President Goodluck Jonathan
A closed door meeting, which lasted about two-hour between the leaders of the executive and the legislative arms yesterday ended without a statement from the participants.
The Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, and Chairman of the Nigerian Governor Forum (NGF), Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, met with President Goodluck Jonathan inside his office at the State House.
After the meeting, both Mark and Tambuwal refused to speak to State House correspondents. They left in the same vehicle with Amaechi, who is the governor of Rivers State.
Amaechi, who was spotted entering the vicinity of the President’s office came a little bit after Mark and Tambuwal had already gone into Jonathan’s office.
None of the trio, who did not display any hostility towards journalists, spent a few seconds trying to figure out how they would seat inside the Senate President’s car.
Amaechi, who was dressed in a jacket sat in front while Mark and Tambuwal, dressed in white and blue agbada, sat at the back of the car.
Amaechi exchanged banters with an aide of President Jonathan who was trying to find out how he will go out of the Presidential Villa.
He jocularly told the aide: “They told me to come with them here.”
Mark, who was the last to get into the car, was asked by journalists whether he had anything to say, kept mum and gently closed the door after him. Subsequently, with the Senate President’s car in front, the remaining cars trailed them out of the Villa.
Issues of the passage of the 2013 budget, the review of the 1999 Constitution and the sharing of the excess crude fund had been matters pitting the presidency against the lawmakers and the second-tier of government.
Another contentious issue is the fixing of the oil benchmark. President Jonathan, in his budget speech, had pegged the benchmark at $75 per barrel against differing figures ranging from $78 to $80 projected by the National Assembly.
On its part, the NGF has been at loggerhead with the presidency over the sharing of the excess crude. The matter, which is before a court, is yet to be resolved.