The Presidency has said a cordial relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government is more beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians instead of the two institutions frequently engaging in a fighting match.
Umar el-Yakub, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Reps), said this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday to review the relationship between the ninth National Assembly and the Muhammadu Buhari presidency in the last two years.
A good number of Nigerians have criticised the ninth assembly under the leadership of Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President; and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, for not purportedly challenging the actions of the Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency.
Some Nigerians have expressed their disgust about the apparent laissez-faire attitude of the federal lawmakers to the Presidency, describing the ninth assembly as a “rubber stamp”.
But according to el-Yakub, the legislature and elected members of the Presidency were not chosen by Nigerians to fight each other over supremacy.
He stated that both branches of government are supposed to have minimal differences as they are expected to be more focused on working together for the common good of Nigerians and the country.
He said: “I certainly would not canvass for a rough relationship because a rough relationship does not deliver results. Both the executive and the legislature are supposed to be responsible leaders. They were elected by the Nigerian people to come and collaborate and work for them.
“Like I said, we operate one government with various arms. There are three arms of government and three tiers along the line, and we are all supposed to work for the orderliness and good governance of this country. We are supposed to be partners in nation-building. We can certainly disagree. The legislature has a responsibility to oversight the executive, which, by the way, Mr President recognises and respects.
“Let me also quickly say that there are also areas of differences and disagreements. For instance, the Supplementary Act that the President just assented to, it was not what the executive brought that was finally approved by the National Assembly; there were changes. But the President went ahead and assented because he recognised they have the right to make those changes. So, what is important is, we disagree to agree on a common platform for the common good of the Nigerian people who elected the government into power.”
Asked if the cordial relation between both arms of government is yielding fruit, the presidential aide said: “I believe it is indeed yielding the right results and, of course, it could even yield better results; having these continuous, constructive and effective engagements. The benefits of a good relationship is clearly seen, one of which is the budget cycle.
“When you do a budget and you implement it, especially looking at the capital component of the budget, you will find out that the numerous infrastructural projects around the country are some of which have been realised because they have been put to use, like the rail and road infrastructure and hospitals. Others are ongoing and will be completed before the end of the year, some next year and certainly before the life of this administration (ends). They are certainly going to change things for the better because jobs would be create.
“So, even though there is certainly some sufferings in the land, God willing, with the development in infrastructure – because infrastructural development brings about economic development – you find that the more you open up your space the more you create the right infrastructure in education, health, roads, rails, a lot of people, even from the construction stages, are engaged and therefore given the opportunity to work. A lot of Nigerian youths are engaged in such construction projects.”