By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Senator Ita Enang has dismissed the existence of conflict between the presidency and the national assembly, saying that the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature was cordial.
Enang who is the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to President Muhammadu Buhari on Legislative Affairs (Senate) also said that the periodic interactions between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara underscored the point.
He argued that the suspension of the screening of the 27 Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, nominees of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC by the senate only showed that the principle of separation of powers, the hallmark of democracy was active in Nigeria.
The SSA while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday remarked that where tension ever existed, the intervention of the National Working Committee, NWC of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC led by the National Chairman, John Oyegun had doused it.
He said that the only time the public would need to worry was when the Executive and Legislature are in some romance, without any of them raising questions, submitting that crisis was normal with democracy.
The Presidential aide also welcomed the setting up of the presidential committee headed by Vice President Osinbajo to interface with the national assembly on the obvious matters.
He said: “I am here to confirm to you that the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature is very cordial, constitutional, and in all manners, usual.
“The relationship between the President and the Senate President is perfect and very cordial, personal and official.
“You have seen at many times the President of the Senate and even the Speaker of the House of Representatives coming to have personal interactions and briefing the President of the affairs of the legislature and other functions of the state.
“It appears that because of some incidences on the screening of some nominees, people think there are tensions. But let me assure you that there was no tension.
“It is only that the constitution requires that when the President makes a nomination to the legislature, the legislature is to screen, consider and approve as thought fit. If the legislature has reason to have reservations, there is always consultation. It will make its opinion known to the Executive by way of appropriate communication.
“Even if it appeared in the past that there were tensions, the actions of this week: the consultations between the President and the leaders of the National Assembly have doused all.
“The intervention of the National Working Committee of the APC led by the National chairman has again completely put the question of tension or discord at rest. That too has further brought down what it appeared to be tension.
“In all the issues that have arisen, no question is raised by the Legislature against the action of the President. It shows that in all manners, the President has not done anything that will make the legislature to call him to question.
“At anytime you will find the Legislature hands in gloves with the Executive without the Executive raising questions or the Legislature asking questions, then the public should be worried.
“That is why we have separation of powers. Each of them should check each other. When these checks arise, that is when the public feels there is tension. There is absolutely no tension.
“In setting up a committee led by the Vice President, the President felt that if there is any semblance of disagreement, it should be addressed. This shows that this government is very responsive. It is a welcome development.”
It will be recalled that the National Assembly, particularly, the Senate has been at loggerheads with the presidency on some issues which included the rejection of the nomination of the Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The senate also recommended the sack of Magu but the presidency is yet to heed the call, a development the Senate cited as reason why it would not screen the INEC nominees.