Reps warn Buhari’s cabinet team not to cause rancour

The leadership of the House of Representatives has warned members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to desist from any act that is capable of truncating the hard-earned harmonious relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of government.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu gave the charge during a media briefing held in Abuja on the fallout of the recent crisis trailing the verbal war between the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Barrister Festus Keyamo and members of the joint Senate and House Committee on Labour and Productivity.

Hon. Kalu who commended President Buhari’s efforts toward achieving the feat, however, decried the untoward attitudes of some members of the President’s cabinet for failing to come to term with the powers conferred on the National Assembly to oversight both the Executive and Judiciary arms of government.

He maintained that the President as the head of the Executive arm of government “works so hard to achieve this robust relationship between the two arms of government, knowing what he suffered in his first tenure. He works so hard to make sure that the abuse will reduce not that an act of checks and balances will not be there but the more you less the rancour the more the respect for each other.

“And that will help the government to grow and the nation also would be built. But it appears like those who are under the President cannot read the body language of Mr President who himself appear before the National Assembly and appears humbly, bows with all respect to the members of the House; sits until he is discharged. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“When someone at that level understands governance, the team players with him, the cabinet members some of them are as if are learning the craft to understand. And there is a great difference between being an activist and running the government.

“And it is important for us to understand that in governance tolerance is that law. It is important to understand that in leadership patience and humility is important. So let us try as arms of government to sustain this harmony that is helping in our nation-building. Anything less than that may affect the smooth running of our government.”

While noting that the National Assembly has been labelled as ‘Rubber Stamp’ because of its disposition to make government and indeed the Executive to succeed, Hon. Kalu warned that: “but we should not be taken for granted when we ask a question. The Executive should understand that we have taken a tag, a label of bring a rubber stamp because we understand we want the government to prosper but should not be taken for granted because we are cooperating does not mean that we are unawareness the expectations of our office.

“When we exercise the expectations of our office, it is important that those who are in the position to relate with us, on that particular issue of exercising the mandate of the constitution with regards to our position and nothing personal,” the House spokesman stated.

While responding to question on the position of the controversies trailing the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, Hon. Kalu noted that the Court has no right to stop the House and indeed National Assembly from conducting the public hearing as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Does the court has such right? We are three arms of government. Nobody, no arm of government considering the doctrine of separation of powers has the right to stop us in the course of the exercise of our constitutional mandate. No arm either the Executive or the Judiciary.

“And the Constitution says that the legislative arm is separate, we can only regulate ourselves nobody can regulate us. You don’t come and tell us how to run it. We can tell you, what you are doing is not right because we oversight you, we are the watchdog.

“But no arm can come and tell us while we are doing our business. You wait for us to finish, if you feel what we have done is not good, you can go to court and contest it.

“And on the basis of middle ground, the bill might be reviewed but not while we are in the process of doing it. In short, you know the judgement of the Supreme Court recently on Dino Melaye on this issue.

“You find out that, that judgement is now a locus coscus case that while doing our job, you can’t come and interfere, wait for us to finish. So we knew because we make laws that those people who go to Court are making mistakes. So we continued with what we are doing knowing fully well that there was no order that says we should stop,” the House spokesman said.

He also warned members of the Executive arm of government to desist from exercising untoward attitude while interfacing with the Parliamentarians, saying “you don’t because we are in the executive session with you, that it is an atmosphere for corruption and that you will not do it.

“Once you appear before us that is our own court, we take care of our rules. So it’s good to understand that. And that for us not to bring rascality into government… So when you are invited by the Legislative arm of government there is nothing indicting, there’s nothing harassing,” he stressed.

 

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