Ndubuisi Orji and Fred Itua, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said a better working relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of government would be in the overall benefit of the electorate.
Buhari stated this in Abuja, while declaring open the median edition of the National Assembly Open Week which commenced yesterday.
The president, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of The Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said when he submitted the 2018 budget estimates to the National Assembly in November last year, he had expected quick passage of the Appropriation Bill, so as to return the country to a predictable budget cycle that runs from January to December.
He noted that “it was regrettable that the required Executive-Legislative collaboration was not reflected in the time it took to pass the Bill.”
However, president Buhari added that the government has taken cognizance of the detailed response by the legislature to issues he raised during the signing of the 2018 budget recently.
He said “the point to underscore firmly is that, a stronger and more cordial executive-legislative relationship must exist in the interest of the nation and the people that elected us into office. It must be a win-win situation for all Nigerians.”
Buhari stated that since assumption of office as president, in 2015, he has maintained a position that supports the independence of the various arms of government, in line with the principle of separation of powers, as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
“You are all aware of my open commitment to working with any set of leadership of the National Assembly that emerges, and I have remained true to it. This commitment is expected to take us beyond politics when dealing with the wellbeing of our citizens. We must continue to demonstrate our resolve to work harmoniously, while respecting the principles of separation of powers.
“It is my expectation that this open week will facilitate deeper reflection on issues that I have raised and others I have not mentioned in other to achieve a more harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislature, in order to deliver peace, security, and sustainable development to all Nigerians. I also hope that adequate time will be devoted to discussions on the issues of security in particular,” he stated.
Speaking at the event, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the open week is designed to enable the public interact with the lawmakers, on the activities of the legislature.
He expressed concern that the legislature remains the most understood arm of government in the country, noting that this is traceable to a misconceptions on the role of the parliament to stabilise the nation’s democracy and ensure accountability in governance.
Saraki added: “As a legislature, we are very much aware that modern democratic lawmaking requires the deliberate engagement of the people and issues that matter to the people should form the core objective of parliament.
It is hugely satisfying, therefore, to observe that, for the first time, the National Assembly is becoming the People’s Parliament, a place where all shades of opinion are aired, and experts are able to contribute their quota to the task of nation-building by helping to finds solutions that will bring about societal transformation. This is what an open, transparent, accountable and inclusive legislature is about.”