By Ikechukwu Okaforadi Christiana Ekpa
The newly sworn in Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, yesterday told the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that President Mohammadu Buhari is not in competition with the National Assembly.
Boss Mustapha, who paid a courtesy call on the Senate President yesterday in the National Assembly, said the both arms of government required corporation to achieve their campaign promises to Nigerian.
“I will say this and I will say it quite frankly sir, we are not in competition with the National Assembly. We are not rivals with the National Assembly. We are joint partners in this enterprise. If the National Assembly does not cooperate with the Presidency, I am not very sure we will be able to achieve the desired result that we want to see given the mandate that we have freely received from the people of Nigeria.
“So, this is basically to come and assure you that in every area that you are soliciting for the cooperation of the Presidency, being the Secretary to the Government, I would ensure that the National Assembly receives that cooperation because jointly if we work together, whatever has been lost in the past we can quickly redeem and recover and make progress so that by the time the first four-year mandate that we received comes to an end we can show on our scorecard that these were the promises we made”, he said.
Speaking further, he said the President is passionate about the three-pronged approach that he has brought to government, including to fight for the security of the country and defeat insurgency in every part of this country, to diversify the economy and thirdly, to fight corruption and ensure, in his very common parlance, if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
He explained that none of these three-pronged approach can be achieved if there is no corporation between the National Assembly particularly now the Senate, and the President, adding that the economy cannot be diversified because that would mean that Bills will have to come to the National Assembly which will be debated and eventually returned to the executive for assent.
Responding, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the visit was very symbolic, adding that it was the first time the 8th Senate is receiving an SGF, hence it marks new phase of corporation between both arms of government for democracy and good governance.
“You know that in the presidential system that we are running in this democracy, it is not possible for us to be able to achieve all our goals if the Executive and Legislature do not have – not just an okay relationship – a fantastic and very close relationship.
“And what you have done this afternoon has really brought that closer and I am sure that all my colleagues are going to appreciate that on the floor tomorrow when I communicate this to them. Truly, you have started on a very good note and I congratulate you.
“Thank you for all your kind words when you talked about some of the work we have done in the past together in bringing the government together and we will continue to work together to ensure that we deliver on our promises. As you said, the constitution is very clear on what our responsibilities are. You did not write it and I did not write it, neither did any of us in the National Assembly today but we have all sworn to it and we must continue to ensure that we work with it and we work for the interest of Nigeria”, Saraki said.