The Senate has blamed the frosty relationship shared with the Presidency on the disdain for its resolutions and “quick abuses’ on senators by presidential aides.
Speaking through the chairperson of its committee on media and public affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the upper legislative chamber said: “We passed resolutions, our resolutions are rubbished. If the resolutions are rubbished, what are we doing with the consideration of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC)? If we reject any of them what happens.
“We, therefore, mandated the Senate President to convey our worry to Mr. President. We needed a response in order for us to know exactly what we are doing. We did not say we will not confirm the RECs. What we need at this time is understanding of how democracy works. If we do, democracy will work better.”
Abdullahi had in statement expressed the Red Chamber’s readiness to work with the Presidential Committee on Executive-Legislature relations raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to chair the committee raised during the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) to smoothen the rough edges in the relationship between the two arms of government.
The statement described the establishment of the peace committee as a welcome development.
In the statement entitled: “The executive peace initiative is a welcome development”, Abdullahi said the Senate in particular and the National Assembly in general will be ready to co-operate with members of the committee to work and resolve the grey areas standing on the way of a smooth working relationship.
It reads: “We have heard about the initiative by President Muhammadu Buhari in setting up a Presidential Committee on Executive-Legislature Relations to be headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
”This initiative is a welcome development. It is a good step in the right direction. The Senate, in particular, and the National Assembly, in general, is ready to co-operate with the group and work with them to resolve all grey areas standing on way of the smooth working relationship needed to deepen our fledgeling democracy and ensure good governance for the benefits of Nigerians.”
Shedding more light on their understanding of the peace initiative, Abdullahi noted that since a committee had been set up, it meant there were some grey areas between the executive and legislature hindering cordial relationship.
Asked whether the National Assembly had been informed, he said that the leadership of the Senate asked him to react, which was an indication that the Senate President must have been communicated.
He added that when details of the committee are released, they would know the members and the number of National Assembly members that would be constituted to work the committee.
Asked whether the olive branch by the Executive would make the Senate to soft-pedal on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, Abdullahi said the Senate had always worked in the best interest of the country before the Magu issue came up.
His words: “We have worked to support Mr. President. From what I have seen as somebody speaking for this institution, whatever we do, we put the interest of the country first.
“There was no personal thing about Magu and the decision we took. Other members of the commission sent to us were screened and confirmed. Senators are just doing their job. There was nothing personal about Magu. Nobody should be happy that presidential aides are quick to abuse senators.”
On the suspension of the consideration and confirmation of 27 RECs sent to the Senate, Abdullahi said it was informed by the shabby treatment being given to the resolutions passed by the Senate.
This article originally appeared in The Nation.