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Showdown between Buhari and National Assembly imminent - report

19 March 2016, 19:50

Abuja - Reports have indicated that a war may be brewing between President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly over recent policies effected by the Federal Government without input from lawmakers.

According to a Punch report, lawmakers have expressed grievances with decisions being taken by the executive without consultation from members of the National Assembly in recent times.

Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) within the legislature had not come out to air their concerns due to being perceived as partaking in anti-party activities.

Members of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), however, have reported that relations between the President and his party members within the legislature could be eroded due to what has been described as disregard on Buhari's part.

“The actions of the executive smack of disregard for the National Assembly. The President should be consulting the legislature,” a member of the House stated.

The executive has been accused of taking the National Assembly, and upper chamber in particular, for granted by not seeking its approval on major political and economic decisions as is required by law.

Senator Obiodun Olujimi, lamented recent decisions taken by the President, stating that she read about Nigeria's membership to the Saudi Arabia Coalition Against Terrorism in the newspaper like every other Nigerian.

According to Olujimi, major international policy as well as sensitive appointments into key positions were not up to the executive to carry out unilaterally.

“What the executive is doing with such a practice is to put the cart before the horse and this would no longer be tolerated by us. We are determined to put a stop to this. We have told our leaders in the senate to convey our message to the executive.

“We have told them that the last appointments should be the last that would be made without proper screening and clearance from the senate. Any time such a practice repeats itself. Such nominee will be rejected,” Olijimi said.

Also read: Nigerians didn't vote to become Shariah compliant, Buhari told

Senator Stella Oduah, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police, Women Affairs and Youth Development, spoke out on the current restructuring at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), accusing the Group Managing Director of disrespecting the National Assembly through the implementation of the action.

“I really don’t understand when this House (National Assembly) has become a rubber stamp that whatever is put forward should be rubber-stamped and approved. I think this is totally unacceptable.

“I think when such a thing is to be done, we need to know about it. We need to be informed. We need to brainstorm and we need to agree whether the objective for which such reorganisation is to be done is in tandem and indeed will be accomplished.

“When that is not done, I find it disrespectful, I find it totally objectionable and I think it is not acceptable,” she stated.

Samuel Anyanwu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, stressed the need for the executive to respect the independence of each arm of Government, saying that powers attributed to each should not be underrated.

Senate Spokesperson Sabi Abdullahi has since refused to confirm whether or not underlying tension is brewing within the legislature.

“To the best of our knowledge, we don’t have cold war neither do we have hot war. But we don’t need to deny the fact that there is a kind of shaky relationship between us.

“We have managed the shaky relationship in the overall interest of this country because that supersedes any interest that might have given birth to the crisis.

“I also want to make it very clear, without any fear of contradiction that since we came on board, we were very sensitive to that and we have tried as much as possible to carry on our duty in a manner that is devoid of a sentiment attached to the perceived crisis.

“This is a democratic system and we are frontally engaging and that engagement is a continuous system through the instruments of our various committees," said Abdullahi.

Read more at Punch

- News24


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