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Like Nigeria, like Senate, as members regionalise

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By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja
In the face of mounting agitations for Nigeria’s restructuring and threats of seccession, the Senators from the Southern part of the country on Wednesday announced the emergence of their umbrella body.
The body which they called the Southern Nigeria Senators Forum (SNSF) came barely a year after the Northern Senators  revived its own group.
The SNSF also announced its leadership with Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo State) as chairman while Lanre Tejuosho is Vice Chairman, Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos State) serves as treasurer.
The last time the Southern Senators had a association was between 2006 and 2007 during the Senate Presidency of Ken Nnamani when Senator Ifeanyi Ararume served as its chairman.
The SNSF would serve  for Southern Senators the same purpose  the Northern Senators Forum (NSF), now led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa States) ,had served for the northern law makers since 1999.
Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, who unveiled the SNSF at the National Assembly Wednesday disclosed that the union would assist law makers to better articulate issues affecting their people.
Akpabio explained that the group is apolitical because it cuts across the various parties represented in the Senate.
He said:“We must ensure we take decisions that will enable us get closer to our people as we provide a shoulder they can lean on.
“We are alive to our responsibilities. It is not just to pass Bills. We will take on topical issues that will alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians like security and creation of employment.
According to him, there has always been the Northern Senators Forum while the Southern Senators Forum has just re-emerged in the 8th Senate.
“When they take decisions from the North we will also take decisions from the South and from there we have a united voice in order to consolidate on the unity of the country,” he said.
Other members in the executive committee of the group are, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP-Abia), Publicity Secretary, Sen. Duro Fasheyi is the Auditor, while Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) who is the only female senator in the executive committee is to serve as the Welfare officer.
In his remarks, Uzodinma said the Southern Senators caucus would play a vital role in promoting the unity of Nigeria.
He however said that the SNSF would pay particular attention to recent agitation by various sectional groups across the country.

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