President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly dismissed insinuations that the National Assembly has become rubber stamp in the hands of the executive arm under him.
According to Buhari, that his government has witnessed a cordial and robust relationship between the two arms does not in any way suggest a compromise as speculated in some quarters.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Umar El-Yakub, disclosed this to newsmen following last Friday’s signing into law, without the usual brickbat, the revised N10.8 trillion budget passed by the National Assembly in June.
In dismissing the claim, the president said the secret behind the affable relationship was his commitment to serve Nigerians and the determination of the legislators to live up to expectation and their duty to serve the people.
His words, “The executive arm of government has always partnered with the members of the National Assembly, especially the 9th Assembly, as demonstrated by their actions in terms of expeditious passage of bills as well as screening of nominees for various appointments.”
The president also pointed out that the symbiotic partnership was the outcome of a camaraderie aimed at servicing Nigerians generally.
Last month, the parliament had passed a bloated budget for 2020 as Nigeria tackles the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and a sharp fall in the price of oil – Nigeria’s biggest source of revenue.
The budget proposed by the Federal Government sought to reduce the 2020 budget from N10.6 trillion to N10.5 trillion. It was, however, increased by the lawmakers to N10.8 billion, higher than the initial approved budget in December 2019.
Buhari said, “I believe Nigerians voted members of the National Assembly to represent their interests and to work for their betterment as well as make laws for good governance and order for the country. To ensure that happens, the National Assembly certainly needs the executive arm of government because it is indeed the arm that implements those laws that have been passed by the National Assembly.
“As you have witnessed, the signing of the 2020 repeal and amendment bill is one of those the National Assembly looked at expeditiously because it is an amendment that was necessitated by the circumstances of the moment; that is, the pandemic, which also caused a serious strain on the economy in terms of the revenue generated, as well as other benchmarking indices.”