Reps applaud moves to settle executive-legislature rift internally
• We won't wash so-called dirty linen outside ― Hon Kalu
The leadership of the House of Representatives has reiterated its resolve to adopt the internal resolution of various crises between the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu stated this while giving an update on the outcome of over 4 hours closed-door meeting held at the instance of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio at the office of the Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Tuesday.
Hon. Kalu explained that the Minister’s visit was in “compliance with the principle of the new political philosophy of Mr President and the National Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), with the leadership of the National Assembly with the person of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives tripartite committee where issues that bother on governance and affect the interest of the arms of government will be discussed internally instead of washing the so-called dirty linen outside if any.”
The honourable Minister today deemed it right today to pay a courtesy call to the Clerk of the National Assembly who just resumed his office and in compliance with the principle of the new political philosophy of Mr President and the National Chairman of APC, with the leadership of the National Assembly with the person of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, decided to kill to kill two birds with one stone; visiting the CNA and also stopping by to interact with both the Chairman Senate Committee on NDDC, unfortunately, I was told that he was not around and also the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC who happens to be around.
“As you know we are on recess at the moment but there are certain committees that once in a while, is expected to come into the office to tidy up certain things for a smooth operation of the National Assembly. So luckily, I was on my way to see the chairman of NDDC, and I passed the honourable Minister of Niger Delta not even knowing that he was coming there. It wasn’t a pre-arranged meeting it was a courtesy call.
“I think what Nigerians need to know is that, as an advocate of separation of power, but the practice of separation of power should not be to the extent that we forget that though we are three arms of government, we are one government. The independency of an arm of government does not mean that it is in isolation from the general-purpose, general manifesto, general mandate, general agenda of the political power that is in power.”
The lawmaker maintained that: “Akpabio has started interacting not seeing the national assembly where he belongs and of course, has the right to visit as many times possible because once a senator always a senator. Instead of delegating people to get certain things done, he’s beginning to reach out to the institution that he knows very well to be able to get them to discuss issues affecting his performances in his ministry.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction and many have asked whether the National Assembly will be willing to cooperate with the new policy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Buhari, the policy of our party to bring the party, the Executive and the National Assembly together to discuss issues internally under the leadership of the Vice President. It’s a noble idea and we are supporting it, he’s the first minister to take the bold step towards that and yes we spent some times.
While reacting to the Minister’s poser that what transpired between him and the House and by extension the Committee was caused by the mischief, Hon. Kalu said: “I was not there when he addressed you, all I can’t speak about what he discussed with you. I will be addressing issues from the point of the National Assembly, not from the point of the Executive, he’s from the Executive and I’m sure he knows where if there’s any problem was coming from.
“For me, a member of the National Assembly and as the spokesperson of the National Assembly all I can tell you is that he has taken a bold step to implement what the President said about tripartite committee where the Executive and legislature and the party ought to sit down and talk. Yesterday (Tuesday) I was with the chairman of the party and I commended him for this particular policy of the party and if the Executive members are beginning to see value in that policy that is what we are celebrating.”
When asked whether the APC-led House is jettisoning one of the cardinal points of its policy on fighting corruption which the National Assembly has started, Hon. Kalu said: “Honestly, I think you are speaking for yourself. I don’t think you are repeating what I have said, there’s no how we have not mentioned corruption here, we have not mentioned anything we discussed there and you are just putting it to me that we are going to jettison corruption. That is a word too far that you have spoken.
“What I have said and will continue saying is that the Executive and the legislative arms are two independent arms of government remain in one government and they should in the course of carrying out their mandates remember that the intent, the objective, the goal of the government which they are part of should not be defeated. And any member of each arm that is reaching out to make sure that issues are addressed, issues are well sorted, I think it should be commended and that is what Akpabio has done today by reaching out.
“The position of the House cannot be made known by just speaking to you. We are not saying that the process that is put in place, that is allowed by the provisions of the Constitution in section 88 and 89 is going to be jettisoned, that is like you are asking for the amendment of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The mandate of the National Assembly is clearly spelt out in the constitution, just like the mandate of any minister. We are saying in carrying out these mandates we should always remember that we are of the same family A, B, C and also we are from the same government,” he told Parliamentary Correspondents.