President Muhammadu Buhari and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, have brainstormed over the rising cases of violent attacks at political parties’ rallies and the newly introduced cash withdrawal limit by the nation’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This is just as the House Speaker also revealed that the National Assembly will on Thursday pass the 2023 budget estimate of the Federal Government.
The Speaker, who made this known to newsmen at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday after the closed door meeting in the President’s office described his meeting with the President as routine and meant to deliberate on key national issues while not revealing the outcome.
He also clarified that the House of Representatives was not involved in the ongoing controversy stirred by its member representing Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa and Yankwashi federal Constituency in Jigawa State, Hon. Gudaji Kazaure, over the alleged missing N89 trillion accruing from Stamp Duty.
Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, Gbajabiamila said: “It’s the regular routine discussions on state matters and, and of national interest. I haven’t seen the President in a little while. He’s been away. He just got back. Of course, also his birthday.
“But more importantly, we had to discuss issues surrounding state matters.”
Commenting on state matters, the Speaker said: “Things have come up, you know, things have come up in the last few weeks. Things come up every day, Nigeria every day. And the last few days, some things have come up.
“I’m sure you know, some of these things. And I just wanted to get his perspective on them and give him mine and that of the National Assembly’s perspective and position on those matters. And we had a fruitful discussion.”
Asked for the specific issues discussed at the meeting, Gbajabiamila stated: “Well, I wasn’t actually intending to talk to the press. It was just a discussion between the President and I but of course, there were issues around cashless policy, issues around elections and violence that seem to be erupting here and there and a couple of other very important matters as well.”
He noted that the House was not involved in the Stamp Duty controversy because Kazaure was working with his team independent of the legislature, saying: “Kazure, from my understanding is working with whoever he’s working with.
“If it necessitates the House coming in, we will come in. If he has an official function, he should go ahead and do his work. But this has nothing to do with National Assembly. Not that I know of.”
Asked further if the National Assembly was involved in the matter, the Speaker stressed: “No, no, no, no, no. It was not based on a resolution of the National Assembly. It was not based on a motion from the National Assembly. I believe he said he had the executive authority to do what he’s doing. If that’s be the case, I mean, then it’s got nothing to do with the National Assembly.”
On whether the House might call the Jigawa lawmaker to order, he said Kazaure has not infringed on the character of the House or its members to necessitate that.
According to him: “Well, the House can only call Kazure to order to the extent that he is impugning on the integrity of the House or individuals or leadership of the House that have nothing to do with what he’s doing.
“I think it’s important to separate the two. If he has a mandate to do something, that’s on him. When it came up, we had asked members of the executive, they said they were not aware of any mandate or such mandate has been withdrawn.
“I don’t want to get into it. I don’t want to get into it except to the extent that he tries to impugn on the integrity of members of the House. And that’s a no no, we have nothing to do with this.”
Projecting on the activities of the House next year, Gbajabiamila pointed out that the Green Chamber would round up the Ninth session and go on break to campaign for the elections.
His words: “We’re going to be rounding up our session. And of course, you know, when we resume in January, it’s going to be just barely five weeks before elections. So, it’s probably going to have very little time to sit with maybe about a week to 10 days before we all go for campaigns and elections.
“In that one week to 10 days, we intend to cram in a lot. For now, We’re going to pass the budget on Thursday. Hopefully, when we come back in January, we’ll do some housecleaning matters.
“Like I said, things come up every single day Nigeria. So, we don’t know what’s going to come up any time and then we close for for campaigns.
The Speaker also used the opportunity to congratulate President Buhari on his recent 80th birthday anniversary.
His words: “And so, let me also use this opportunity. I mean, President was in America during his birthday. Many of us were not available with him in America to wish him well. But we did wish him happy birthday. And I did the same thing upstairs with him. We wished him very good birthday, good tidings and I prayed for his longer life, continued protection and Allah’s continued blessings on his life. So happy birthday to Mr. President.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja