By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—The Presidency, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari would not intervene in the lingering crisis rocking the National Assembly, citing separation of powers as reason for that.
This came as Sokoto Governor and Chairman, Peace Committee on House of Representatives leadership crisis, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, said that peace process was on going, promising that soon, the crisis would be resolved.
President Buhari had come under pressure from many quarters for his apparent docility amid the lingering face-off in the National Assembly and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, accusing him of not being assertive.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, on the apparent docility of the President amid the lingering crises in the National Assembly and his party, the APC, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari had since chosen to give recourse to the Constitution of the land and the principle of separation of power on which Nigeria bases its federalism.
Adesina said Buhari’s intervention would portray him as a “dictator or a despot” which he said runs at variance with democratic ethos and values.
Buhari not a dictator
He said: “How do you become assertive when there is separation of powers? There is separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. The legislature is an entity on its own. The executive does not superintend over the legislature.
“So, you can’t be assertive over a place you do not supervise. So, I think to ask the President to be assertive over the legislature is to ask him to be a despot. It is to ask him to become a dictator and this President will not do that.”
Reminded that the President could approach the matter using the cover of APC as a family to dispute, Adesina said the President had already been involved in the peace process, stressing that he would not lord it over the members to take advice.
He was, however, optimistic that the crisis would not escalate any further than it already had.
He said: “Don’t forget that, yes, he is the President of the country and he emerged on the platform of the APC. So, it is in that spirit that he attended the NEC meeting last Friday at the party secretariat. He also said when they called the BoT meeting, he will attend. But he cannot go and lord anything over them. He cannot.
“He also emerged on the platform of that party. The party is bigger than everyone. That’s what is meant by party supremacy. So, party supremacy does not even allow him to lord it over anybody. He can only be part of a process to sort out whatever logjam, whatever impasse they have.
“How can it further escalate than what we have now? Can it further escalate than what we have now? I don’t see that. The President is involved already because he has been meeting with various interest groups but he will not do beyond that. He is not going to ram anything into anybody’s throat because that will not be consistent with democratic ethos. He wouldn’t do that.”
Also speaking on the issue at the Presidential Villa after a personal visit to President Buhari yesterday, the Governor of Sokoto State and immediate past Speaker of the 7th House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, assured that peace is underway in the chambers of the both the Senate and the House.
Tambuwal, when asked to confirm the insistence of Rep. Gbajabiamila’s camp to be given all the four principal officers positions, said he would not preempt the committee’s report.
He also dismissed insinuations that his case during his tenure has emboldened the members to fight dirty, saying that they were mature enough to take their own decision.
He said: “Mr. President is the leader of the party and as a governor of Sokoto State, I have come to see him and indeed to seek his advice and rub minds with him on issues bordering on security and continued development of the country. You could see that our meeting with him was business-like and I believe that is how it should be when you come to a leader such as Mr. President. You don’t take much of his time. You go to issues and address them and then take your leave.
“We have commenced meetings and even today we are going to have yet another meeting and I believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Peace and normalcy will be restored to the chambers of the National Assembly and I assure that we will continue to support Mr. President for us to deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people.
Caving in to Gbajabiamila’s insistence on principally officers positions
“It is not a matter of caving into it. I am a mediator and I am not at liberty to pre-empt what should be the outcome of my report, therefore I am not in a position to confirm that.
“I should leave that to you to make your own judgement. I believe they are all matured people representing their various constituencies in both at the Senate and the House of Representatives and they should know what is best for the country and the party.”