President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, declared Wednesday that late Senator Joseph Wayas, ensured harmony between the executive and legislature when he held sway as Senate President between 1979 and 1983.
Lawan made this known while paying tribute to the deceased following the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (Cross River North).
According to him, the late Wayas while serving as a presiding officer, was particularly concerned with ensuring peace, productivity and proficiency within the legislative arm of government.
He said, “Let me join our colleague who made remarks in the death of Senator Joseph Wayas, the third President of the Senate in the second republic.
“Senator Joseph Wayas as a presiding officer, President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, brought peace, productivity and proficiency in the legislature then.
“[And] of course, they had a very good working relationship between the two major arms of government (legislature and executive).
“Even though they had a House of Representatives that was presided over by another political party, he was able to manage the Senate and the House of Representatives in such a manner that there was productivity and high turnout of legislative interventions that made the executive arm of government at the time to function.
“For us, we have lessons to learn from his skills in running the affairs of the National Assembly then and the Senate, in particular.
“We have been managing ourselves here, in the way and manner that President of the Senate, Joseph Wayas, ran the Senate in 1979 to 1983.
“I believe that he had a decent life, and was not a controversial person and very open minded like all of us said.”
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, in his capacity as Leader of the Senate , noted “with shock the demise of Senator Joseph Wayas, Former Senate President of Nigeria in the Second Republic who died on Tuesday, 30th November, 2021 at the age of 80.
“Notes that Senator Joseph Wayas was born in Basang, Obudu, Cross-River State on 21st May 1941 and attended Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha. He went to the United Kingdom where he studied at the Higher Tottenham Technical College, London, the West Bronwich College of Commerce, Science and Technology, Birmingham and Aston University. Returning to Nigeria, he worked as a manager or controller from 1960-1969 for several companies in Nigeria and the United Kingdom;
“Observes that he was a member of the Society of International Affairs at the Lincoln University, United States;
“Observes also that he joined the Federal Government in 1969-72. He was commissioner for Transport, South-Eastern State, now Akwa Ibom and Cross River states from 1972-74;
“Aware that with the transition to civil rule in 1979, Senator Joseph Wayas was elected to the Senate on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform and appointed Senate President. He represented the Ogoja Senatorial District alongside Senator Joseph Oqua Ansa who represented Calabar Senatorial District;
“Recalls that in the lead-up to the 1983 elections, Wayas was the leader of the NPN party’s “Lagos Group” that supported a change of government in Cross River State, in opposition to the “Home Front” led by the incumbent governor, Clement Isong.
“Aware that Senator Wayas was the Deputy Chairman of the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference Commission that organized and midwifed the National Conference “.
He added that in January 2010, Wayas advocated that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan be authorized to act as President pending the return of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who had been incapacitated by illness for some time.
“Convinced that he was an eminent and committed leader, a perfect gentleman, a grassroots politician par excellence and a nationalist. His contributions to democracy and good governance remains unparalleled and will make his foot prints indelible in the sands of time”.
Contributing, James Manager (PDP Delta South) described the deceased as a man of dignity and a committed Nigerian who loved his people and the nation, and was role model to younger generation leaders.
“He (Wayas) represented across River North in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to rise to being elected by people to represent them in a Senatorial district and among colleagues as presiding officer (President of the Senate) is a serious achievement in the life of every man.
Senator Manger called on the Senate to immortalize the deceased in accordance with the tradition of the upper chamber.
Another lawmaker, Senator Biodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South) , said the late Joseph Wayas was a “quintessential gentleman” who was detribalized in his approach to issues of governance.
She admonished Nigerian leaders to emulate the life of the deceased by ensuring they use their positions to the benefit of Nigerians and the nation.
Accordingly, the Senate observed a Minute Silence in honour of Late Senator Joseph Wayas.