BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday warned that the federal legislature would not and can no longer continue to tolerate indiscrete attitudinal displays and unruly behavior from appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lawan, who was in company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, however said that the National Assembly would not define its relationship with President Buhari as a result of the misdemeanor and unruly behavior of one of the appointees of Mr President.
The Senate President, who stated these after a closed door meeting between President Buhari and the leadership of the federal legislature, stressed that henceforth, the National Assembly as an arm of government would no longer tolerate any form of rascality from the Executive arm of government.
In his word; “Such unruly appointees will not be allowed to go scot-free. The cordial relationship existing between the Executive and Legislative arms had been particularly forged to give quality leadership to Nigerians and dividends of democracy.
Lawan said: “If you are an appointee of the President, you are supposed to be reflective of the attitude of the President towards the National Assembly. I must say that the National Assembly will take exception to any attitude or disposition that is not in support of the harmony in the relationship between the two arms of government.
“I think the relationship between this National Assembly and the Executive arm of government, particularly Mr President, is beyond one employee of the President.
“Let me say that this National Assembly has been very supportive, very friendly with the Executive arm of government and there is no doubt in my mind that the President has been quite supportive of the Legislature as well.
“You will recall that in the processing of the budget last year, Mr President made a very categorical statement that no minister at that time should travel out of Nigeria without going to the National Assembly to defend his or her budget.
“That had never been done before and that was in support and in almost every family engagement the President would commend the members of the National Assembly,” Lawan said.
The Senate President expressed serious reservations over the recent conduct of some government officials in the Executive arm to the legislature, adding that the current National Assembly has a cordial relationship with the Executive because of the President’s disposition to the legislative arm.
Forefront News noted that about a fortnight ago, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN, took on the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Labour and Productivity with regards to the 774,000 Youths for the Special Public Works and eventually walked out on the legislators that have constitutional responsibility to oversight the Ministry.
In response, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan announced the suspension of the programme insisting that the National Directorate of Employment should be the statutory body to handle the programme and not the Ministry or Minister of State. But Keyamo ignored the National Assembly and proceeded with the programme saying that he has presidential approval.
Similarly, the acting Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Pondei led management of the commission to stage a walk out on members of the Committee of the House of Representatives on NDDC saying he had nothing to submit before them.
Continuing, the Senate President said; “Whatever we will do to ensure that the administration works for Nigerians, we will do that and this is to enhance the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature to commit ourselves to ensuring that we work together.
“Both the Legislature and the Executive must at all times work in the interest of the people of this country, we cannot afford not to do this because essentially, government is for people to have service.
“And the essence of this particular visit is to ensure that the Legislature, the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government, led by Mr President, continue to work together to ensure that the relationship that we have, which has been working for this administration to deliver services to Nigerians is sustained.
“I believe the outcome of this meeting is going to improve the relationship between the two arms of government. I imagine that at the end of the day the trajectory of ensuring very good and purposeful operational way of doing things between the two arms will continue.
“We are sure that every member of the National Assembly has always been there to ensure that we do the right thing for this country and Mr President is in full support of our position that this relationship must be sustained at all times for the benefit of the people of Nigeria,” he enthused.