Immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark, on Wednesday, spoke on the floor for the first time in two years and four months.
It was the first time Sen. Mark had spoken on the floor of the Senate since the 8th National Assembly was inaugurated on the 9th of June, 2017.
Mark spoke when his only bill sponsored in two years, was read for the second time. It’s titled “A Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Health Science, Utukpo and other related matters connected thereto, 2017.”
Unlike others bills read on the floor, Mark only read an abridged version of it. Many lawmakers wanted to speak on the issue, but were restricted by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided.
Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, while speaking, said in other climes, the bill would not be debated. He urged his colleagues to make provision for the take-off of the university in the 2018 budget.
Lawan said: “This bill reminds me of my days in the opposition. Elsewhere in the world, this bill will not be debated because of the sponsor. For someone who served as the Senate President for eight years is not ordinary. We need to appreciate that fact.
“In the 2018 appropriation year, the Senate should make provision for this institution to take off and provide services to the entire people of Nigeria. This will not only benefit the people of Benue South, but Nigerians.”
Ekweremadu, while concluding, noted: “This bill has enjoyed sufficient support. We must appreciate the sponsor for this opportunity. This bill seeks to create a special university that will cater for the wellbeing of Nigerians. I can see lawmakers who left the chamber, but had to return because of the importance of this bill.”
When Ekweremadu put it to a voice vote that the bill be read for the second time, it got a resounding ‘yes’. No lawmaker voted against it. The bill has been referred to the Senate committee on Tertiary Education.