Proceedings of the Nigerian Senate of Wednesday, 12th February, 2020

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Welcome to a new Legislative Day in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON led the Principal Officers into the chambers; took the official prayers; and began the day’s proceedings at 10:51am.

‪Senator Dimka Hezekiah‬ ‪moved for the approval of votes and proceedings of Tuesday, 11th February 2020. Senator Mpigi Barinada seconded.‬

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‪POINT OF ORDER‬
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe cited Order 43 and informed the Senate that the Chairman of the South East caucus is Senator Ike Ekweremadu. “I have handed over to him after a successful election.”

‪ORDER OF THE DAY‬
‪Valedictory Session ‬
‪-That the Senate do pay tributes in honour of Late Senator Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu (Imo North) (30th June, 1965 - 18th December, 2019) by Senate Leader.‬

‪Senate Leader moved that the Senate suspends Order 17 to allow close friends and relatives of late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu into the Chamber. Minority Leader seconded.‬

‪Senators paid tributes in honour of late Senator Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu.‬

‪Senate Leader read the biography of late Senator Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu.‬

“He affected lives, he was a big man with a big heart, he was very accommodating and worked with the younger generation and had this special connection with them. He was an icon to look up to. He never shook the table like I did. Benji was such a great man. We will miss him especially those of us from Abia State because he was also part of us.”- Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

“Big Ben was blessed with so many gifts, the only gift that the almighty God deprived him of is the gift of longevity. We both came into the Senate after so much litigation, big Ben and I played very beautiful roles in our Committee on INEC.”- Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

“He was a gentleman, soft spoken and we are going to miss him a lot. It is my prayer that Almighty God will console his family and take care of the big vacuum he has left behind.”- Senator Ajayi Boroffice.

“I join other speakers in consoling and condoling the family and the people of Imo state and indeed Nigeria. I join all of us in this chamber to say we will definitely miss him. Adieu Ben.”- Senator Aliyu Sabi.

“Benjamin was a very good friend. Indeed this life is vanity upon vanity. We take solace in the fact that we will meet someday to part no more. This is the only consolation. For the family, you must continue to hold on to the dreams that he had so that one day it comes to fruition.”- Senator Philip Aduda.

“Today we are gathered here to celebrate and honour a father, a great politician and one that lived his life pleasing people and making friends across the bridge. Ben was my speaker in Imo State for four years and he was a man who loved to give without asking back. He was a dogged fighter and a good man. His death is a wake up call to all of us that in this life our journey will come to an end. I think this wake up call calls for sober reflection. Ben, good night. Ben, you came you saw and conquered. Ben you left behind people that still admire you till date.”- Senator Rochas Okorocha.

“I take solace and I draw strength from the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3. Sadly our brother’s time has come. We want to glorify God for the life of service, commitment and dedication for the life our brother lived. Benjamin was a stabilizing factor in Imo State House of Assembly in the administration of Rochas Okorocha. As we mourn Ben, let us also reflect on the many good things God has done for him. This is a mourning of sober reflection for all of us. I want to send my deep sympathy to his Senatorial District and my prayer is that the good Lord will grant Ben smooth passage to paradise.”- Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi.

“I pay my condolence to the children of late Benjamin.”- Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

“We indeed lost a perfect gentleman and an astute politician. We are here to honour a great man, a perfect gentleman. I am standing not to mourn him, I am standing to celebrate a life well lived and spent. I pray that you all would take solace in the fact that he was an elder statesman and that he has lived well. He is a man that has shown so much respect coming to this Senate. I pray that God will console his family. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”- Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

“To the family, your father was a great man and I am proud of you as a family that today the business of this hallow Chamber can suspend its Order to accomodate and to celebrate the life of our Distinguished colleague. It is a reminder of the fact that the necessary end will come.”- Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

“Senator Ben is a dogged fighter. He was a loyal party man. Today we do not have Ben again. He was a detribalized man. We are missing him already. We will continue to pray for him and his family that God should be with them. It is only God that will never leave them. I say Ben, Good night.”- Senator Solomon Adeola.

“It is a very sad moment for me. He was a man of principle, I do not have much to say. May God give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.”- Senator Yusuf Yusuf.

“He was always the life of the party. I met him twice outside the Chambers - first in Liberia and then in a shop where he came to pick few items. I belief he has left some few legacies. There is not much we can say than to say we do not forget all the good things he represents.”- Senator Biodun Olujimi.

“I have known Ben since 2007 as a close associate. Ben has gone, but in memory we will be with Ben.”- Senator Micheal Nnachi.

“This is a sad day for all of us. May the Almighty God console the family. On behalf of the people of Cross River State I want to pray that the family is given the fortitude to bear the loss.”- Senator Gershom Bassey.

“Senator Ben is not dead, he is sleeping. I will say Kachifo.”- Senator Elisha Abbo.

“Ben has done his best and to the Senate, God will not allow sudden death in our midst again. We want the whole nation to pray for the National Assembly so that we will not have sudden death again in our midst.”- Senator Francis Fadahunsi.

“Senator Ben was a real patriot. The day he was sworn in the 8th Senate, he was the only Senator from the South East. My interaction with him then showed he was full of determination and also passionate in making sure he did whatever possible to bring prosperity to his country. He was calm and very friendly. He had so much dedication to whatever he was doing. He stood by what he believed in and we are going to miss him. It is important that the family should remain strong and united.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“We lost a Distinguished Senator, a Distinguished Nigerian. When we went through crisis in the 8th Senate I knew where he stood. All he wanted was peace for the benefit of Nigerians. So sad that our brother and friend had to leave us at this critical moment. That loss is not to his fame but to this Senate. I am very very sad about this day and I say no more.”- Senator Bala Na’allah.

“I rise to pay a tribute to Distinguished Senator Benjamin. Myself and Ben shared one common political affiliation in the 8th Senate as the only Senator from South South and South East before other Senators came to join us. Ben was a detribalized Nigerian. He worked with everybody. The only thing we have is to pray for him.”- Senator Francis Alimikhena.

“Ben was a jolly good fellow and unfortunately today we are here in a special valedictory service mourning him. As we mourn Ben, a lot has been said about him. Ben did not die, Ben is alive. For the sons and two daughters surviving him, take solace in the fact that your father lived a great life. For the entire Imo State, Ben was a dogged fighter. May the soul of Ben rest in perfect peace.”- Senator James Manager.

“Ben was a special person to me. When we had issues in the 8th Senate and I was suspended, Ben traced my house. Ben came to my house again and had some discussion with me. He was one of the two of the 109 Senators that left money with my family when I was suspended. It is not the time you die that really matters to human being but how you die. It is better for me to have a father who died early as a better person than to have a father who last 100 years and people speak bad about him when he dies. Ben is gone but God is there. If you believe strongly in God then he will take care of you.”- Senator Ali Ndume.

“I came across Ben in Imo State while visiting His Excellency, Governor Rochas Okorocha. Senator Ben is a very strong man, very upright and a fearless person. No man in APC can claim returning Ondo State Governor than Distinguished Senator Benjamin. Death is on everyone of us. We just do not know when it is coming. I not only sympathize with the family, I will want to console His Excellency Distinguished Senator Rochas Okorocha. I wish to extend my condolence to all of us and to the immediate family. I pray to God to console us all.”- Senator Sani Musa.

“Ben was a very good man, a man that was loved by every Senator in this Chamber. I use this opportunity to console with the family and to make you know that Ben is no more. This is the time for the family to allow God to take preeminence. I want to at this point pray that our friend and brother Rest In Peace.”- Senator Clifford Ordia.

“He was a man with good intellect, his contributions were rich and his love to his constituency was very clear. Ben was one good colleague of ours. Up till the time Ben transited, it was love and passion for his constituency. Ben had deep passion even at the expense of his own comfort. Today, he is no more. This pain is deep because of our very close interaction with Ben. Very sincere condolence to the people of Imo North and Imo State at large.”- Senator Matthew Urhoghide.

“I wish to on behalf of my constituency console and commiserate with the immediate family and the entire Senatorial District of our late brother.”- Senator Sam Egwu.

“On behalf of myself and family I express my condolence to the family of Ben. I wish the family the support of God Almighty will be with you.”- Senator Basiru Ajibola.

“Senator Ben was a perfect gentleman. I want to describe his loss as a major loss to his immediate family, Senate and Nigeria as a whole. I want to make a plea to the good people of Imo State, the government should try and provide for the immediate family of Ben.”- Senator Isah Jibrin.

“Our condolences to the late Senator’s Senatorial District. He lived and died for his people. The loss of Senator Ben is a loss to all of us. Senator Ben has a very good account of himself as a human being. We met in the 8th Senate and being the only APC extraction from the South East, he was close to everyone. Ben was something else, every time there was a crisis, he would preach unity. In the 9th Senate he was delayed in joining us so he took his Oath after the inauguration of the 9th Senate. Ben lived and died for his people. As a politician, he had a very good trajectory.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

“He was a friend to everyone here in the Senate. Senator Ben was not someone who was controversial, he was always straight to the point, no controversy but deep in his contributions. He has left humanity for us and the only way to remember him is to continue to do those things he lived for and died for. For us in this 9th Assembly there is nothing more important to us than working for Nigerians. The submission by most of our colleagues is that the family remains united, go through this period of grief and live a post husband, post father or brother life that is full of dignity and respect.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

“There will be a delegation to which I will personally lead to the burial of our late colleague. The National Assembly will remain focus and united for the sole purpose of ensuring our citizens get the best deal from the legislature at this level. We will ensure that Nigerians live wherever they choose to live and are protected. We want to ensure that there is serious unity among Nigerians. On behalf of the Senate I want to pray that the soul of Ben rest in perfect peace.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

Senate resolved to:

  1. Offer prayers for the repose of the soul of late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu;
  2. Observe a minute silence in his honour;
  3. Send a condolence message to the family, government and people of Imo State;
  4. Send a delegation to be led by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON to the burial of the late Distinguished Senator; and
  5. Proceed for the procession to pay last respect to our departed colleague and return to the Chamber.

Senator Istifanus Gyang says the prayer.

The relatives and close friends of late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu left the Chamber.

ADJOURNMENT
Senate Leader moved that plenary be adjourned to another legislative day. Minority Leader seconded.

Plenary is adjourned to Thursday, 13th February, 2020.

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