Executive, Legislative Friction will Continue Unless... – Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday spoke on the friction between the executive and the legislature, saying only two things will end it. From the lingering budget crisis to confirmation logjam and others, Saraki, at a retreat of the Senate Press Corps in Jos, Plateau State, said the friction will continue unless the two things are done.
Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, spoke at a time the passage of the 2018 budget and the confirmation of some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees are facing challenges at the National Assembly.
The Senate President said the friction will continue whether he is in charge of the Senate or somebody else is at the helm of affairs, except the two arms embrace what he called, “engagement and collaboration”.
“Committees (Senate/ House) should be engaged in budget process not until during budget defence. If we continue with the lack of engagement, there is no how a budget will be passed in four months.
“Executive/ Legislature are partners in government, they are not in competition. Until we change that approach, there is no individual that can address this. With dialogue and collaboration, we will be able to overcome this.
“But to produce a document (budget) and think that tinkering with it is an affront, it will only worsen the situation, “he said.
Saraki cited the example whereby they got to know of the N4.6tr Eurobond loan through a letter and that they were not consulted in the preparatory stages.
“Inclusiveness and engagement; these issues are fundamental. It is not about one particular person, it is the way we operate. If we do not change, we will continue to have problems. Can we change ? Yes we can,” he said.
For the Senate President, the only way to strengthen the country’s democracy is to empower the legislature to function in line with the constitution.
“If we really want to strengthen our democracy, we must strengthen the legislature at all levels. It is important that the legislature and the executive are on the same side, “Saraki said, comparing the legislature to the audit department of a bank.
On confirmation, he said from 2015 to date, the Senate has confirmed 227 out of 240 nominees of President Buhari, saying “I will not be wrong to say we have collaborated. “
Also, while delivering a paper on “improving Nigeria’s budgetary process through executivelegislature cooperation, Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi advocated comprehensive time- based budget cycle, collaboration and engagement between the two arms.