I can’t reverse Ndume’s suspension, Says Saraki
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday said that he has no power to reverse the suspension of Senator Ali Ndume from the Senate.
Ndume was recently suspended for six months by the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Saraki said that the issue of Ndume’s suspension was beyond him.
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 or Speaker is first among equals they are just presiding officers but unfortunately you know the legislative arm is the youngest people don’t understand, people give us this 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 visit of the Governor of Borno and the Senate is one, we are all one family there will be issues like that, there is nothing that is sacrosanct or rigid.” he said
He also disclosed that the National Assembly is working hard on the 2017 Budget.
According to him, one of the reasons for visiting the President is to let him know how far the National Assembly has gone on the 2017 budget.
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.
On the suspension of screening of Resident Electoral Commissioners, he said “As I said this is a routine meeting, there are many things that is important but there are other things that is even more important to do which is the budget.
“We talked also about the INEC bill that we have passed I took the president through some of the areas, very important areas because you know the President over many years is somebody that has gone to many elections and seen, so that was something he was really excited about, some of the new amendments like electronic voting, talks about electronic process for collation, those are landmark achievements that we hope that very soon the House will concur and will all come here for the President to assent.
“Some of these other issues it will happen but I don’t think it’s a major issue, but we are still moving ahead and still consulting.” he said
On his views on the reconciliatory committee set up, he said “Good development, but like I said there will always be issues on one or two things, it doesn’t mean that it is the foundation of it, when you have an arm of government that has to do with confirmation there will always be, for example the NDDC bill we rejected 3 people from NDDC we keep on moving, we are all part of one government that is why despite all these, still major decisions are taken, like I said we did a critical amendments on INEC by Tuesday or Wednesday. For the first time in the history of the legislature, we are going to lay a report on the PIB for consideration, it has never happened, for the past 20 years it has not gotten to this stage, so its work in progress for the interest of Nigeria.
“Don’t let us get distracted by one or two infractions, it’s bound to happen, even America that we are copying even today as we are watching, see what is happening on the Supreme court these are things that happen on the part of democracy but I can reassure Nigerians that it’s just a drop in the ocean, it is not an issue that should stir the whole nation, be rest assured.
Asked if the relationship between legislature and executive is cordial, he said “It is cordial, you cannot examine it based on NDDC, based on EFCC, we have other issues, we have ministerial nominees that we are going to be working on, we have the budget that is more important, we have INEC, 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 on some of these issues.”
Speaking further on his visit to the Villa, he said “As you know this is a routine, it’s part of the consultation and collaboration that we observed that has helped in improving the workings together, it’s just a routine and review, most important issue now is the budget.”
Also speaking with journalists, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said that his visit to the seat of power was routine.
He said “It baffles me when people see you visit Mr. President they will think something is wrong, nothing is wrong, it is routine visits.
According to him, the face-off between the executive and legislature over the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, is not a crisis.
He said “You might look at it as crisis but I don’t look at it as crisis. You know I have always said this that as a government our value will be the problems we have solve.
“We can’t be remembered for avoiding, we can’t be remembered for running away from problems, it is only when we provide solution to some of the things you refer to as crisis and we look at it as opportunities to begin the new that people will now remember us for putting down enduring legacies.
“But when we run away from everything that appears to be trouble we will not make it.
Asked whether he has solved the problem from the meeting, he said “I tell you they will overcome it. I’m not in the Senate and I am not the Spokesperson for the Senate so the Senate will speak for themselves.
On whether the planned protest against the National Assembly was manipulated from outside, he said “I wouldn’t know, this is a democracy we are running and we have to open the space to civil society, to everyone who feel aggrieved to be able to air his grievances.
“So, if they have grievances against the institution of the legislature we will take it. You see the point is we should never run away from crisis, crisis are always wonderful opportunities for us to begin the new, for us to set new boundaries, for us to begin to examine things in a new way.
“So we should welcome crisis, they are the engines that always propel growth and progress. So if anyone think he has issues with the national assembly let him come and we will have the opportunity to explain, that is the beauty of democracy,” he said.
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