Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The South-East Development Commission Establishment Bill, which caused chaos in the House of Representatives last Thursday, passed the second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.
At the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra-North) and Senator Samuel Anyanwu.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks after the second reading, however, pointed out that the establishment of regional development commissions would not achieve the desired results.
Saraki, however, called for caution on the bill while urging lawmakers not to further heat up the polity with the proposal.
He urged them to look at the ‘pros and cons’ of the bill.
Saraki said, “The unity and development of a nation go beyond a bill. I want us all to see that we bear the responsibility to ensure the unity of this country. We all have that role to play. In doing this as a Senate, we are showing that we are ready to show that we are ready to look at the pros and cons of the issues. But I think the issues go beyond just this bill.
“As some celebrate this (second reading of the bill), we have to do more work. There are people that we are leading and we must go back and play our own roles in uniting this country. Having commissions all over the country might not bring the results that we need.”
While leading the debate on the bill which passed the first reading on June 22, 2016, Anyanwu said he proposed a commission that would serve as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the South-East.
He added that the establishment of the commission would tackle the infrastructural deficit and engage youths in productive ventures in the region.
The lawmaker pointed out that the passage of the bill would not impact negatively on other geopolitical zones in the country but would ‘support the re-visitation of the need to address the issues raised by this bill which all zones of the Nigerian state have argued positively in support’.
He said the passage of the bill would be critical to addressing the South-East struggle against marginalisation through an integrative development plan that would promote and strengthen the sense of nationalism.
He said, “A thriving and strong economy in the South-East will definitely lead to an improved revenue stream into the Federation Account in terms of taxes and other non-oil revenue sources.
“I strongly urge and seek your support for the passage of this bill based upon the arguments rendered, thereof, and the deserving benefits to the zone in particular and the country in general.” (Punchng.com)