‘Cordial Bi-Partisan Relationship Is On Display In National Assembly’

Ekweremadu-okONE can submit that with the Tuesday penultimate session of the Senate where 81 Senators out of 109 in bi-partisan stance contrary to naysayers passed a vote of confidence on the President of the Senate and the Deputy President of the Senate and in tandem the House unanimously adopted Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as Majority Leader; more or less putting an end to an initial misstep. The near harmony in both chambers, from all indications has set the stage for cordial-bi-partisan-relationship in the 8th National Assembly.

In other words, feedback mechanism shows that cordial bi-partisan-relationship is actually what the greatest number of Nigerians, who have voted for change, who have been impoverished, who have been traumatized and despondent are earnestly yearning for.

Their confidence is not only reposed on the integrity political capital of President Muhammadu Buhari, but also on a vibrant and cooperative National Assembly. This is a reinforcement for their belief in a man they are sure will not submit budget or executive bill which will be at variance with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is in this context that some of us are at a loss why the main faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership is yet to come to terms and appreciate the advantages inherent in the cordial bi-partisan relationship constructed inadvertently by the duo of Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Hon. Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara

The questions pundits had posed since June 9, 2015, when the 8th National Assembly was inaugurated and the leadership emerged via the almighty Proclamation Order of President Buhari interalia are; in trumpeting party supremacy in their agitation, did this main faction of APC leadership regard the profound statement of Mr. President as per his observation of the timeless doctrine of separation of powers as a huge joke?

As a reminder Mr. President during his inauguration at Eagle Square on May 29, solemnly declared that the Federal Executive Council under his watch will not encroach on the legislature and the judiciary. He capped it up on his way to G-7 summit by saying that he can work with anybody elected by the Distinguished Senators and House members. So why subvert this innocent and refreshing pronouncement of I belong to nobody, but to everybody?

To some of us that attended the inauguration, the observation of the doctrine of separation of powers, hence independence of the legislature was a signpost of the change mantra. For in real terms the mock election organised by the APC National Working Committee was more or less the statues-quo anthem of the Peoples Democratic Party, defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party and defunct Congress for Progressive Change.

Secondly who actually convened or muted the idea of a meeting of APC legislators on the same date and almost the same time with the Proclamation Order date? The truism is that the International Conference Centre meeting was the straw which broke the Carmel’s back.

The cardinal question now is, will the cordial bi-partisan relationship be antithetical to President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime as insinuated in a section of the media? Or will it be more beneficial to President Buhari in delivering good governance to the Nigerian people?

I think President Muhammadu Buhari more that any Nigerian will benefit immensely from it; for one cannot locate those names, executive bills and budgets that Mr. President will remit to the National Assembly which will be rejected because of the leadership or the accidental bi-partisan legislature. In the history of liberal democracy all impeachment notices are normally prefaced with corrupt practices, which our dear president cannot succumb to no matter the pressure.

Some observers have canvassed that the various tendencies of the APC are jostling for who becomes the presidential candidate of the party in 2019. This is no doubt not an aberration; however is it not too early as it will definitely distract Mr. President.  And the question is, has President Buhari told anybody that he will do only one term? Those who canvass this should not forget how Robert Mugabe at 90 is still bouncing hale and hearty. With good governance, one envisages Nigerians calling on Mr. President to continue his good works. He should not for God’s sake allow himself to be distracted by gossip-terrorists and power merchants.

Okutu is the director of Good Governance Concern (GGC) Ibadan, Oyo State.

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