By Omeiza Ajayi
National Publicity Secretary of the
All Progressives Congress, APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi in this interview fields questions on contemporary issues affecting both the government and the ruling party.
We understand that the party executive raised issues concerning the face-off between the National Assembly and some officials of the presidency and the legislators felt you were protecting these officials that have been disrespectful to parliament. How have you dealt with the issues?
Yes you are right, the issue came up in the House of Representatives; these concerns were raised and they actually said in specific terms as you have just expressed it. They believe that the party has been shielding some executives of government who are also members of the party and that is why they are able to, in their own words, disrespect the National Assembly.
Do not forget the meeting we had was with the House of Representatives and not the Senate but I think they felt equally affected by what is going on with the individuals (SGF, Ali) you have mentioned but the assurance that we gave them is that the party will not do that. The party will not support any member of the party, any appointed official of government to disrespect the National Assembly why because we recognise that the National Assembly is the very meaning of our democracy.
It is the very institution at the heart of our democracy and any form of denigration of that institution is like flirting with suicide. So, as a political party we are not going to do that, we are not going to support anybody to disrespect our National Assembly and I believe that some of these issues that are coming up will very soon be resolved and as you have learned, early this week the party said we are going to intervene on some of these issues and try to resolve them. I do not think trying to intervene in a way or trying to resolve the issues could be interpreted to mean that we are protecting some of these individuals that are involved.
So, are you shielding the SGF and CG Customs?
We are not protecting anyone to disrespect the National Assembly; our desire will be to see that there is stability in the system and the system or polity is not unnecessarily overheated by issues that can be resolved amicably.
What measures will your party take to broker peace and understanding between the executive and legislature, because it appears you are always acting too slow?
You are right! I agree with you that there are probably some times that we ought to have acted quicker than we tend to do, but you also have to understand one thing, this was an issue essentially between two arms of government; the legislature and the executive and it is not strictly a political party matter. Do not forget that the National Assembly is not populated by only members of our party, there are also other parties that are represented in the National Assembly but we are in the majority and we believe that if we intervene we would be able to bring amicable resolution to the matter.
While the issue was on, we followed it very closely but we were hoping that the matter would be resolved amicably and on both sides people would be able to exercise good judgement and allow the matter to be resolved but when we realised that it was not going to happen and it was degenerating to a point that would create circumstances that are not desirable, that was when the party said we need to weigh in.
Yes, the assumption that we had at the point that we said we were going to weigh in is that we were going to bring the parties to the table and say let us discuss but obviously one of the parties probably has a different idea of what the solution should be because by dragging this issue to the wing of the court it makes things more complicated but we will continue to try because you know as a party, of course, there are decisions we can take, there are actions we can take to say ‘look if you are a member of this party there are certain things you cannot do’ but that is not our ultimate desire.
Our desire would be that we are able to intervene and resolve the matter in a way that would further stabilize the system rather than heating it up unduly.
We know as a party that we have a responsibility, yes, due to the situation we have also found ourselves we are not able to intervene as forcefully as we should but you will see all that moving in a different direction now because it is obvious that a lot will depend on what we are able to do as a political party because if you look at it, the Customs CG is our party member, the National Assembly is dominated by our party members so that puts a lot of responsibility on us to find a way to resolve this issue. We do not have a right to behave in a way that unnecessarily overheats the system and that is the point I am making and we are going to get to the bottom of this
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