The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has explained reasons the legislature cannot work in synergy with the executive.
Saraki made this known on Saturday at a retreat organised for the Senate’s Press Corps in Jos, Plateau State.
The Senate President who called for synergy between the legislature and the executive, said there is no way there will be synergy between both arms when a particular arm is calling the other one thieves or looters.
He said some of the lawmakers felt they were not consulted by the Presidency before Muhammadu Buhari granted the release of the money.
In his words: “In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together?
“How ? It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it.
“Imagine the Federal Government wants to raise a N4.6 trillion bond from the Capital Market. The leadership of the National Assembly first heard about it from through a letter written by the President.”
Saraki said posterity will judge the lawmakers adding that “If we do not change the way we behave, we will remain like this for many years to come.
“If you want to strengthen democracy, the priority of everybody is to strengthen the legislature.
“If you do not defend the legislature, there is no way that our democracy will be strengthened because government is not built on individuals.
“It is built on institutions.
“That is why in developed countries, governments can change, but it does not affect the stability of their democracy because their institutions are strong.
“We decided to run a presidential system of government.
“By its nature of checks and balances, there is bound to be frictions.
“The question now” is how healthy is that friction?”
Speaking on the delay in the passage of budget, Saraki said: “If you take the 2018 Budget for example, even before people had bothered to find out where the cause of the delay is coming from, people were already attacking and blaming the legislature.
“When I led the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to see Mr. President, he came to the meeting being briefed as if the delay was that of the National Assembly.
“He was humble enough at the end of the discussion to render an apology.”
In his remarks, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the two arms of government are those that define the existence of democratic governance in any given system.
Represented by his Deputy, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, Lalong said where unhealthy friction exists in the executive and legislature relationship, the health of democracy is threatened.
…says senators angry with Buhari
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on Saturday said that Nigerian senators have expressed strong reservations about President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to properly communicate his administration’s plan to spend $1 billion on arms procurement.
“Just few days ago, the issue of providing funding for the purchase of security equipment was in the news. In a good environment, such an issue needed to have been discussed with lawmakers,” The Nation quoted Mr Saraki as saying at a retreat for lawmakers in Jos Saturday. “Already, some senators are angry.”
Saraki said some lawmakers have already taken a position out of anger that they were not consulted before the $1 billion expenditure was made public. Two senators told PREMIUM TIMES in separate interviews Sunday that they queue behind the senate president.
Defence Minister, Mansur Ali disclosed last week that Buhari had approved new expenditure for arms and other equipment for the country’s security agencies to the tune of $1 billion.
The announcement elicited mixed reactions from administration’s supporters and critics.
Supporters hailed the president for taking the measure to stem the alarming level of insecurity in the country.
But critics, especially opposition voice like Ayo Fayose, dismissed the announcement as a political gimmick the president hatched to amass campaign war chest in 2019.
The president has not said whether he will seek reelection, but his moves over the past few months have continued to point towards that direction.
When members of the National Executive Council initially announced the plan to spend $1 billion on arms procurement in December, they said the money would be drawn from excess crude account and would be targeted at neutralising Boko Haram.
But critics questioned the motive, and Fayose, Ekiti State Governor, said the plan was lopsided and warned that there would be a serious backlash should any money be drawn from excess crude accounts without the approval of all states.
““Every state has its own peculiarities in terms of security. Ekiti has hunger haram where hunger is catching people everywhere. A lot of people are being kidnapped daily,” Fayose said in December. “They either vote money for me from the $1 billion or we share the money for everyone to go and solve their problem. I have challenges and I have to be left to handle my challenges. They should give me Ekiti money.”
But Zamafara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, fired back at the time, saying Fayose could no longer stop the process because a decision had already been taken.
“The number present was 32, so if someone who was not in attendance said he has his own way of where he wants things to go. We have the majority and there is no minority opinion. We look at our country, Nigeria first before any politics,” Yari said.