The Presidency, weekend, raised the alarm over threat to 2019 general elections by National Assembly and appealed to the lawmakers to urgently reconvene to deliberate on the request of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue and other pending matters before them.
According to the Presidency, also in danger is the supplementary budget to fund the 2018 budget.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr. Ita Enang, who raised the alarm in Lagos, said though the National Assembly should not be blamed for suddenly going on recess, the lawmakers should consider the interest of the country and urgently reconvene to consider the requests of the President.
Recall that the Senate, on July 24 adjourned sittings for the next two months, following the siege to the residences of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, by security operatives on July 24 and is expected to reconvene on September 25.
Some of the pending urgent issues before the adjournment included the approval of a supplementary budget to fund the 2018 budget and the 2019 general elections.
The supplementary funds would enable Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to commence preparation for the 2019 polls.
Also pending are several key appointments for the EFCC, ICPC, Deputy CBN Governor and AMCON among others.
Enang said: “We are appealing to Senate leadership and all caucuses of the National Assembly to see this as a clarion call for the good of the nation.
“As the Liaison Officer between NASS and the Federal Government, I know it is not the intention of the lawmakers to make Nigerians suffer.
“The NASS vacation is usually planned to coincide with school vacations so that members can spend time with their children. However, this is an election year and the budget has just been appended to, hence the urgent need to give approval for supplementary funds for it.”
“We are not compelling them, we are appealing to them. As a liaison officer between the Presidency and the NASS, my duty is to make sure that both arms stay together and work in harmony.”
Enang, who noted that the APC currently has 53 senators after the defections, explained that should the National Assembly fail to reconvene now, next year’s elections would be in trouble because of the time it would take to conclude the processes of getting approvals for the funds in question.
He, however, said the Presidency was already reaching to both the majority and minority caucuses of the National Assembly to resolve the logjam but was not definite about the response from the lawmakers.
On the defection of some members of All Progressives Congress, APC, to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other opposition parties, Enang said the lawmakers reserved the right to decided which political parties to belong but stressed the fact that they neither had problem with President Muhammadu Buhari nor his government.
According to him, the lawmakers defected because of the problems they had with their local chapters in their various states.
“In all the defections, they have maintained that they do not have problems with the federal government.
‘There is too much competition within the major political parties. Politicians study the platforms and would not want to be where they may not get the tickets especially for those seeking re-election. Some need automatic tickets but their party may say no.
“Defections are not a sign of anything to worry about in a political party. None of the defectors is complaining about executive treatment of their people but about winning nominations for tickets outside.
‘’The reason for defecting is domestic to those involved.; they are matters affecting the interest of those involved. All those who defected have said they had no problem with either the executive or the Presidency. The issue is a political not a governmental matter,’’ Ita Enang said.