House of Reps says cooperation with executive is not a sign of weakness


The House of Representatives has warned government agencies and senior government officials not to misconstrued the understanding shown to the Executive by the National Assembly as a sign of weakness on the part of the lawmakers.

Spokesman of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, who disclosed this while addressing Assembly correspondents, also said the amendment of the Electoral Act was in line with the Covid-19 protocols and to correct the anomalies in the electoral system in the country.

He said that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill would be given top priority by the lawmakers.

Speaking on the recent face-off between the National Assembly and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, Rep Kalu said it was an irony that “a member of the Executive is trying to tell the National Assembly how to do its job”.

He said: “When we say we want the door closed to interact with you on something, we feel it is in the interest of national security or it should not be discussed in the open until the issue is ironed out. You don’t say it is an atmosphere for corruption.

“You don’t tell us how to run our affairs because you don’t oversight us. When you appear before us, we tell you how we want the interaction to be carried out. You can’t tell us how you want it to go.

“I have seen a good number of people from the Executive appear before parliament with so much humility. An example is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. You invite him twenty times, he will come and carry himself with so much humility and answer you diligently. He is a good example for many of them to copy. He will never join issues with members of parliament. That is a man that understands democracy and parliament.

“You invite the Minister of Works and Housing. He comes, sits down there and answers all questions posed to him without confrontation. He understands that it does not take anything away from him.

“So, when you are invited by the legislative arm of government, it is not to indict you or to harass you, but for you to explain certain things to us because of agitations from our constituencies. You cannot talk about the nation without the constituencies and if there are questions from the constituents, no matter how irrelevant, be patient enough and listen to them, provide answers or tell them you will come back with the answer if you don’t have a ready answer.

“The President worked so hard to achieve the robust relationship between both arms of government, knowing what he suffered during the first tenure; but not that the checks and balances should not be there. The less the rancor, the more the respect for each other and that would help the government to grow and the nation also will benefit”.

Responding to questions on when the House intends to commence the process of amending the Electoral Act, Kalu said the Assembly could not afford to wait till the next general election to carry out the amendment.

The amendment of the Electoral Act carried out by the 8th Assembly was not signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari and therefore could not be used in the conduct of the 2019 general election.

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