The presidency yesterday stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would not interfere with the choice of the National Assembly leadership.
This is contrary to a statement credited to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta South) last week that the president would determine who becomes the next Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, who revealed this yesterday, told parliamentary reporters in Abuja yesterday that Buhari would always adhere to constitutional provisions and the principles of separation of power.
Enang stated that the president was a firm believer in the rule of law, hence he would allow each arm of government to perform its constitutional responsibility without throwing his weight behind anyone in the race for the leadership of the federal parliament.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that some senators-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had told journalists on Thursday that the presidency and the leadership of the party would provide the direction for both chambers as regards the leadership configuration so as to avoid the kind of crisis that engulfed the 8th Senate and, by extension, the 8th National Assembly .
The incoming lawmakers specifically cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC leadership against working at cross-purposes to avoid another tussle that would alter the party’s zoning formula.
But speaking yesterday, Enang said the president would remain neutral and allow the elected lawmakers to carry out their constitutional responsibility of picking its leaders.
He said, “The principle of President Muhammadu Buhari is that each arm of government should function according to what the constitution says, which is that every person in government should do the right thing.
“He (Buhari) will not go beyond what the constitution allows him and every arm of government should stick to its constitutional responsibilities.”
The presidential aide, however, urged the federal lawmakers to give priority to certain critical legislations like the 2019 Appropriation Bill, New Minimum Wage Bill, the Medium Terms Expenditure Framework and the budget of the various government agencies.
He said, “The budgets of the 64 different federal government-owned
agencies are still pending before the national parliament. Unless the budgets of the different agencies are considered and passed, we still have a lot to lose in terms of opportunities for employment in those ministries and some capital projects which would have increased government spending or the spending of the various agencies and parastatals.
“The executive is ready to come in and defend the budget. We have, in advance, worked with the committee on appropriation to determine a time table for the defence of their budgets.
“We have informed all the ministers, heads of departments, agencies and the ministries to be on the alert so that, immediately the bill is committed to the Committee on Appropriation, we will upon invitation appear before them.”
We Will Not Allow Imposition – APC Senators
Meanwhile, some senators from the governing APC have kicked against the reported interest of the wife of the national leader of the party, Oluremi Tinubu, to become the deputy senate president in the forthcoming Ninth Senate.
Senator Tinubu had said recently that her next target was to become the deputy senate president as she is the only woman with a third mandate in the Senate.
But some senators who spoke to our correspondent on the matter said they would not allow any form of imposition from anywhere in the coming Senate.
They said even though she is the wife of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, they would not allow him to impose his wife on them.
The senators, who do not want their names mentioned, advised the leadership of the party to consult each and every one of them before any candidate emerged.
Sources from the Senate, who sought anonymity, said:
“If we consider the status of our party and the support we got from the South West, the zone deserves the position of deputy Senate president.
One of the senators from the North West said, “ She doesn’t relate with us and never identified with the APC struggle in the Senate . Where was she when we were fighting for President Buhari in the Senate. How would she meet senators that she doesn’t relate with?”
“Her husband nominated the vice president. He has also nominated the next Speaker of House of Representatives . I have great respect for him but he cannot impose his wife on the Senate. That is not acceptable to my colleagues . We will resist it.”
Another senator from the North West said, “We need to do consensus and our input and sentiments should matter before any candidate emerges. The party can guide us to select the leaders that we can work with because that is the key to stability of the next Senate.”
He, however, insisted that “there is no place for imposition. The party will not impose on us.”
When asked his view about the ambition of Senator Tinubu, he said they would not support her for obvious reasons.
“The issue of attitude, loyalty and religious belief should be considered. Don’t forget that Senator Oluremi Tinubu has publicly criticised President Muhammadu Buhari many times. So, the issue of loyalty is key.”
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