9th National Assembly: What Buhari will do about choice of Senate President, Speaker – Ita Enang
President Muhammadu Buhari will not overstep his constitutional boundary on the issue of electing the leadership of the 9th National Assembly.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, stated this in Abuja on Friday.
He was reacting to a question on a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, which quoted Ovie Omo-Agege, the Delta Central senator as saying “Buhari will be “actively involved’’ in the process.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a man of high principles. His stand on this matter is that each arm of government should function according to what the constitution says.
“And that every person in government should do the right thing and that he will not go beyond what the constitution allows him.
“He believes that every other arm of government should stick to their constitutional responsibilities,’’ Mr Enang said.
His comments were coming amid reports that some ranking All Progressives Congress (APC) members-elect have begun moves to become principal officers of the Ninth Assembly.
The APC has emerged the majority party in the next Assembly with 65 senators-elect against the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s 37.
In the House of Representatives, the APC secured 211 seats, while the PDP won 111 slots in the February 23 National Assembly election.
Some APC senators-elect have reportedly advised the Presidency and the party’s leadership against sitting on the fence to avoid a repeat of the “2015 mistake’’ leadership tussle in the NASS.
Many believe that Mr Buhari’s indifference in 2015 led to the emergence of Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate against the will of the APC.
Mr Saraki later defected to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which remained a minority party in the outgoing eighth Senate.
Mr Enang also spoke on concerns in some quarters of the over 43 “greenhorn senators’’ expected in the Ninth Assembly and its effect on the quality of bills.
The SSA said there was no such thing as “greenhorn’’ as far as members of the National Assembly were concerned, adding that he expected the Ninth Assembly to be robust.
“Some of them are coming with extra wisdom and knowledge from their different backgrounds. So, we expect a robust legislature. We give them all the respect, we value them, we welcome them, treasure them. The executive respects them across party lines.
“For the executive, every senator or member of the House of Representatives, irrespective of their political party, is a legislator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”We want to relate with all of them equally. So, there is no greenhorn. They are simply distinguished senators and honourable members,’’ he said.