48 INSIDEPOLITICS

Twenty eight months af­ter the ap­point­ment of Sen­a­tor Ita Solomon Enang as the pres­i­den­tial aide on Na­tional Assem­bly (Se­nate), Daily Trust takes a look on how the Akwa Ibom politi­cian has fared in man­ag­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and the Se

Weekly Trust - - Analysis - Is­mail Mu­dashir Enang’s trou­bles at a glance

Ap­pointed at a time when there was no love lost be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive, es­pe­cially the Pres­i­dency and the Se­nate, Sen­a­tor Ita Enang has been swim­ming from one trou­ble to the other, try­ing to mend fences and ce­ment cracks.

Enang’s ap­point­ment came two months af­ter the emer­gence of Sen­a­tor Bukola Saraki as the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, against the wish of his party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC). The divi­sion at the Up­per Cham­ber was pro­nounced and deep but as time went by, the law­mak­ers ce­mented their crack and forged ahead.

With the res­o­lu­tion of the in­ter­nal wran­gling, the bat­tle has since shifted to be­tween Se­nate and the ex­ec­u­tive, with Enang at the mid­dle of the whole drama. It has been from one trou­ble to the other, un­like what is ob­tain­able at the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. There is rel­a­tive peace be­tween the House and the ex­ec­u­tive.

Records showed that since the re­turn of the coun­try to democ­racy in 1999, five pres­i­den­tial li­ai­son of­fi­cers for the Na­tional Assem­bly have been ap­pointed. They are Aminu Wali (1999-2003), Sen­a­tor Florence Ita-Giwa (2003-2007), Sen­a­tor Mo­hammed Abba-Aji (20072011), Sen­a­tor Joy Emodi and Sen­a­tor Ajadi Makan­juola served be­tween 2011 and 2015.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that all the li­ai­son of­fi­cers had chal­lenges pe­cu­liar to the ex­i­gen­cies of their times. But that of Enang, re­garded as a thor­ough­bred law­maker with close to 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence in Na­tional Assem­bly (House and Se­nate) seems to be over­whelm­ing and un­end­ing.

Li­ai­son of­fi­cers are ap­pointed to serve as a ‘mes­sen­ger of the pres­i­dent’, re­ceiv­ing and trans­mit­ting com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the pres­i­dent to the Se­nate and vice versa. The re­spon­si­bil­ity of lob­by­ing of sen­a­tors also falls on the shoul­ders of the li­ai­son of­fi­cer.

Aside th­ese, the li­ai­son of­fi­cer guides pres­i­den­tial ap­pointees like min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees and oth­ers dur­ing screen­ings, bud­get de­fenses, probes, pub­lic/ in­ves­tiga­tive hear­ings among other in­ter­ac­tions/ en­gage­ments be­tween the law­mak­ers and heads of Min­istries, De­part­ments and Agen­cies (MDAs).

The pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of Enang in en­sur­ing peace­ful and har­mo­nious work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and the Se­nate has been a mi­rage as many heads of MDAs have had their own bat­tles with the Sen­a­tors at one time or the other, thus en­larg­ing the fric­tion and sus­pi­cion be­tween the two arms of gov­ern­ment.

The miss­ing bud­get was a record-break­ing feat recorded by the pres­i­dent’s aide. In Jan­uary 2016, Enang was in­dicted in the bud­get dis­ap­pear­ance con­tro­versy. A com­mit­tee set up by Saraki specif­i­cally ac­cused Enang as be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the dis­ap­pear­ance of the doc­u­ment. That was the first time the coun­try’s bud­get would be dis­ap­pear­ing.

In Oc­to­ber of same year, he was also in­volved in another trou­ble. It was the case of a ver­sion of re­port of the Depart­ment of State Ser­vices (DSS) on the act­ing Chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu. While the clerk to the Se­nate had a re­port that in­dicted Magu, Enang had another that cleared the em­bat­tled EFCC boss.

The con­tro­versy cre­ated by the re­port is yet to be buried over a year af­ter. Twice, the Se­nate had re­jected Magu and the re­fusal of the ex­ec­u­tive to im­ple­ment the law­mak­ers’ res­o­lu­tion has brought about a log­jam in con­fir­ma­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari’s nom­i­nees. Records have it that con­fir­ma­tion of about 50 nom­i­nees are pend­ing in Se­nate as a re­sult of this quag­mire. The law­mak­ers have em­bar­goed con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.

It was un­der the watch of Enang that the sacked Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion, Babachir David Lawal, ran into trou­ble. Lawal’s cri­sis with the Se­nate started when he said the ex­ec­u­tive won’t fund the con­stituency pro­jects of the law­mak­ers for 2016. It was af­ter the con­stituency pro­jects brouhaha was laid to rest that the grass cut­ting con­tract scan­dal reared it face, this led to the sack­ing of Babachir.

The fire ig­nited by the chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Navy, Isah Hamma Misau (APC Bauchi) against the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Ibrahim Idris has not been quenched, just as the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion(AGF) and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami, is be­ing probed at the Se­nate over his role in the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the re­turn and pro­mo­tion of the for­mer chair­man of the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force on Pen­sion Re­forms, Ab­dul­rasheed Maina.

While the Comp­trol­ler Gen­eral of Cus­toms, Hammed Ali’s uni­form con­tro­versy has died down, a new con­tro­versy is brew­ing in­volv­ing heads of MDAs. Only on Wed­nes­day, the Se­nate raised alarm over the lack­adaisi­cal at­ti­tudes of top gov­ern­ment

Sen­a­tor Ita Solomon Enang

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