© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Saraki Downplays Executive/Senate Rift
Senate President Bukola Saraki has insisted that the relationship between the Senate and the executive is cordial, urging Nigerians and the media to quit reading false meanings into recent happenings in the upper legislative chamber.
Saraki was speaking with state house correspondents after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday.
He noted that the isolated cases where the Senate had to reject some nominees of the President do not translate into a frosty relationship with the presidency.
“It is cordial, you cannot examine it based on NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) or based on EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), we have other issues,” he said.
“We have ministerial issues that we are going to be working on, we have the budget that is more important, we have the issue of electoral act, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“We have so many important things and I think it’s a mixture of all that should guide us, don’t let us over heat the polity on some of these issues.”
On the issue of the suspension of the former Senate majority leader, Ali Ndume and the possibility of the suspension being lifted, Saraki said that he does not have the sole power to reverse the suspension.
He said: “We should try and understand how the parliament works. I wish I had such powers; these powers you give me I wish I had them.
“The president of the senate or the speaker (of the House of Representatives) is first among equals, they are just presiding officers but unfortunately you know the legislative arm is the youngest people don’t understand.
“People gave us these powers that we have. Decisions that are taken in plenary is decision of all but I have a role to be able to convey the message, I will convey the message of the governor of Borno who came to see me to the senate.
“The senate is one, we are all one family there will be issues like that, there is nothing that is sacrosanct or rigid.”
The Senate President also said that President Buhari has been briefed on the progress made so far with regards to the 2017 budget.
“We are working on it, just to let the president know how far we have gone with it,” he said.
“We are on course as you note last week we did ask all the sub committees to submit their reports to appropriation, all that has been done now.
“It’s now collation and review then hopefully it will be passed very soon.”