by Wale Bakare
On the 8th of March, 2017, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, made history by becoming the first sitting Nigerian Senate President to visit the German Bundesrat since its formation in 1867.
The 5-man delegation from the Senate led by Dr. Saraki were received by Ms. Malu Dreyer, the President of the Bundesrat and Minister President of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate.
In advancing their mission, the Senate President and his team after a guided tour of the German Parliament visited a German Village, Feldheim, a suburb outside of Berlin, where a combination of efforts and local resources by the residents produces clean and renewable energy independent from the conventional power source from their national grid.
According to Mr Werner Frohwitter, a Project Leader at Feldheim, citizens in the small town take their energy needs into their own hands by contributing money to build bio gas plants, which uses slurry and manure from their pigs and cows and wind farms.
Moved by the possibility of replicating the innovative feat achieved by the German Village back in Nigeria, Saraki called for an amendment of our laws on power generation, distribution and transmission in order to create steady supply, eradicate poverty and unleash the potentials of Nigerians at this dire time of our economy.
“We have to amend the laws to allow communities to generate energy that is more than 10 megawatts and even the laws on power transmission and distribution to allow more creativity and involvement from the private sector,” Saraki said shortly after inspecting the power plants.
On the delegation’s return to Berlin, Saraki used the meeting with Mr. Thomas Silberhorn, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister to advocate for Economic exchange between Germany and Nigeria especially as the country is putting in place measures to exit its current recession.
The delegation pretty much kept its focus on activating the required legislative and political willpower to improve business relationship with Germany. The rehabilitation and rebuilding of the North East ravaged by the activities of the Boko Haram sect topped the discussion list. Also, solving the persistent lack of access to electricity by Nigerians; a condition that has crippled many businesses and locked Nigerians in poverty for too long.
The series of meetings with the Vice-President of the Lower Chamber of the German Parliament, the Bundestat, Mr. Johannes Singhammer, the top officials of the think-tank group, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the German-African Business Associations, and other business community leaders aims to remove the bottleneck associated with doing business through a strategic engagement and people friendly policies that can move Nigeria’s economy forward.
At the interactive session, Saraki assured the Germans of Nigeria’s commitment towards building strong institutions and encouraging credible businesses survive “We will strengthen our institutions to enable them to stop corruption and ensure due process is followed” Saraki said.
This call, being the first of its kind has opened up a strong harmonisation of Legislative cooperation between Nigerian and the German Parliament.
On the other hand, the visit to Morocco seeks to tighten the regional partnership between both countries and help realise its potentials in the areas of the economic, political and social interventions.
The just concluded Crans Montana Forum of Africa and South-South Cooperation for Africa’s Development in Dakhla, Morocco is seen as a major step forward in the campaign for regional integration and an opportunity to narrow the widening gaps between Nigeria and its strategic partners in other African countries.
Nonetheless, the integration will focus on addressing issues such as poverty level, social unrest, cross-border crimes, arms proliferation, and the rising insecurity with Al Qaida in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria. These partnerships will help view challenges from regional perspective and proffer regional solution that will offer great long-term goals.
The Nigerian Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki has further entrenched the role of the Legislature as an important arm of government saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that institutions regionally and at sub-regional level act in manners that best preserve the welfare of their people and the interest of Africans as a whole.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Wale Bakare writes from Abuja.