By Dapo Akinrefon & Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — THE national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned all appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of stoking executive-legislature tension.
The party specifically took exceptions to comments credited to the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN; describing the lawmakers’ actions as childish and irresponsible and warned Sagay to exercise restraint and desist from attacking the Senate.
But Sagay fired back at the party immediately, saying it can’t tell him what to do as he is not an APC appointee, adding that the party is “just compromising with evil.”
The warning is part of the efforts of the party to resolve the feud between the Presidency and the Senate following a battery of meetings with the APC caucus in the National Assembly.
“In furtherance of the All Progressives Congress efforts to resolve the rift between the Executive and the National Assembly, the APC urged all government appointees to stop making statements that may further worsen the relationship between the two arms of government and derail the party’s efforts to make peace.
“Specifically, the party urges Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC) to exercise restraint and desist from making utterances that may be misconstrued as an attack on the institution of the National Assembly”, the APC said in a statement, yesterday, by its spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi.
While Sagay had described the actions of lawmakers as childish, for which the Senate had summoned him, a move he has asked senators to withdraw or face litigation, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Babachir David Lawal, described some parliamentary resolutions as “absolute balderdash.”
On his part, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, a retired army colonel had persistently refused to heed the Senate directives to appear before it in Customs uniform.
While the APC fell short of calling out Lawal and Ali, it warned all government appointees, especially Sagay, to desist from abusing the Senate.
“The Party wishes to reiterate its earlier position admonishing all elected or appointed officials of our government to desist from utterances that may endanger efforts to build harmonious relationship between the two arms of government. Prof. Sagay should not operate outside this admonition”, APC warned.
The party was, however, silent on whether it has a mechanism for sanctioning those who flout its directives.
Sagay must stop making enemies for Buhari and key into President’s plans
It said: “The comments attributed to Prof. Sagay are uncalled for, regrettable and could further complicate the relationship between these vital arms of government. Our expectation would be that as a Law Professor of repute, Prof. Sagay would appreciate the need to not denigrate the institutions of democracy, be it the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary.
“As an appointee of Mr. President, we should expect the learned Professor to key into his principal’s temper and help him to make friends that would make his job easier and not make enemies of people who, by virtue of the position they occupy under our law, are critical to the running of government and the nurturing of our democracy”.
His posture on Senate summon unacceptable
The Party said it, “specifically objects to the Professor’s call on the Senate to withdraw invitation extended to him. As someone appointed by our government, we find this kind of posturing unacceptable and potentially injurious to the peace efforts by the party.”
APC, however, praised President Buhari for rising above the fray and instituting a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to mediate between him and the National Assembly.
“The Party acknowledges the fatherly role being played by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve outstanding issues with the National Assembly, by setting up a high-level committee led by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The Party expresses happiness with the meeting it had with the Senate Caucus on Tuesday and is confident that all the issues raised will be addressed. It also urges the National Assembly to further intensify its efforts to ensure timely passage of the 2017 National Budget”, the statement added.
I’m not an APC appointee, they can’t tell me what to do – Sagay
Reacting to the APC warning, yesterday, Professor Sagay said he was not an appointee of the party and, as such, the party cannot tell him what to do.
He disagreed with the party’s statement that he was against the plans of President Buhari and insisted he would not honour the Senate’s summon.
His words: “I am not an appointee of the APC. I don’t know where they thought they had the authority to tell me what I should do. I certainly will not honour it (Senate’s summons). My view about what we are doing is in consonance with what the President is doing. They (APC) are just compromising with evil. That is what the party is doing and they certainly will not get me to do that. I will continue with the original programme of Buhari to get rid of corruption in this country. I will not compromise.”