By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila has declared that he was not elected to fight the executive. Professor Gbajabiamila made this pronouncement during the Gbaja 2019 End of the Year Grassroots Empowerment Programme held yesterday, Sunday 22nd December, 2019. The Speaker was reacting to insinuations and criticisms of the National Assembly (NASS) which some critics have described as a rubber stamp institution under President Muhammadu Buhari. Gbajabiamila insisted that the NASS is irrevocably committed to the protection of the interest of the Nigerian people through diligent discharge of its legislative duties.
Contributing to this national discourse, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has warned critics to stop blackmailing the Nigerian legislature. According to to the human rights group, harmony between the legislature and the executive can only translate to progress for the nation. This was disclosed in a press statement issued by the organization on Monday, 23rd December, 2019. The statement was signed by MURIC’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads in full: “We fully endorse Speaker Gbajabiamila’s comment. We commend him for coming out with such a bold declaration. Harmony between the legislature and the executive can only translate to progress for the nation. We prefer cooperation between the legislature and the executive to hostility and incoherence. What did the Nigerian citizens gain from the endless confrontation which characterized the 8th Senate? It was fully sarakitised to the detriment of tax-payers.
“Senators in the 8th NASS abandoned their primary assignments and spent the greater part of the time following the Senate president to court sessions. Lawmakers became unrepentant law breakers, established comedians and professional tree-climbers. Opportunist inheritors among them manifested a shameless capacity to out-do Michael Jackson and to jump out of windows at the approach of examination supervisors.
“Fortunately Nigerians were not deceived. The group of deceitful lawmakers were sent packing by the electorate. It is not surprising, therefore, that some miscreants, unpatriotic and unscrupulous Nigerians now make it their daily passtime to accuse the current distinguished senators of being rubber stamps of the executive. Talk of pot calling kettle black. It is cheap blackmail. We know those behind this dirty game. We also know their objective. They confronted the executive in their own time because they knew that the war against corruption would catch up with them since they had skeletons in their cupboards. Their intention was to bring down the government but they failed.
“MURIC urges the 9th Senate to ignore critics and wailers. We appeal to the surrent senators to continue in the same path of full cooperation with the executive. They should not allow anyone to goad them into any confrontation. We voted them into the NASS to facilitate the law making process and to promote good governance, not to constitute clogs in the wheel of progress for the executive or harbingers of pain and distress for the citizenry.
“In comparison, the 8th Senate leadership was an agent of darkness while the leadership of the 9th Senate is an agent of light. Darkness and light cannot stay together. The leadership of the 8thSenate plunged this country into darkness for four good years. The two senates are just incompatible. One delayed budget for seven months while the other returned the country to the old January to December budget cycle by dutifully and meticulously screening the budget and passing it without undue delay.
“Our message to the current senators is this: Distinguished Senators of the 9th Senate, you are the light of the age. Continue to lighten up our great nation by ensuring harmony between you and the executive. Posterity will not forget your positive role in bringing growth and development to our country, Nigeria.
“As we take a break, we warn fifth columnists, critics and wailers to stop blackmailing the 9th NASS. We charge current legislators to ignore detractors and to squarely face the business of lawmaking and the promotion of good governance. The difference between the 8th and the 9th NASS is like the difference between night and day. It is dawn in Nigeria.”