Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Boss Mustapha, the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on Monday called for synergy between the Executive and Legislative arms of government in the bid to improve the well-being of the citizenry.
While addressing the new SGF who paid a working visit to the Speaker at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, Dogara described the appointment of Mustapha as “a round peg in a round hole, or a square peg in a square hole”, and stated that the President “hit the nail on the head.”
He said the visit to the National Assembly by the new SGF is unprecedented in the history of the parliament saying, “it’s never been done. In those days it was invitations extended to them, then a discussion whether they’ll appear at all would ensue. In some cases, some members of the Executive would go to to court on the basis of legislative summons.
“That is because powers of every sort usually led to abuses. So the rule that people always use to guard was that: ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. And that is why we have the three Departments of Government, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, all of us doing the work of democracy. So it was an idea of the founding fathers of democracy that it would take some kind of cooperation and consensus among the different arms of Government for us to make progress as a people.
“We want to reassure you of our desire to work with the Executive in order to see that we deliver the goods for the people. As a matter of fact for us, there really is no distinction in government, it’s just ignorant people who tend to make these distinctions. If the Executive fails, there’s no way the Legislature would be exonerated, we are all guilty.
“I’ve always been mindful of our place in history, that is why we have organized this House with the leaders that you see here and some of the members of the House of Representatives to always work on the policies and programmes of Government with little or no resistance, bearing in mind that if we succeed, we succeed together and if we don’t succeed history would say, you’re a Speaker, you’re a Leader and a Member of Parliament when this Government failed.”
Speaking earlier, the SGF recalled the role played by Speaker Dogara in the process that led to the victory of the All Progressive Congress in the 2015 general elections.
“Let me single out not for any reason, the Speaker. I remember when this whole enterprise started, we were asked to serve in the national convention committee with you. You were the nominee of the House of Reps in that committee and we worked for months to put up a convention and a selection process that is adjudged to be the best ever in this country.
“You worked with us inspite of your numerous schedules in the National Assembly and what eventually happened in Lagos was a product of your input, commitment and dedication that you had put into the enterprise. So you were part of the process through which President Muhammadu Buhari emerged as our candidate in December of 2014,” he said.
Mustapha also thanked the leadership of the House of Representatives for standing with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari saying, “I bring you the warm greetings of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to also extend his thanks to your leadership in the House of Representatives for the level of progress that has been achieved thus far in the area of the primary responsibility.”
He acknowledged that without the support extended by the Speaker to the President, “the modest efforts that have been achieved would not have been achieved to date. So I want to particularly thank you with your leadership for maintaining stability in the body polity and for also ensuring that whenever there is a call to duty, you attend to the matters of state expeditiously.”
Mustapha maintained that the National Assembly are not competitors to the federal executives, but that they are “joint owners of this enterprise.”
He further acknowledged the huge role played by legislators in the 2015 election.
“We went around this country with most of you, campaigning to ensure that we win elections and it behooves on us to ensure that in the implementation of government policies, that we take steps that will provide for the well-being of our people.”
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja