There strong indications that the National Assembly may have jettisoned the idea of changing the current leadership, following the defections by some of its principal officers including, Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
This is despite the threats earlier issued by the leaders of the All Progressive Congress APC, who see the continued stay in the office by the two principal officers as “ abnormal” since the PDP does not control majority in both Chambers of the National Assembly.
Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, while speaking with State House Correspondents on Friday after meeting with President Muhamamdu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, disclosed that the lawmakers have decided to put national interest above other interests.
Asked if they have dropped the idea of impeachment, Lawan replied “The National Assembly is a Nigerian parliament and therefore the best thing to do is to ensure that Nigerians gets a good deal and for now the good deal is for Nigeria to have all those pending request of Mr President approved by the National Assembly
“I think the national interest for now override any other interest”
Lawan also dismissed claims that Nigerians were expecting crises at the resumption of the National Assembly after the long recess adding that “ l don’t know what informed your view to anticipate crisis, but let me tell you that NASS will continue to remain focus on national issues”
“we must be patriotic, nationalistic,we must put national interest above individual, parochial or partisan interest.
He noted that members had to bury their hatchets to work for Nigeria and Nigerians adding that “perhaps that might have informed the disappointment of many people that there will be crisis in the National Assembly.
“Let me also say that disagreements are usual, in fact there are very practical components of any parliament,when you have 2 to 3 parties or even within parties you will have views that may differ. It is traditional, it is usual for us to disagree maybe this disagreements may crop up and some other issues but for now our focus is on national issues”
He explained that the lawmakers had to honour one of its members from Kwara who died recently on the first day of resumption.
“ So, traditionally we normally don’t work on such a day when the death will be officially announced. But Wednesday and Thursday witnessed the focus and concentration of members of the National Assembly on the request of Mr President for the funding of INEC for elections to be conducted in 2019 and we passed in the Senate and the House did also”
He disclosed that the Senate also passed the President’s request for N189 billion for INEC activities for 2019, while on Thursday, the committee on appropriation invited the head of the security agencies to come and defend the request that Mr President made on their behalf for funding of their supervisory and oversight roles during the elections in 2019.
Providing further details of the first legislative week after recess, Lawan said, “ we had the referral of the request of Mr President approval for foreign loan component of the 2018 appropriation and that is about 2.78 billion dollars eurobond.
“We have gone full blast consciously, purposely to ensure that Mr President gets what’s he request, we lost time because some of the issues were requested for before we went on our recess.
“But we have also in the Senate passed confirmations of the CBN deputy governor,ICPC governing body and we are determined to continue to do this throughout this period.
“Our intention is to ensure that Mr President doesn’t lack from inactivity of the NASS that whatever he requests, the fundamentals aspects especially will be attended to, this is our determination both as APC senators infact as senate and National Assembly”
BusinessDay also recall that on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari, continued his efforts at addressing the post election primaries crises rocking his party with a meeting with Governors. Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara).
Although the purpose of the meeting was not disclosed, BusinessDay gathered that it may not be unconnected with his efforts to find peaceful solutions to the crises.
This is coming on the heels of threats by some APC big wings to abandon the party for the shabby handling of the primaries.