By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has raised the alarm over the continued deteriorating relationship between the National Assembly and President Mohammadu Buhari, saying the antagonistic approach of the lawmakers towards the President is frustrating and derailing Nigeria’s democracy.
In a terse statement issued yesterday and personally by the IPAC chairman, Mohammad Nalado, the umbrella body for registered political parties cautioned the federal lawmakers to subject themselves to party supremacy, even as he lamented that actions of the members of parliament have become a clog in the wheel of political and economic progress of the nation.
According to Nalado, the members of the National Assembly should understand the ruling party’s manifesto and cooperate with the executive to actualize the agenda of alleviating the hardship facing Nigerians, rather than always being critical of the government in every policy.
The statement issued by IPAC was in reaction to the point of order raised by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), in which he described the bailout fund granted to state governors as unconstitutional since it was not appropriated by NASS, seeking the Senate to probe the President for the constitutional breach.
However, the IPAC contended that the bailout policy was a timely intervention by the government in an emergency situation, which does not have to wait for National Assembly’s appropriation. Nalado, who is also the chairman of Accord Party (AP), said at the time the decision was taken by the President, about twenty three states owed civil servants salaries running into ten or fifteen months.
While pointing out that the lawmakers cannot even endure for two months if their salaries are not paid, the IPAC boss said the money was not for any federal government project but for the constituents who were facing excruciating hardship due to nonpayment of salaries by the governors.
“All that the President did was service to the people because it is not possible to allow people to stay one or two years without salaries, there was news everywhere that some governors were owing fifteen months, twelve months, and how do you expect or allow people with family to stay for that long without salary. And there was also economic recession biting hard across the country then.
“The workers that the government bailed out were in difficult situation because they had school fees, house rent and other bills to pay and this bailout was aimed to reduce crime and tension because some of them could have resorted to criminal activities if not for the government’s intervention. It was a bailout for emergency which could not have waited for National Assembly appropriation.
“But also, the governors who have received these money must be made give account on how they spent the money because the public is watching, they should make judicious use of the money for the purpose it was meant which is bailout. It should not be diverted for any political purpose”, IPAC cautioned.
At this point, he said IPAC cannot sit down and encourage actions that are inimical to democracy, charging the lawmakers to remember that this is the first time democracy has taken long in Nigeria, hence the practice should be sustained.