Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
At the end of two-day Executive/Legislative retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) have been advised to rein in its members to enable it resolve internal crises that may arise.
It also advocated respect for party leadership by its membership.
This was part of the 10-point recommendation contained in the communique read by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello at the end of the retreat at Banquet Hall of the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
The joint executive legislative leadership retreat had the theme: ‘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.”
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 are 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 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.”
The parley also constituted a Joint Technical Committee but said membership will be announced later after due consultations.
The committee is to: Align the 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.
“Articulate and synthesize the outcome of the Retreat and make recommendations to Mr. President and the Leadership of the National Assembly for necessary actions.
“Provide inputs and recommendations to the Tripartite Committee Chaired by the Vice President for consideration and necessary action.”
Meanwhile Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, it will be callous and irresponsible if the executive and legislature to do work together to sort out the grave life threatening problems the people of the country have to confront everyday.
In his closing remarks at the retreat, Vice President Yemi 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.
He 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 this high leadership levels we occupy today.”
While noting that “this is all about Nigeria and Nigerians,” he added: “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 life threatening problems our people have to confront everyday.
“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 two-day even include President Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chairmen of Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Others are Members of the Federal Executive Council, 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.