President has prerogative to appoint security chiefs, EFCC chairman ― Hon. El-Yakub

• Says it is unfair to call 9th National Assembly rubber-stamp legislature

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Reps), Mr Umar el-Yakub, on Thursday disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has the prerogative to appoint the Security Chiefs and Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Tribune Online reports that Mr. El-Yakub gave the clarification while responding to question on the President’s disposition to the clarion calls by the National Assembly and Nigerians over the security challenges facing the country.

The President’s aide said: “As for your question, let me say that you will get the same answer that I have given on the EFCC. It’s the prerogative of Mr. President to appoint any Service Chiefs. In fact, it is so much so that it’s only him that has the prerogative because he doesn’t even need the confirmation of the National Assembly.”

He added that Mr. President respects the opinion of Nigerians, adding that sometimes, there are certain things that one doesn’t know because certain information especially when it comes to security cannot be presented in the open.

He noted that the House resolved to go into executive session to engage the Security Chiefs to deliberate on the security challenges facing the country.

While congratulating the 9th National Assembly on its 1st anniversary, he argued that anyone who described the 9th Assembly as rubber stamp is uninformed of the need for the symbiotic relationship between the two arms of government for national development.

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“The legislature oversights the executive and the judiciary interpreted the law and the Executive implements the law. And indeed serve the people because it has the technical structure and the bureaucracy to do.

“So for one should think that this National Assembly has been a rubber stamp to the executive. Meanwhile, they were all elected to come and work with the Executive to deliver services to the Nigerian people. I think that will be an unfair categorisation of our institution that needs to be respected and appreciated.”

He maintained that the National Assembly has been proactive in the discharge of it constitutional functions including the input made into the annual budget by increasing the benchmark from $25 per barrel to $28 per barrel and maintained the oil production and exchange rate so as to give more money invested into other sectors of the economy.

Hon. El-Yakub said: “It has been very eventful. For us, it has been a very positive partnership as we have engaged the members of the National Assembly, from the part of the executive, on all matters of policy and legislation as regards those of interest from the Federal Government and the membership of the National Assembly.

“I must congratulate and appreciate them, and commend their commitment to the service of Nigeria and the Nigerian people. We have been partners in nation-building. We have been engaging on all issues of national importance and emergencies. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the leadership has been very consistent in engaging with the Federal Government via its officials on any and all matters of importance.”

El-Yakub, while responding to a question on constituency projects in the 2020 budget, said he did not have the details.

He, however, said: “There was no deal that I know of, that happened between the National Assembly and the executive for this budget to be passed. And I want to believe that the fact that I am not aware of it, also does not mean that it was something that could be contemplated.

“I want to believe that the leadership of the National Assembly are alive to their responsibilities as elected representatives of the people of Nigeria. This relationship is predicated on understanding and respect.”

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