By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—-PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has advised Senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, not to follow the footsteps of the leadership of the outgoing eight senate, describing the relationship between the senate and executive as regrettable.
Mr President gave the advice when he hosted a dinner for serving APC senators and the Senators-elect for the ninth senate as well as Governors elected on the platform of the party at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday night.
He frowned at what he described as deliberate and persistent delay in passing the nation’s annual budget by the national assembly and challenged the in-coming 9th national assembly to do things differently from the outgoing 8th senate so as to enable his administration achieve its target of transforming the nation.
According to him, “This is my fifth and last time of standing for an election – for that reason I’ll like to leave something behind.
“And what I want to leave cannot be successfully done without your support.
“So, that is why I’m appealing for your support. What happened in the last senate and so on is regrettable because I still feel it shouldn’t take seven months to pass a budget. You have a very, very serious job ahead of you.
“So, what I’m appealing is that any major decision you are going to take please reflect more on the country than yourself as a person – what effect will it have on the country.”
He promised to work and partner with the 9th national assembly in promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the country.
In his remarks at the dinner, National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole boasted that the party would not share any of the leadership positions especially, the position of presiding officers with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as was the case in the eight Senate where the position of the deputy senate President was taken by the opposition.
He said leadership of the ninth assembly would be unadulterated, adding, “we are far ahead the main opposition in the parliament. 223 out of 360 we have all the numbers required to make all the laws in the national assembly.”
He also said, “Only one out of 16 APC senators that decamped to the opposition won election, it is the way God wants to punish them for us. The one that God allowed to remain (in apparent reference to Senator Dino Melaye) was for him to entertain his colleagues.
“Nigerians chose to bless us with huge majority in the National Assembly because they want a vibrant government. God has given us the numbers to support your change government so that Nigerians especially the poor can benefit.
“We need to look inward and learn the right lesson from what happened in 2015. This time around, the strategic committees which were in the hands of opposition, we will ensure our members take charge.
“To do so, we thought it is important to sit down with you as our father to discuss how the leadership of the national assembly will emerge. The purpose is to congratulate you and to provide a platform for the senators elect to interact with you.
“We want to produce a leadership that is purely APC and the one that will cooperate with the executive. we narrowly loss Sokoto State, I am very confident we will win in court because INEC changed the rule of the game half-way.
“We’re hopeful of winning Adamawa governorship polls. We have greater spread in 2019 compared to 2015. Areas that we had four percent, now we have over 30 percent.”
Also Speaking to State House correspondents after the dinner, Oshiomhole said the whole purpose of the event was to bond the new and old senators, to establish a new relationship between the executive and the legislature.
He said, “The system talks about the separation of powers between the executive and legislature and the two must handshake for things to happen.
“And when you have a president that is determined to drive changes, fundamental changes that will affect our habits, our life style, review the economy, deal with the security situation, fight corruption as fiercely as he is trying to do, he will need a very supportive legislative arm of government.
“And happily, the Nigerian people have given us the number in the legislative arm of government.
“All we have agreed today is that we will use these numbers as a functioning whole to determine the leadership of the senate in a way that we are not going to go to the floor of the senate and allow the opposition dictate who becomes the senate president.
“Because, we have comfortable majority to drive that, what we have to do is to manage that majority.’’
Also Speaking, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong said, “What the president has done today, I think is the right step in the right direction.
“The last time, we did not have the opportunity of this politics but today, Mr. President invited us because, we are governors and we also dialogue with our senators.
“Mr President said in order to avoid rancour, let me lay the way forward and we are very happy he has laid the way forward and because of that we are all going to work towards achieving the desire of Mr President for the good of this country.’’
On his part, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State said: “We took a step back to 2015 and reviewed what happened in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“Now, we want to go as one APC family notwithstanding our brothers from the other party. We are now talking about Nigeria first. The President requested that we all work for the betterment of Nigeria.
“As regards the leadership, the president requested that we work hand in hand to ensure that we come out as one family, so that what belongs to majority goes to majority and what belongs to minority goes to minority.
“We assured him of full cooperation to ensure we revamp economy, tackle insecurity and fight corruption. We assured him that the ninth Assembly will work in harmony with the executive arm.”