Posted by News Express | 8 October 2015 | 3,782 times
President Muhammadu Buhari last night ate the humble pie, receiving Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Presidential Villa in Abuja for the first time since assuming office on May 29. While he had previously invited and met with Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the President had avoided Dr. Saraki like a plaque and had, according to an impeccable source, vowed not to work with him. Buhari, who was stoutly opposed to Saraki’s emergence as Senate President, “does not want to work with him because he believes it will make it difficult for him to effectively prosecute the anti-graft war,” the source, a top official of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had disclosed.
But with reality setting in about the difficulty in removing Saraki, who is also Chairman of the National Assembly (NASS), Buhari last night widely opened the doors of Aso Rock for him as he led no fewer than 20 members of the upper and lower chambers to a first-of-a-kind nocturnal meeting between the principal leaders of the Executive and Legislative arms of the incumbent federal government.
Sources said the meeting held at the First Lady’s conference room in the Presidential Villa, was convened to enable President Buhari enlist the support of the NASS leadership for the 2015 supplementary budget, as well as to familiarise with the lawmakers, especially as he will count on the support of upper chamber to confirm the ministerial nominees he sent last Friday. The screening of the ministerial nominees will start next Tuesday, October 13.
The legislators arrived at 8:45 p.m. for the meeting which commenced at 9:20 p.m.
President Buhari arrived for the meeting at 9:15 p.m. in company of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir David Lawal.
Saraki later told State House journalists that the meeting discussed how to foster a cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature.
The lawmakers in attendance included Senate Leader Ali Ndume, Senate Deputy Leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, Senate Minority Whip Philip Aduda, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, among others. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was, however, conspicuously absent.
The House of Representatives had last Wednesday passed a resolution mandating Speaker Dogara to intervene in the present challenges being faced by the Senate president.
The House had specifically resolved that its leadership meet with President Buhari with a view to politically resolve all outstanding issues relating to National Assembly in the interest of Nigerians.
Dr. Saraki is currently being prosecuted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for 13-count charges including alleged false assets declaration.
•Basd on reports from Vanguard and Daily Trust. Photo by Vanguard shows President Buhari, flanked by VP Osinbajo, receiving Senate President Saraki and his delegation . . . last night at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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