Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the upper legislative chamber has disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari on many occasions but they have adopted a method of going “behind the scenes” to settle their differences.
The senate under Bukola Saraki, his predecessor, had a frosty relationship with Buhari.
They clashed on a number of issues such as on the confirmation of nominees and the president’s request to obtain loans.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Lawan said it would be unfair to himself, senators and Nigerians to fight the executive in the name of independence for the arm of government he heads.
While insisting that the national assembly under his chairmanship is not a rubber-stamp legislature, the senate president said there would be better “service delivery” to the people when there is cooperation and mutual respect between the two arms of government.
“Do you know that we have disagreed with Mr. President, the executive arm of government, many times? People don’t know, because what we have adopted is to go behind the scenes and solve our problems,” he said.
“I have also witnessed better service delivery to the people when there was cooperation and mutual respect between the two arms.
“I think I will be unfair to myself, to the people and to the senators who elected me to choose right from the beginning to just fight in the name of independence of the legislature.
“I believe in the independence of the legislature more than people think. Now they say we are a rubber stamp assembly.
“What people don’t know is that there is nothing that in the opinion of the Senate or national assembly that will jeopardise the liberty of our people or against the interest of the majority of Nigerians that we will do.
“Call us anything, if you like, not rubber stamp, call us steel stamp or whatever it is. I can tell you, today this senate has done, in the last count, 27 confirmations.
“Tell me, if we didn’t do those confirmations; tell me how governance will be carried on? There will be so much arbitrariness, maybe ministers will take advantage of where they are to supervise; there could be a lot of abuse.
“So, we shouldn’t confirm people? If we confirm it is rubber stamping.”
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