IPU. I give glory to God.

“A lot of employment opportunities will be created. A lot of offices will be opened. Sub national offices will be oppend and a lot of children who wish to be diplomats will have the opportunity of working there and it will also attract foreign direct investment in the area of training and retraining and capacity building not just for the legislators but for people who are in different fields. It’s quite a lot actually. The benefits are enormous. We thank God.”

Reacting to the recent victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Supreme Court, Akpabio said it was the Will of God.

He urged Tinubu’s opponents to key into the renewed hope agenda of the President to build a virile economy for Nigeria.

“We were very glad to receive the report of the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Supreme Court. So, we use this opportunity on arrival on the Nigerian soil to also congratulate him and our party, APC. We had no doubt that he won the election. We had no doubt that this was the will of God for Nigeria. And we pray that God will give him the wisdom, the health and sound mind to pilot the affairs of this country for the next 4 years. And we are also praying that those who contested against him up to turn courts to see the need to drop all their hatchets and join to build a greater Nigeria particularly at a time of this kind of economic difficulties. So, congratulations to us. Congratulations to Mr. President”, he said.

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