President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to address a joint session of the National Assembly on the worsening insecurity in Nigeria may not take place today as the governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have reportedly dissuaded him from honouring the invitation of the parliamentarians.
The House of Representatives, last week, passed a resolution inviting the President to come before the lawmakers and address them on the degenerating security situation across the country.
Buhari had accepted to honour the invitation and address a joint session of the National Assembly. However, a dramatic twist in the tale occurred on Tuesday night when the APC governors met with the APC Caucus in the National Assembly to deliberate on the issue. Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu led his colleagues to the meeting while the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila led the APC Caucus in the National Assembly. During the meeting which lasted several hours, the governors and lawmakers reportedly had heated debates on the invitation and whether the President should honour it.
The governors canvassed that allowing the President to appear before the House should be avoided as it will be setting a dangerous precedent in the relationship between the executive and legislature. The governors expressed fears that should the President honour the invitation, the State Houses of Assembly may want to take a cue from there to “harass” the governors by seeking frequent appearances on their respective state parliaments.
They also claimed that they had obtained an intelligence report that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus were planning to embarrass the president if he steps into the green chamber.
The governors also said it was better for APC Caucus to shelve the invitation in line with the resolution taken at the just-concluded National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the party and in the spirit of party supremacy. Governor of Katsina State, Bello Masari, was given the opportunity to speak to the lawmakers on the likely consequences of the president’s appearance before the lawmakers. Masari, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, advised the lawmakers against exposing Buhari to the opposition for ridicule, warning that it could impact negatively on the image of the ruling party.
New Telegraph gathered that though some lawmakers at the meeting were vehemently opposed to the advice of the governors, they were overruled by the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly. Chairman of the National Assembly, Lawan, who had already succumbed to the position of the governors, also prevailed on his colleagues to cancel the proposed engagement with the President in the interest of the party.