By Alifa Daniel, Abuja.
National Assembly members of the committee to examine and work out a way out of the frosty Executive-Legislature relationship may emerge today, Monday, after the meeting of the Body of Principal Officers of each of the two chambers of the National Assembly. Usually the separate bodies meet on Mondays, mostly in the evenings, to consider issues for the week.
Already, following a rash of angry retorts from Senators, and obvious refusal to consider names of appointees sent to the Upper Chamber for screening by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Executive Arm set up its committee to meet with the federal legislators. It is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
One of such lists of appointees sent over is that of 27 states Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). Senators stood the list down for two weeks.
Senators are angry that weeks after they rejected Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), he continues to act in that position. They see this, as well as the continued retention of Col. Hameed Ali (red) as the Comptroller-General of Customs, as a spite to them and the institution of the Senate.
The Senate, two weeks ago, asked Ali to resign his position, declaring he was not fit to hold any public office.
The Senate came under intense public criticisms for these actions, but members have remained adamant, even insisting that one of its ardent critics and presidential appointee, Professor Itse Sagay, appears before its committee on ethics and privileges for alleged derogatory remarks against the Senate. Sagay and other prominent lawyers have said the Senate has no powers to summon him.
Last week, the All Progressives Congress (APC) resolved to intervene in the on-going rift between the Executive and the National Assembly, with the APC National Working Committee (NWC) deciding to meet with the Party’s Caucus of the Senate this Tuesday.
Worried by the worsening relationship between the two arms of government, the Party, according to a statement by its spokesman, Alhaji Bolaji Abdulahi, had embarked on a series of consultations with the key actors aimed at resolving the growing impasse. It would be recalled that the Party’s leadership, led by its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun recently met with the House of Representatives APC Caucus.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the APC National Chairman had used the opportunity of the meeting to plead with the House of Representatives members to continue to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, even in the face of some of the expressed grievances which may be considered as genuine. Abdullahi however added that the APC would not support any member of the Party or anyone appointed on its platform to disrespect the legislative institution.
Ahead of the Tuesday meeting with the Senate, the Party expresses its happiness with the committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to re-examine the Executive relationship with the National Assembly. The Party considers the committee headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as a step in the right direction, which demonstrates President Buhari’s recognition of the paramount importance of the legislative institution in a democracy.
The Party reiterates its commitment to ensure that the relationship between the two critical arms of government improves further, and commended the National Assembly leadership for its maturity and pre-disposition to have all the issues resolved as quickly as possible in the interest of the party and the nation as a whole.
The Party however warns that it would not hesitate to take appropriate action against any member whose utterances or behaviour are capable of jeopardizing the peace initiatives or further worsening the existing situation.