Abuja (Sundiata Post) — The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, has said Nigerians should be worried, if the executive and legislative walk and in gloves.
According to him, disagreements between the two arms of government are necessary, if democracy is to thrive.
He, however, described the relationship between executive and legislative as perfect, cordial, constitutional.
Enang, who was interacting with State House correspondents, said the constant interactions between the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, was a confirmation of the cordial relations between both arms.
Senate had last month suspended for two weeks, the consideration of 27 Resident Electoral Commissioner nominees (for the Independent National Electoral Commission), forwarded to it for confirmation by the President, until the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was sacked.
The Senate rejected Magu’s nomination, following a “security report” before it.
The Senate had also requested Buhari to sack of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, over a N200 million contract scam in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp involving a firm he has links to.
The Senate had also threatened to sack the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, if he fails to obey its order on the suspension of the policy on the collection of duties on old vehicles and also appearing before the Red Chambers in uniform.
The presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC) Chairman, Itse Sagay, has also been at loggerheads with the Senate, saying it lacks the authority to summon him for expressing an opinion.
According to the presidential aide, even though there appears to be tension sometimes between the two arms, like the screening of the ministerial and ambassadorial nominees, leading to some of them being dropped, it did not in anyway mean the executive and the legislature were at loggerheads.
He noted that the duty of the legislature is to screen nominees and their rejection of one or two was a demonstration of their being thorough on the job.
”I am here to confirm to you that the relationship between the executive and the legislature is very cordial, constitutional, and in all manners, usual.
“The relationship between the President and the Senate President is perfect and very cordial, personal and official.
“You have seen at many times the President of the Senate and even the Speaker of the House of Representatives coming to have personal interactions and briefing the President of the affairs of the legislature and other functions of the state.
“It appears that because of some incidences on the screening of some nominees, people think there are tensions. But let me assure you that the was no tension.
“It is only that the Constitution requires that when the President makes a nomination to the legislature, the legislature is to screen, consider and approve as thought fit. If the legislature has reason to have reservations, there is always consultation. It will make its opinion known to the executive by way of appropriate communication.
“Even if it appeared in the past that there were tensions, the actions of this week: the consultations between the President and the leaders of the National Assembly have doused all.
“The intervention of the National Working Committee of the APC, led by the National Chairman, has again completely put the question of tension or discord at rest. That too has further brought down what it appeared to be tension.
“In all the issues that have arisen, no question is raised by by the Legislature against the action of the President. It shows that in all manners, the President has not done anything that will make the legislature to call him to question.
“At anytime you will fine the legislature hands in gloves with the executive without the executive raising questions or the legislature asking questions, then the public should be worried.
“That is why we have separation of powers. Each of them should check each other. When these checks arise, that is when the public feels there is tension. There is absolutely no tension,” he said.
Enang also said that the no holds barred intervention by the national chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) has doused the tension between the executive and the legislature.
Enang said the Senate will on April 11th screen the 27 Residential Electoral Commissioners (RECs) they had earlier suspended.
He also said that the Presidential mediation committee set up by Buhari was to ensure that if there is any semblance of tension it will be addressed.
“In setting up a committee led by the Vice President, the President felt that, if there is any semblance of disagreement, it should be addressed. This shows that this government is very responsive. It is a welcome development,” he said.