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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

NASS crisis: Why Buhari shut out Saraki, Dogara from Villa

Taiwo Adisa
DECISION of President Muhammadu Buhari to pander to the wishes of some powerful members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the battle over the seats of National Assembly may have informed his decision to shut out Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, from the Presidential Villa.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the president had actually refused to create avenue for Saraki and Dogara to visit him at the Presidential Villa since they emerged on June 9.
Sources said that while the president announced he had accepted the emergence of the two presiding officers, he, on the other hand refused to host either of the duo at Aso Rock.
It was gathered that before the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC, Buhari had consistently told the duo of Saraki and Dogara to ensure they settle their problems with the party before they would visit the Villa.
It was gathered that the two presiding officers have, however,  remained baffled that even after the NEC of  APC approved of the election of Saraki and Dogara, the Presidency had continued to keep the number three and number four citizens all along.
“The duo of Saraki and Dogara felt that they had scored a major victory following the ratification of their election by the NEC. After the meeting, it was understood that the two presiding officers made immediate efforts to visit the president; again and again their attempts have been rebuffed. This time, there have been no excuses,” a source in the know told the Nigerian Tribune.
It was gathered that the persistent refusal of the president to see the Senate President and the Speaker was partly responsible for the decision of the National Assembly leaders to  adjourn  on June 25 till July 21.
Besides, a source said the leadership of the APC was also responsible for the delay in the president meeting the Senate President and Speaker, saying the party was yet to perfect its legislative agenda.
“It is going to be  too obvious  if the National Assembly is in session and nothing is being heard from the president. I suspect that there is a deliberate strategy to delay the resolution of the crisis so that inactivity at the Villa will not show clearly,” the source said.
It was gathered that some influential party leaders were fuelling the crisis from behind, so as to allow the president settle down.
“There is a deliberate strategy to keep the lawmakers busy, while the party sorts out its legislative agenda and the government properly settles down,” another source said.
A source also said that it was confounding to see that Buhari, who had repeatedly said he can work with anybody and would  be neutral in the election of National Assembly principal officers, had refused to meet the leadership that emerged more than one month after.
The source, however, said that while the APC had  kept blaming  Saraki and Dogara for the incident of June 9, the party should be blamed for failing to give clear directives on the zoning of the elective offices in the National Assembly.
“The president’s failure to work with National Assembly is actually slowing down activities of government. Working with the National Assembly will enable him to get work off the ground. It is also certain that working with the National Assembly would reduce the incidence of costly errors, now being seen in governance,” a source said.
Another source  stated on Monday: “The APC leaders’ decision to send a list of officers to the National Assembly leadership is abnormal and negates legislative tradition. If this had been allowed, it would have been a bad precedent. The APC would also have set a bad precedent of conducting party business on the floor of the House. The floor is for national business, not a place to conduct party affairs.
“Buhari, by not working with the National Assembly, is slowing down activities of government. Working with the National Assembly will enable him to get work off the ground.
“He has told the world that elections of principal officers of the National Assembly is constitutional, so he should call stakeholders in the party and the National Assembly to a private meeting, where a new course that would enable the APC to deliver on electoral promises will be charted.”
 It was learnt that some leaders of the APC might also be orchestrating the crisis so as to prevent the Assembly from questioning steps being taken in the early days.
“Whatever they do now would be interpreted as playing  politics and that would continue until the President invites Saraki and Dogara over,” another source said.

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