By Henry Umoru & Ben Agande
ABUJA— SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, declared that the legislature has powers under the present democratic dispensation to query the activities of President Goodluck Jonathan even as the president met with both Senate President, David Mark and Hon Aminu Tambuwal for over two hours in the president’s office.
Speaking as the Guest Speaker at the 1st Annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture on “Leadership and Good Governance in Nigeria,” Tambuwal, who eulogized the leadership qualities of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, stressed that it was disheartening that it is common these days for individuals to embezzle the nation’s money running into trillions.
Said he: “The democracy we are practicing today has embedded in it, a particular mechanism that calls to question the activities of the executive. Sometimes we are being seen as going beyond our expected roles as if we are doing something that is well beyond what is expected of the parliament but the parliament is there to represent the people and ask questions on behalf of the people on the executive’s activities.
“It is an opportunity for us to come together once again to reflect and learn even more from the life of the great Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, who was an embodiment of good governance per excellence, good governance because you must have heard not in this forum but at several fora, how he was able to galvanize the North towards a particular direction and how he was able to govern the North and achieve what they were able to achieve.
“Here we are in Nigeria of today with even greater resources and even larger army of men and women who are supposedly more dedicated in the western sense, but then what is happening today? That takes us to the question of a leadership that is good in all sense of the word. The leadership that is selfless, a leadership that is not seen to be tolerant of corruption and corrupt practices.
“Here we are in Nigeria of today where we are talking about trillions of naira being carted away illegally by individuals and when we talk from parliaments that there is the need for these checks and balances, we are being called names. The parliament is there to represent the people and ask questions on behalf of the people on the executive’s activities.
“I believe that the current National Assembly and in particular the House of Representatives has reasonably been asking some of these questions. I believe we shall continue to do what we are doing in the parliament and I believe that at the end of the day we must not see it as individual fight between someone in the legislative arm of government and another in the executive arm of government; our destination should be the electorate and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we must deliver on our mandate if truly we want to go back to the people and if truly whatever we are doing is in the service of the people.”
Jonathan meets Mark, Tambuwal
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, met with the presiding officers of the National Assembly for over two hours.
Though details of the meeting were not known as both Mark and Tambuwal declined to speak with the press, but it may not be unconnected with the on going review of the constitution by the National Assembly and other national issues.
At the end of the meeting which was held in the president’s office, the chairman of the Governors’ Forum and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi later joined the duo and rode in the same car with the two leaders of the National Assembly.
Senate president David Mark who was dressed in a white Babanriga simply told State House correspondents “thank you” and drove off.
It was not clear whether Gov. Amaechi was also part of the meeting as he walked into the Villa after the two leaders of the National Assembly had gone into the president’s office.
The review of the constitution has pitched the leadership of the National Assembly against the Governors’ Forum who are opposed to some of the proposed amendments by the National Assembly.
While the lawmakers favour granting of autonomy to local governments, the governors are opposed to the proposed amendment, arguing that local government autonomy is not feasible.