– Say N’Assembly’ll No Longer Tolerate Misbehaviour By Ministers
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, held crucial talks with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday over the behaviour of ministers and other presidential appointees.
At the meeting, the leadership of the legislature told Buhari that lawmakers had had enough of appointees coming to the National Assembly to act in a manner not reflective of the person of the President.
Lawan spoke with State House Correspondents after the meeting and he did not mince words when he said that the recent conducts of some ministers left much to be desired.
The Senate President spoke in a veiled reference to the dispute between the legislature and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians for special public works.
THE WHISTLER recalls that a public hearing organised by the Senate to discuss the modus operandi of the recruitment turned awry, resulting in Keyamo storming out of the session.
Only on Thursday, the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof Kemebrandikumo Pondei, walked out on the House Committee on NDDC, investigating how the agency spent N81.5billion between January and this month.
At the Senate, another committee is investigating the affairs of the commission, among other public hearings involving ministers and agency heads.
Lawan spoke at length on the issues.
He stated, “If you are an appointee of the President, you are supposed to be reflective of the attitude of the President towards the National Assembly and the National Assembly will continue to cooperate with Mr President.
“But, the National Assembly will take exceptions 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.
“I don’t know what you mean by that, but 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. So Mr President is in full support of the National Assembly and what we do.
“We have come to see Mr President on behalf of the members of the National Assembly and this is supposed to be a continuous engagement between the Legislature and the Executive arm of government.
“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. 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 have had a very good engagement with Mr President. Mr President has always respected the legislature, he has always commended the National Assembly members for always being there to ensure that the requests by the executive, in the national interest, are processed. 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.”