PRESIDENT Muhammad Buhari has said he “always” try to be loyal and obedient to the Nigerian constitution so long as it is “humanly possible”, adding that he would ensure equity and fairness that put the ordinary Nigerian on top priority.
President Buhari made the statement while addressing speakers of the state House of Assembly on Thursday in Abuja, according to a press release signed by Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity.
The president had told the lawmakers that he would continue to focus on health, education, infrastructure and improving lives through social intervention programmes.
Noting that the constitution upholds the standards for all public officers and institutional operations, President Buhari said it could be adhered to, or altered to reflect some dynamics of the country.
He told the state lawmakers that the autonomy of state legislatures had been constrained by the constitution, adding that they should place the interest of the people first in all deliberations and negotiations.
“I try as much as I can to always be loyal and obedient to the constitution so long as it is humanly possible,’’ he said.
He said his administration would keep “pursuing the prosperity of all Nigerians by creating more jobs for the people, and plugging the weaknesses exploited by many to make quick money”.
“The 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for seven months. And I had to call the Senate President and the Speaker then. I told them by delaying passage of the budget you are not hurting Buhari, but the people,’’ the President said.
He added that administration had dedicated “significant resources” to key social services sectors especially in health and education.
“I also want to assure you that we remain committed to ensuring that equity and fairness prevail in governance. I will ensure that we consult your conference to further enhance the positive impact of our interventions across the country,’’ Buhari said.
The Chairman of the Conference of Speakers, Mudashiru Obasa who is also the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, urged the President to consider supporting the devolution of powers to states on some issues on the exclusive list like railway and the police for more effective governance.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians hold a contrary view to the claim of the President about being loyal and obedient to the constitution.
The arrest and detainment of Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters by the Department of State Security Service have been described by some Nigerians, national and international organisations as a deprivation of the respect to the rule of law.
Professor Wole Soyinka had recently pleaded for the rule of law to reign in the country, saying the failure to obey the law could lead to the death of ordered society.