Vice President Kashim Shettima has promised to use his position towards ensuring unbreakable fraternal bond between the executive and the legislature, saying President Bola Tinubu remains committed to safeguarding Nigeria’s democracy.
Accordingly, he assured the leadership of the National Assembly of the President’s avowed commitment to entrenching democratic ideals and values through collaborative partnership with all arms of government.
The Vice President, according to a release issued by his Media Assistant, Stanley Nkwocha, spoke Friday when he declared open a retreat for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
According to him, the unrivalled democratic credentials of President Tinubu, which include legislative experience, will continue to rub off on the entrenched and valuable governance style of the President, especially as it borders on respect of the rule of law, adherence to separation of powers as well as deference for constitutional rights.
Shettima described the composition of the Federal Government as well as the leadership of the National Assembly as historical, unique and a major pathway to Nigeria’s unprecedented development.
This, he said, is more so that the expectations of Nigerians would be met regardless of the present challenges.
His words: “For the first time in our history, all the elected heads of our branches of government are produced by the hallowed halls of the National Assembly. For the first time in our history, the heart of the executive branch of our government is serviced by the alumni of the National Assembly. Both the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President are proud alumni of the National Assembly. The Secretary to the Federal Government is one of us.
“We cannot, therefore, afford to go to war. Not because we are going to overlook each other’s transgressions, but because you are going to engage with those who know the gravity of your work and would never take you for granted.”
Stressing the need for peaceful coherence among the arms of government, the Vice President said given the composition of the National Assembly, it has become emphatic that ranks are closed in the bid to give unprecedented service delivery and democratic pact to the Nigerian people.
“There’s no place in this country where you can find a fraternal bond as enduring as the ones that bind the members of the National Assembly. From converging on Abuja to water the dreams, debate the needs, and mitigate the fears of this diverse nation, we have forged friendships that defy the stereotypes of our differences. Term after term, election after election, old and new members return and exit, but the burden of managing a diverse nation has ensured that we cannot afford to tread the path of divisions,” Shettima noted.
He further reiterated the need for national cohesion, saying it has become non-negotiable if the country’s potentials must be fully harnessed and tapped for prosperity and generality of all Nigerians.
“You have a President and a Vice President who are one of you and recognize the sacrifices you make. President Tinubu has, with utter certainty, reassured us that we are not in government to go to war with the National Assembly. We are here to collaborate and march towards shared values.
“Governance is a collective responsibility, not a personal endeavour. Our most significant achievements were attained through cooperation and harmony. This is what we seek from you because we are brothers and sisters in pursuit of a country that serves all of us.
“The National Assembly is a complete spectrum of human experience. This is where you will witness eloquent testimonies of your colleagues in defence of reason. This is where you will witness profound debates that will dismantle your age-long assumptions. But, in the end, you will realize we are all bound by our fidelity to the ideals of democracy,” the Vice President charged the lawmakers.
Earlier, the Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, thanked President Tinubu for his continued support and deepened respect for legislative independence and harmony.
He said the Institute remains committed to working with the 10th Assembly in improving legislative governance.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja