President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, says the Senate is committed to pursuing the dreams of the late Sen. Rose Oko especially on her quest for development of education in Nigeria.
Lawan said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, shortly after signing the condolence register at the valedictory section in honour of the late senator, who died on March 23.
Lawan, who described the passage of the senator as a very painful loss, however, said her achievements in education and public service were impactful.
“Those issues that she dreamt about, issues of education for our children particularly, national unity and national development are issues we will continue to focus on in the Senate.
“We will continue to look for ways, means and mechanism to empower the education sector in Nigeria to provide education at such affordable cost and ensure availability.
“We believe that the 14 million out-of-school children should not be in the streets in Nigeria.
“If it means taking out two million or three million per year out of the streets, we are under obligations to do so as a country.
“Education must be a right because you cannot get the best out of your people, if you do not educate them.
“Because, at the end of the day you will be lost, the country will be the worse for it; so we must give these children education and give people the opportunity to render their potential.”
Lawan also said the life and attributes and achievements of the late Sen. Oko signified national unity, hence the need for all Nigerians to be united to develop the nation.
“We need to be united in this country; we have no reason to be fighting each other on the basis of ethnic or religious backgrounds in this country.
“Nigeria is a country that has come to stay; what we need to do is to continuously look into the best ways possible of ensuring that we provide avenues to improve on governance.
“Sen. Rose Oko never cared where someone came from, all she cared for was if someone was a Nigerian and she related with all of us very well.
“As politicians, we need to come together and provide leadership that will bring people together.
“Whenever you have been given the mandate, try to help to build the country because there is need to have a country before you can become anything.
“And you need to have people to be given the services they need, the education they need the health they need, then you have something to build your country on.
“If we continue to just fight on the basis of political parties or ethnic background, or religious persuasion, Nigeria will not make progress and that will be unfortunate.”
Also in an interview, Sen. Philip Aduda (PDP-FCT), described the late Sen. Oko as an amiable and wonderful lady.
He said Sen. Oko was a very straight forward individual, a team player and very sincere with her thoughts on development of Nigeria.
“She is somebody who will not hide her feelings, you can hear what people said about her, she was a very meek person, and was ready to learn and was down to earth.”
Aduda said Sen. Oko, while she lived, did not allow her health challenge to deter her from doing her job at the chamber.
“We have lost an iconic leader in her, and I pray God grants her family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Aduda said.