Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has expressed concern over the release of names of senators tagged as looters by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed.
Saraki who spoke in Jos, Plateau State on Saturday a at retreat on “Strengthening Executive-Legislature Relations” said it was wrong for an arm of government to call members of the other arm looters.
“In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together? How?
“It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it,” Saraki stated.
He also wondered how President Buhari could write the National Assembly to endorse N4.6 trillion capital market bond without first discussing the issue with the leadership of both chambers.
“Imagine the Federal Government wants to raise a N4.6 trillion bond from the capital market. The leadership of the National Assembly first heard about it through a letter written by the President. This is what happens.
“I needed to be here to speak on these issues. It is not just about today. Posterity will be here to judge us that what I am saying is true. If we do not change the way we behave, we will remain like this for many years to come.”
Also on how heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are allegedly frustrating the passage of the 2018 budget, the Senate President said that the executive arm should be held responsible.
“If you want to strengthen democracy, the priority of everybody should be to strengthen the legislature. If you do not defend the legislature, there is no way our democracy will be strengthened because government is not built on individuals. It is built on institutions.
“That is why in developed countries, governments can change, but it does not affect the stability of their democracy because their institutions are strong. We decided to run a presidential system of government. By its nature of checks and balances, there is bound to be frictions. The question now, how healthy is that friction?
“If you take the 2018 budget for example, even before people had bothered to find out where the cause of the delay is coming from, people were already attacking and blaming the legislature.
“When I led the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to see Mr. President, he came to the meeting briefed as if the delay was that of the National Assembly. He was humble enough at the end of the discussion to render an apology.”
On confirmation of nominees, Saraki said that the executive must realize that the legislature has the constitutional duty to confirm, while nomination lies with the executive.
He said that no attempt must be made to weaken the legislature in the interest of sustenance of democracy in the country.