Buhari Seeks Improved Relationship With Legislature


Legislative arm misunderstood, says Saraki Adherence to rule of law crucial for democracy, Dogara insists
Deji Elumoye and James Emejo in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, expressed worry over the recurring controversy between the executive and the legislature, stressing that there was no evidence of collaboration, leading to the passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill by the National Assembly.

He said a stronger relationship between both arms of government was inevitable in the interest of the country.
Speaking at the opening of the maiden Open Week of the National Assembly, Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, however, expressed hope that the open day would afford Nigerians the opportunity to discuss the process of over-sighting role of parliament with a view to fine-tuning it.

The president also stressed the need for both the executive and legislature to be determined in working closely while respecting the rule of law.
He said Nigerians must stand against corruption; so, “it does not deny us our bright future.”
Buhari also charged participants to seize the opportunity to discuss the present security challenges confronting the country with a view to proffering lasting solutions.

Speaking earlier, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, expressed concern over the public misconception of the legislative arm of the government.
Saraki said he was concerned that the legislature was the most misunderstood because of its being the youngest of the three arms of government.
He said this was due largely to an abiding misconception as to the role of the legislature and its role to stabilise democracy and ensure accountability in governance.

Saraki therefore, expressed hope that the Open Week would go a long way towards helping to deepen the public understanding of the very real, indispensible work done by lawmakers, in line with their constitutional mandate.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, insisted that all arms of government must adhere strictly to the tenets of rule of law and separation of powers to function effectively in modern democracy.

He said this had become crucial in order to check tyranny and secure the liberty of citizens.
According to him, any leader who does not understand the cardinal principles of democracy should have no business leading a democratic dispensation.
The speaker said all the three arms including legislature, executive and judiciary- were designed to work in an orderly, synchronised and complementary form for development to really thrive, adding that this could however, be only achieved if the foundational principles of democracy were preserved.

According to him, the Parliamentary Open Week was a response to the Declaration of Parliamentary Openness at the World e-Parliament Conference in 2012, which prevailed on the world’s parliaments and legislative assemblies for an increased commitment to transparency, openness and citizens’ engagement.

He added that the Nigerian parliament had all the while been considerably open through its robust interface with citizens during committees’ public hearings, oversight functions, websites and through effective coverage by the print and electronic media, including live streaming and coverages of the sittings of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives.
He said what was needed now, was to up the ante in all platforms to further engage with the people in the spirit of the Declaration of Parliamentary Openness.