Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Wednesday began moves to thaw the frosty relations between the National Assembly and the Presidency with a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives.
The party, which commands majority in the nation’s bicameral legislature, met with the House Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and key members of the House leadership belonging to PDP to discuss how to improve relations with the executive and the legislature.
The meeting is the first leg in the peace process and will soon be followed by a similar one, which the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) will also have with the Senate.
Tension heightened between the National Assembly and the executive in July when the House passed a motion ordering a significant improvement in the implementation of the 2012 budget.
The crisis worsened shortly after the presentation of the 2013 budget following a disagreement between the House and the Presidency on the appropriate oil benchmark on which to base revenue projections in the next fiscal year.
While the Presidency favours $80 per barrel oil benchmark, the House is rooting for $75 with the Senate recommending $78.
THISDAY gathered that the PDP NWC had written a letter to Tambuwal requesting an audience to discuss issues of national importance, but the Speaker replied that instead of the NWC coming to see the House, the House leadership would rather come to the party national secretariat for the meeting.
It was as a result of this that Tambuwal led the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; House Leader, Mulikat Akande; Deputy House Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor and the House Chief Whip, Hon. Ishaka Mohammed Bawa, to the meeting with the party executive, chaired by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
In a brief remark before the meeting went into a closed session, the Speaker pledged loyalty to the party and said as far as the House was concerned, the relationship between the House and the executive remained cordial.
According to him, “We are working harmoniously with the executive arm of government for the benefit of the people of Nigeria. I want it to be on record that there is no bill from the executive arm of government that has not passed through the floor of the House of Representatives.
“Of course, debates must be taken, issues must be raised, policies must be criticised, bills must be criticised, but at the end of the day, we get to the desired destination of ensuring that the programmes of our government are passed.
“Mr. Chairman (referring to Tukur), we are working with our executive arm of government harmoniously in the end for the benefit of the people of Nigeria. Mr. Chairman that should be quite re-assuring to you, as the leader and father of our party, and to our NWC. Whatever it is that you might have been seeing, Mr. Chairman, it has to go that way, because that is what democracy is all about.
“Members of the National Assembly, particularly members of the PDP, are very much committed to the manifesto of our party and we are aware of what the manifesto of our party is all about. It was the manifesto of our party that we marketed and won elections.
“Mr. Chairman, we are very much abreast of the programmes of our party, we are keeping in line with those programmes, we are doing our best to ensure that our country and the people that elected us get the best out of all of us.”
Earlier, Tukur had urged the House to make laws that would ensure security, peace and development of Nigeria.
He also appealed to the House to ensure that performance remains lawmakers’ watchword, as the party would not hesitate to give automatic tickets to lawmakers that distinguish themselves at the National Assembly.
Commending the peaceful nature of the just-concluded United States presidential election, Tukur urged Nigerians to see elections as a contest and not a fight. He also urged politicians to shun the quest for litigations after elections, explaining that such exercise help in overheating the polity.