President Muhammadu Buhari has called for consensus on critical issues in order to strengthen the relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government.
Buhari also applauded the current National Assembly and particularly the leadership style of its chairman, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Buhari’s message was delivered by his chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at a birthday get-together hosted Wednesday night by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in honour of Lawan who clocked 63 on Wednesday.
A statement issued by the special adviser on media to the senate president, Ola Awoniyi, said Kalu and Lawan have been close friends since their school days at the University of Maiduguri in the early 80s.
Professor Gambari said the president sent him to deliver a congratulatory message and express his admiration about Lawan’s personal achievements.
“The third dimension of Mr President’s message is to commend the celebrant for the very able manner in which he has steered the affairs of the National Assembly.
“Some people assume that the role of the legislative arm of government is to oppose government. That is not the president’s understanding.
“The National Assembly is an arm of government just as the executive is. Just as the Judiciary is. That means the three arms of government are to work in a complementary manner.
“Therefore, Mr President views the kind of flair, the commitment, the passion, the constructive engagement with the executive under his leadership, the cooperation with the executive as a sign, not of weakness but strength.
“It is easy to be critical. It is easy to be negative but it is a lot more difficult and more challenging to have constructive engagement and cooperation with the executive. But the beneficiary of such constructive engagement and cooperation is the nation.
“One of the achievements is that we now have a budget that runs from January to December and Mr President has just signed the finance bill and budget for 2022.
“So, the president really commends the way in which he handles the affairs of the National Assembly and looks forward to many more periods of cooperation with your leadership,” Professor Gambari said.
Speaking at the occasion, the senate president appealed to politicians irrespective of their political affiliations to work towards building consensus on critical national issues.
“Politicians across the board must learn to arrive and achieve and sustain consensus on issues. Our country first. You can’t be president, you can’t be senator, you can’t be member of the House of Representatives, you can’t be governor, you can’t be anything unless there is a country.
“So we must build and sustain a consensus on certain fundamental issues about our country, the irreducible minimum below which nobody should go whether you are PDP or APC or APGA or whatever you are, because that will infringe on the very fabric of our country. So it is very important that we achieve that. Democratic countries elsewhere that are successful have largely achieved those kinds of consensus.
“Whether you are Party A or Party B, if you are voted into office, there are certain things you cannot afford to do. Political capital can be made from anything but certainly not those kinds of issues.
“I’m taking the opportunity today to appeal to all of us, politicians across the country, across board, to work for our country to achieve consensus on certain fundamental issues.
“Our people look up to us. They do what we give them education to do. Sometimes they go beyond what we think they will do. At times, it becomes much more costly to deal with the consequences or repercussions. I advise that we should build consensus.
“In the Senate, we have been able to achieve some kind of formidable unity and consensus on what we must do for our country. We believe that this country can only be better if political leaders decide to do the right thing.
“Regardless of our political affiliations, in the ninth Senate, we have always approached issues mainly in national interest,” Lawan said.