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Presidency, NASS to APC: Put your house in order

The Presidency and leadership of the National Assembly have told the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to put its house in order and resolve all internal crises within the party.

 

In a 10-point resolution read by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, at the end of a two-day Executive/ Legislative retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, party supremacy was advocated.

 

The theme of the retreat was ‘Promoting Effective Executive-Legislative Partnership, finding a Middle Ground’. “The ruling political party should be encouraged to take ownership of its members to be able to reconcile them whenever conflict arises, and members in both arms of government should show regard for the party and its leadership,” one of the resolutions stated.

 

It also called for a concrete understanding and working knowledge between both the arms of government just as it noted that an effective confidence building measure should be put in place in the governance process to ensure mutual respect and cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislature.

 

The parley further recommended the creation of an effective conflict management and resolution mechanism in resolving areas of disagreement between the Executive and Legislature in the overall national interest.

 

Other recommendations were that there should be modalities for better access, interfacing and engagement between the leaderships of both arms of government, the NASS Committees and MDAs should be worked out by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and NASS-Executive Liaison.

 

“There should be regular pre-budget consultations between the Executive and Legislature, particularly between the MDAs and NASS Committees, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the appropriate Committee in NASS. “There is need for an effective communication and collaborative engagement to enhance and strengthen the relationship between the arms of government for the benefit of Nigerians.

 

“The relationship should not be adversarial, but complementary, thus, more interpersonal and informal relationship between heads of MDAs and NASS members should be encouraged. “Operators in the arms of government should act with moderation and limit their sense of entitlement by placing public interest over and above personal and parochial interest.

 

“The Presidency should strengthen the capacity of the Executive Liaison Offices in the National Assembly. “There is need for an organic budget law which will optimize the budgetary process so as to deliver effective and efficient service to the citizens,” Bello said.

 

The parley also set up a Joint Technical Committee of which membership will be announced later after due consultations. The committee is to: align the Federal Government’s 9-Point Priority Agenda with the Legislative Agenda of the Senate and House of Representatives to increase synergy, improve harmony and coordination of government policies and programmes.

 

The committee is also to articulate and synthesize the outcome of the retreat and make recommendations to Mr. President and the leadership of the National Assembly for necessary actions. It will provide inputs and recommendations to the Tripartite Committee Chaired by the Vice President for consideration and necessary action.

 

Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said that it would be callous and irresponsible if the executive and legislature do not work together to sort out the life-threatening problems the people of the country have to confront every day.

 

In his closing remarks at the retreat, Osinbajo noted that the context within which the arms of government operate is important, noting that given the situation in the country, it will be callous and irresponsible if the different arms of government don’t work together to resolve the problems.

 

Osinbajo said: “The fact that we have all been here for two working days demonstrates our common commitment to collaboration. “Frankly, we have no choice if we are not to fail the Nigerian people who have given us this incredible opportunity amongst  millions of our compatriots to serve at these high leadership levels we occupy today. “This is all about Nigeria and Nigerians. This is the context for our operations.

 

Let me say that every generation of leadership must understand context. Law itself must be interpreted and implemented in context. What is the reality of the context that we operate in today? We all know our nation has millions of extremely poor people; the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened employment and poverty.

 

“We have huge deficits in infrastructure; many children are out of school. If that is our context, we will be callous and irresponsible if we don’t come together, work together to sort out these grave, lifethreatening problems our people have to confront every day.

 

“The dogmatic emphasis on procedural niceties is a luxury we cannot afford. In  any event, there is no pure practice of the doctrine of separation of powers. The Anglo American traditions that we hold on to in support of the separation of powers are not pure. So, for example, the US Vice President serves as the president of the Senate and presides over the Senate’s daily proceedings.”

 

Participants at the twoday event include President Buhari, Osinbajo, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, principal officers of NASS and Chairmen of Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Others were members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), heads of agencies and senior government, officials including the management of the National Assembly.

 

The summit was convened by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Umar El-Yakub.

 

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