Ninth N’Assembly Not ‘Yes’ Arm of Executive, Say House Members

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Despite all glaring evidence to the contrary, two members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Wumi Ogunlola, and Hon. Wole Oke, have assured Nigerians that the fact that the National Assembly is dominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) won’t make it compromise or be a rubber stamp to the executive.

Oke, who is representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun State, insisted that the ninth National Assembly is not a ‘yes’ arm of the executive.

This was coming a week after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that he was not elected by his constituency to fight the executive, but to engage and collaborate with stakeholders to bring dividends of democracy.

Oke, who was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement yesterday, however, assured that the legislative arm would make good laws that would ensure smooth implementation of policies by the executive for the benefit of all Nigerians in the coming year.

He added that his position was based on the significant successes recorded by the National Assembly within its inauguration especially the early passage of the 2020 budget which had already been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The lawmaker, who is also the Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, noted that the achievements recorded by the National Assembly was due to the harmonious working relationship among the lawmakers, as well as the executive arm of government.

Oke said: “The 2020 appropriation Bill was brought before the National Assembly on time by Mr. President and we worked on it and passed it. We returned it on time and it has been signed into law by the President.

“With this development, we are returning the country to era of January to December budget implementation. This alone and many others we have been able to do are signs of good things to come for the people in the coming year and beyond.

“That does not say the legislature is a yes arm of the government to the executive. If there are areas where we need to call the executive to order or to say no to certain things, we will gladly do that and we have been doing just that. It is only we have not been making noise about this. Our common interest is to provide dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

“Nigerians should be expecting real dividends of democracy in the coming year. That’s why we were voted to the National Assembly as their representatives to make good laws for executive arm of government to implement for the benefit of all the citizens, which is the exactly what is happening now.”

On his part, Ogunlola debunked the widespread perception that the ninth National Assembly was willingly pandering to the executive and compromising issues of national interest. He clarified that not all requests from Mr. President have been approved by the legislature.

The lawmaker, representing Ekiti Central Federal Constituency II, however, insisted that both arms of government must operate in an atmosphere of peace for the country to witness all-round development.

Ogunlola, who stated this while speaking with journalists in Ijero-Ekiti yesterday, explained that Nigerians must not assess the performance of the National Assembly with the number of times they disagreed with the president rather their interventions.

“I don’t think all what come to the National Assembly from the executive is approved. That is not correct. If you knew what they brought and what was given back to them, either reducing or adding to them, it wasn’t the same thing. This means some steps were taken by the National Assembly.

“I want to believe that it is only in atmosphere of peace that we can really forge ahead, and not when we are at loggerheads and fighting one another. It’s when we are at peace that we can sort out things. We can agree and have meetings of the like-minds. I want to break what the speaker said to mean that it is not when we fight that we can keep executives on their toes. It is not as if we don’t disagree. We may disagree but not openly.

“If we have misunderstanding, there would always be a roundtable talk to forge ahead. The word ‘rubber stamp’ is too demeaning,” Ogunlola alleged.