President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, said he believed in a truly independent National Assembly, where members chose their leaders without executive interference, adding that, it was why he refrained from meddling in the choice of leaders elected by the National Assembly in 2015.
Buhari, who stated this after he inaugurated the permanent site of the National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies in Abuja, however, described the outgoing 9th assembly as the most productive federal legislature in recent times.
However, at another event, Buhari boasted that he was leaving behind the foundation of free and fair election, which produced the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
In another development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, took his prospective successor, Senator Kashim Shettima, on familiarisation tour of his wing of the State House, Abuja, four days to the end of the eight-year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This came as security forces have intensified surveillance of the nation’s capital with a warning from the Department of State Security (DSS) against plot to disrupt the inauguration programme, four days away.
Speaking at the event graced by the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, Buhari was believed to have alluded to the recent developments that have dogged the choices of the 10thassembly leadership ahead of its inauguration on June 13.
Those in attendance included the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Principal Officers of the National Assembly; the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, among other dignitaries,
Buhari noted that the harmonious working relationship between his administration and the 9th National Assembly, had led to the great successes recorded by his government but that he refrained from meddling in their internal affairs.
“The legislature is the cornerstone of any democracy and is vital to ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians are considered during the lawmaking process. It also performs critical functions of overseeing the Executive and ensuring that government spending aligns with legislative intent.
“As you are aware, from the moment of my election in 2015 and subsequently, I supported the idea of an independent National Assembly – an Assembly that is able to decide its leadership and develop its agenda in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I refrained from meddling in the affairs of the legislature and promoted instead, a culture of mutual respect and collaboration between the two arms. Our successes as a government are primarily due to the harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. The numerous positive outcomes for our country Nigeria underscore the importance of a harmonious Executive-Legislature relationship.
“Working with the National Assembly, we have passed an unprecedented number of Bills into law, provided funding for key infrastructure, implemented several governmental reforms, and addressed some of the long-standing challenges that have hampered economic growth and development.
“Our achievements in reforming the oil and gas sector, strengthening the electoral framework, diversifying our economy, improving transparency and accountability, tackling insecurity and entrenching good governance are easily verifiable.
“As such, this 9th Assembly will be remembered as one of the most productive in terms of outputs and outcomes. I thank the Leadership of the National Assembly for giving me the support required to deliver on my promises to Nigerians,” Buhari said, noting that the NILDS permanent site, remained “a critical first step towards bolstering the capacity of the legislature to improve its lawmaking, oversight and representation functions.”
Lawan commended Buhari for making the completion of the NILDS permanent site possible through adequate funding, and said the Ninth National Assembly also supported the President to ensure timely delivery of critical infrastructure.
“In the last three years, the Senate and the House dedicated a substantial part of the national budget towards funding infrastructure development across all six geo-political zones.
“As a result of this collaboration between the legislature and the executive, hundreds of roads, bridges and rail lines across Nigeria have been constructed or rehabilitated.
“In addition, we have also passed several legislations to provide an overarching framework for sustainable economic growth and development.
“Significantly, also, the investment in infrastructure development extends to all six geo-political zones of the country. Indeed, history will remember President Buhari’s tenacity and unwavering commitment to charting a new course for Nigeria,” he said.
Boasts of Laying Foundation for Free and Fair Elections
Meanwhile President Buhari, at the launch of the Biography of the mother of Emir of Kano and Emir of Bichi, titled “Maryam Ado Bayero: A Woman of Royal Virtue”, on Thursday, in Abuja, boasted of leaving behind the foundation for a free and fair election.
The book chronicles the life and times of Hajiya Maryam Ado Bayero, Mai Babban Daki, mother of two First Class Emirs of Kano and Bichi, Alhaji Aminu and Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari described the late Maryam as an extraordinary mother full of compassion and love for all who came her way.
His words: “Mr President finishing his eight years term in office strong and well, leaving behind many legacies, which include the foundation of free and fair election that has produced the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“It has also produced the legacy of achievements in the area of diversification of our economy, reforms of the petroleum industry and infrastructure. A few days ago, we saw him commission the second Niger Bridge, major parts of Kano-Abuja expressway as well as several roads and bridges. And, of course, he is finishing strong and well in pushing back the enemies of Nigeria through insurgency and other form of criminalities.”
Buhari further described the late Maryam as the embodiment of tradition and modernity, a thorough-bred royal who lived a life of a trailblazer, compassionate, human, generous and warm.
Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said the decision by the state government to immortalise the late Mai Babban Daki by supporting the book project was informed by its desire to inspire younger generations, particularly girls, to learn the lessons of life from a distinguished mother.
He said documenting the life of a distinguished mother was a service to history, knowledge and development, adding that “every part of her life is but a mirror for the present and future generations.”
Commenting on the life and time of the late Maryam, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who described her as her mother, urged Nigerian women to train up their children properly for them to bring glory to their mothers.
“Our late mother is a virtuous woman and I am proud to identify with her. I will urge Nigerian women to train their children so that one day they will bring glory to them,” he said.
Osinbajo Takes Shettima on Familiarisation Tour
Four days to the end of the eight-year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, took the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima on familiarisation tour of his wing of the State House, Abuja.
Speaking to newsmen after the tour, Shettima said, “At the instance of Vice President, who is a friend, a contemporary, I came here just to exchange ideas on how to move the nation forward.
“He took me round the offices out of courtesy and I want to commend him, I want to thank him for extending that courtesy to me. Yes, cross-fertilisation of ideas.”
Asked how soon Nigerians should expect the impact of the Tinubu-Shettima presidency, the former two-term governor of Borno State said, “I believe President Tinubu will hit the ground running from day one. He does not have the luxury of time. And I will be the Vice President, I don’t want to be presumptuous; I don’t want to make loud proclamation. But my interaction with him has shown that we will hit the ground running from day one.”
On the conferment of the GCON national honour on him earlier, he said, “It was a historical experience, a humbling experience. We are what we are, not because of our intellect, not because of our physical prowess, not because of our pedigree or political sagacity; it’s just a gift from God to humanity, four years or eight years in this time.
“I believe it’s a humbling experience, a call to national duty and by God’s grace, we need the support of all of you, especially the media to succeed. So, I wish to implore all of you to join us in building a new Nigeria.”
Tight Security in FCT as DSS Warns Disruptors
Security forces have intensified surveillance of the nation’s capital, just as the Department of State Security (DSS), has warned against plot to disrupt the inauguration programme.
Military aircraft and police helicopters have maintained steady patrol of the territory ahead of the May 29 handover.
Already, the federal government had directed security agencies to cordon off Federal Secretariat Complexes, notably, Phases l, Il, Ill and Ministry of Foreign Affairs from today.
THISDAY checks showed that some technicians of Zago Company were seen Wednesday night replacing metal covers of drainages in front of phase one of the federal secretariat with new ones.
Cleaning of the drainages around the complex were also carried out in what is understood to ensure that unwanted materials were not planted there while ensuring that any strange object could easily be retrieved.
The Federal Capital Territory had also ramped patrols of the territory.
Two days ago, there was a bomb scare, following a fire incident involving a coaster bus at the Federal Secretariat, which triggered a false alarm of a bomb explosion.
The police command later explained that the coaster bus, proceeding from Maitama, caught fire under the engine without the knowledge of the driver and later went up in flames on reaching the secretariat. No casualty was recorded.
A statement by DSS said the agency was aware of plans by subversive elements to disrupt the programmes in parts of the country.
“The aim is to undermine security agencies’ efforts at ensuring peaceful ceremonies as well as creating panic and fear among members of the public,” it said.
According to the DSS, “based on these, citizens, the media and civil society organisations are advised to adhere strictly to security and civil protocols during the events. They are also urged to shun fake news, false alarms, skewed reportage/narratives and sensationalism that may likely inflame division, tension and violence prior to and after the exercises.
“This is more so that such undesirable acts will serve no purpose other than destroying national unity and cohesion. Additionally, all unauthorised (and unaccredited) persons are warned to stay away from restricted and certain designated areas at the event venues.
“The service reiterates its earlier call for the populace to remain calm and law-abiding. Meanwhile, it will continue to sustain collaboration with sister agencies to ensure successful inaugurations.”
The statement signed by the DSS spokesperson, Dr Peter Afunanya, recalled that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council (PTC), Boss Mustapha, had on May 18, 2023, held a world press conference during which he announced activities for the presidential inauguration.
The major highlight of the activities is the swearing-in of the President on 29th May, 2023 in Abuja. On the same date, new governors will also be inaugurated in most of the states.
Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh, Adedayo Akinwale and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja