Speaking when he led a delegation of Senators on a condolence visit to the family of the late Mrs. H. I. D. Awolowo in Ikenne, Ogun State, Saraki said that national interest more than any other consideration, would be the guiding principle in screening the nominees.
“It is not going to be business as usual. What I can assure you is that we will go with the constitution, the rules, we will put Nigeria first”, he said.
Saraki, who was with Senators Lanre Tejuoso and Biodun Olujimi said: “the screening will be done with a high level of seriousness and what we are all about is our constitutional responsibility to ensure that we find people who are fit enough to be Ministers and particularly this time, to give President Buhari the support he requires.
“It is not about who you like or who you don’t like and I want to assure Nigerian that will not be the basis, it will be based on the constitution and based on ability and our own assessment of capacity of the nominees to perform.
“And I assure you that individual differences would not be an issue at all, and we have spoken with Senators and told them that.
“At this moment of time, we have made sure that as much as possible, we share with the public, we try to ensure that all we be covered live so that everybody can see, we will all be screening from our bedrooms and sitting rooms as well along with the Senators.
“You’re rest assured that we will do a good job Nigerians would be proud of”.
He added that Nigerians would have the opportunity of participating in the screening process from the comfort of their homes as the exercise would be broadcast live.
Commiserating with the Awolowos, the Senate president described the deceased as a great person, an icon and mother for all.
He said this informed why the Senate passed a resolution mandating a delegation to be led by the leadership to pay a condolence visit to the family
Saraki said: “on Wednesday the eight Senate passed a resolution mandated us to come here and commiserate with the Awolowo family, the good people of Ogun State and Nigeria in general on the loss of great person and an icon.
“Normally, we send a delegation, but in the case of Mama she deserves even more. That is why the entire Senate, represented by the presiding officers, is here. That is why I am here in person representing the entire eight Senate.
“The country, not her family has lost a great person; she was a great person because since the death of Papa for so many years, she continued the life of virtues and Papa’s dreams. She showed that she was a uniting factor not only in the South West, but Nigeria in general.
“I can say that, because just a few months ago we were here during the period of our campaign and I don’t think there was any campaign in this country that politicians would not stop here to pay respect and honour.
“She earned that because we have many wives and mothers who, after their husbands passed on, have not been able to sustain their dreams. I think she showed herself that in the entire country she was the only person that has been able to achieve that. That is a great achievement.
“As we mourn we also celebrate the great life she has lived. I remember when we were here we thought we would come to celebrate her 100 years but that shows that we must believe that were of the Almighty God.
“Once again on behalf of the entire Senate I commiserate with the Awolowo family, the Ogun State people and Nigeria at large. The country has lost a great person and we have a lot to be proud of and with the faces I am seeing Mama HID is coming, I think she deserves the honour”.
Responding on behalf of the family, the deceased’s eldest daughter, Mrs Omotola Oyediran, commended the Senate leadership for identifying with them.
The funeral programme for the deceased is scheduled to start on 15th of November when her body will be taken to the Apapa home of the Awolowos in Lagos for an interdenominational thanksgiving.
She will be brought back to Ikenne on November 25, where she will be laid to rest.