Omololu Ogunmade and Alex Enumah in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari last night in Abuja hosted the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and his colleagues in the leadership of the National Assembly at a fast breaking ceremony, lamenting that the frosty relationship between the executive and the eighth National Assembly and said it was not the best for national cohesion.
The event was also attended by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; and the Deputy Speaker, Hon Yusuf Lasun.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement said the president said the nation deserved better than it got from the current National Assembly.
Consequently, the president prayed for a better working relationship between the two arms of government in the forthcoming ninth National Assembly.
“Relations between the executive and the legislature were not the best in the 8th National Assembly. I sincerely hope each one of us will do his utmost to ensure there is a better working relationship between these two arms of government in the ninth assembly so that we can serve the people better,” he said.
According to the statement, the president said the principal task of the National Assembly “is to cooperate with the executive so that together, we can fashion policies that will lift our people out of poverty and out of illiteracy.”
He added: “I appeal to the distinguished senators and honourable members to subordinate all personal interests and ambitions to the imperative of working for the common good of our people.”
It also said the president congratulated the members-elect on their success in winning their constituency seats, adding that “this is a great burden and a great responsibility placed on you by your people. Our citizens are faced with challenges of poverty.”
The president was also quoted as saying: “Your principal task is to cooperate with the executive so that together, we can fashion policies that will lift our people out of poverty and out of illiteracy.
“I appeal to the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members to subordinate all personal interests and ambitions to the imperative of working for the common good of our people.”
The statement also said Buhari assured the leaders that his doors remain open “to all of you who have genuine concerns or advice to improve the quality of governance and service delivery to our people.”
According to the statement, Saraki assured the president that the National Assembly would maintain focus on national interest at all times.
“In addition to the President of the Senate and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the event was attended by the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Speaker, the Majority and Minority Leaders and the Majority and Minority Whips and their deputies,” the statement added.