By Leke Baiyewu
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said he deliberately avoided meddling in the selection of leaders for the National Assembly since he came into power in 2015.
Buhari noted that he believed in the independence of the parliament.
The President made the comment at a time when there is controversy over the composition of presiding officers for the 10th National Assembly billed for inauguration on June 13.
The National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress had on May 8, 2023, released the zoning formula for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, picking Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom/South-South) as President of the Senate; Jibrin Barau (Kano/North-West) for Deputy President of the Senate; Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna/North-West) for Speaker; and Benjamin Kalu (Abia/South-East) for Deputy Speaker.
Several aspirants for leadership positions in the Senate and the House have, however, kicked against the APC leadership zoning plan, vowing to go ahead and contest against the party’s chosen candidates.
Buhari, on Thursday, while inaugurating the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, the academic arm of the National Assembly, noted that his regime’s achievements were due to the harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
Buhari said in part, “From the moment of my election in 2015 and subsequently, I supported the idea of an independent National Assembly to decide its leadership and develop its agenda in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress.
“I refrain from meddling in the affairs of the legislature and promote, instead, a culture of mutual respect and collaboration between the two arms.
“The numerous positive outcomes for our country 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 and addressed some of the long-standing challenges which have hampered economic growth and development.
“This 9th Assembly will be remembered as one of the most productive in terms of output 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.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, described Buhari as the most parliament-friendly President since the beginning of the Fourth Republic.