1. I am honoured to be at the 8th Anniversary Lecture and Awards Ceremony of the Nigerian NewsDirect Newspapers being held here today in Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence, Lagos. I commend the Chairperson of this occasion, Mr. Muda Yusuf, Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), for his efforts in recognising outstanding individuals who are working to reposition Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

2. I wish to thank the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian NewsDirect, Prince (Dr.) Samuel Ibiyemi, for inviting me to receive Africa’s Lawmaker of the Year award. I am aware of the stringent test applied during the selection process for nominees; and as such, I am grateful to all those who chose to place the laurel on my humble self on this occasion. Hearty congratulations too, to the other nominees and awardees of all the various awards. It is gratifying to see that your fight against national stagnancy has not gone unnoticed, and I thank you for your service to humanity.

3. In addition, I applaud the organisers for executing this event successfully, and for facilitating collaboration between various stakeholders to dialogue on critical issues with strong bearing on our polity and democratic journey. Ladies and gentlemen, with the 2019 general elections now less than three (3) months away, there is no better time to deliberate on the inspired theme of today’s event, which is: ‘Indigenous participation/Economic Recovery and Growth Plans: Roles of Corporate Governance, Banks Credit, Oil and Infrastructures.’

4. The concept of indigenisation is not novel in the Oil and Gas sector; and attempts to deepen local ownership, capacity and delivery can be traced back as far as the early 1990s.  Yet, despite this extended timeframe, the indigenous sector is yet to achieve its potential, due to several factors – be it access to finance or a lack of requisite technical capacity. Be that as it may, we should not be discouraged by the limited strides made towards building local content in recent years.

5. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria recorded positive movement in terms of its international trade in the second quarter of 2018 – with the contributing products mostly listed as mineral products, wood charcoal, live animals and several others. While this may seem like small steps, it is nonetheless a welcome development which we must nurture for growth, utilising the best of our available skills and resources. When we are able to scale up our indigenous sector with the right infrastructure and technical skills to generate sufficient output, only then can we unlock the unquantifiable potential of our beloved country.

6. I should state, for the avoidance of doubt, that this increased capacity should not be limited to the area of Oil and Gas. Indigenous participation must work in line with the diversification strategy we so passionately champion. As you may be aware, oil accounts for less than 15 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP. Our over-reliance on this resource, coupled with the falling price of crude, led us into recent economic recession. We must learn the lessons. Thus, we as a nation must diversify from the oil mono-economy; and tap into areas such as agriculture, manufacturing and other critical sectors that can provide us with a competitive advantage.

7. It is for this reason that the 8th Senate has worked to ensure that increased capital is available to SMEs through legislations such as the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Bill.  It is my hope that homegrown businesses will take advantage of this provision where possible, in order to break through the entry barriers in their various chosen fields. With many laws passed across the different sectors of infrastructure, reforms and road construction, our aim is unambiguous. We are firm in our commitment to creating an enabling environment that fosters investment, public private partnership and economic development.

8. At this juncture, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I take the view that today’s award is in recognition of the unwavering commitment of the entire 8th National Assembly. Our passion and determination in seeking to reposition Nigeria’s economy through targeted and robust laws, is non-negotiable.

9. It is in that spirit that I accept this award on behalf of all my colleagues at the National Assembly. Together we have worked to ensure that we deliver the mandate of the people we represent. Let me assure you of our continued support and collaboration. I look forward to continued partnership hinged on getting Nigeria to its very best level.

10. Thank you all once again. Enjoy the rest of your evening.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections