Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on Monday said that the Executive and the Legislature are not in competition but would work together to deliver on the promises of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Nigerians.
Mustapha according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu in Abuja, stated this when the led a delegation from the Presidency on a courtesy on the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the leadership of the Senate.
He stated that both arms of government must necessarily cooperate if the present government is to achieve its desired results and redeem lost opportunities.
He said that the visit was meant to thank the President of the Senate for personally gracing his swearing-in ceremony as SGF and also to “convey the gratitude of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the entirety of the government on the able leadership that you have given the National Assembly as a whole.”
Mustapha said: “The role of the National Assembly is quite distinct. You (National Assembly) legislate for the good governance of the Federation; you provide oversight and you also ensure that funds that are appropriated are used judiciously for the purposes they are meant and for the benefit of the people of Nigeria.
“So your responsibility is so enormous in this enterprise. I will say this and I will say it quite frankly sir, we are not in competition with the National Assembly. We are not rivals with the National Assembly.
“We are joint partners in this enterprise. If the National Assembly does not cooperate with the Presidency, I am not very sure we will be able to achieve the desired result that we want to see given the mandate that we have freely received from the people of Nigeria.
“So, this is basically to come and assure you that in every area that you are soliciting for the cooperation of the Presidency, being the Secretary to the Government, I would ensure that the National Assembly receives that cooperation because jointly if we work together, whatever has been lost in the past we can quickly redeem and recover and make progress so that by the time the first four-year mandate that we received comes to an end we can show on our scorecard that these were the promises we made,” the SGF stated.
The new scribe of the Federal Government added: “Let me put it on record that your leadership has helped tremendously in stabilizing the polity and also given the purposeful direction that we require at the Presidency to ensure that we deliver on the promises that we made to the Nigeria people when we sought for their mandate in 2015.
“You ran for the Senate in your constituency in Kwara State, but I remember vividly serving as the Director, Contact and Mobilization of the Campaign, that you were all over the place campaigning to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari won the election and we did win decisively.
“So, sir, thank you so much for what you have done to ensure the APC’s victory. After your emergence as the Chairman of the National Assembly and also the President of the Senate, you have provided the kind of leadership that is required, as I said, to stabilize the polity. Nigeria as a nation has been going through some storms that we inherited but because of your able leadership and your colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives, we have stabilized this process to a large extent.
“Going forward sir, I bring, like I said, the greetings of the Presidency because as the Secretary to the Government, my responsibility is to coordinate the implementation of government policies and to ensure that these policies are synergized in such a manner that we would be able to deliver to the people of Nigeria the good things of life which they rightly deserve.
“In doing that, I will not be able to succeed in that task if I do not get the cooperation of the National Assembly and that is why I am here today to extend the hand of friendship and to solicit for the cooperation of the National Assembly because our constitution is very explicit when it comes to the principle of Separation of Powers.”
Responding, Saraki welcomed the new SGF to the National Assembly and congratulated him on his appointment.
He described the visit as symbolic and a new phase in the executive and legislative cooperation as well as a good omen for the nation’s democracy and the government.
Saraki said: “Let me on behalf of my colleagues welcome you to the Senate and let me thank you for your visit. I think your visit is very symbolic. It is truly a new phase of cooperation between the Executive and the Legislature and a good omen for our democracy and for our government.
“Your visit truly shows your intention of ensuring that you use your period as SGF to ensure that we truly work together to make Nigeria great. You are very right and I think people like us are not surprised because we know your antecedents.
“You know that in the presidential system that we are running in this democracy, it is not possible for us to be able to achieve all our goals if the Executive and Legislature do not have – not just an okay relationship – a fantastic and very close relationship.
“And what you have done this afternoon has really brought that closer and I am sure that all my colleagues are going to appreciate that on the floor tomorrow when I communicate this to them.
“Truly, you have started on a very good note and I congratulate you. Thank you for all your kind words when you talked about some of the work we have done in the past together in bringing the government together and we will continue to work together to ensure that we deliver on our promises.
“As you said, the constitution is very clear on what our responsibilities are. You did not write it and I did not write it, neither did any of us in the National Assembly today but we have all sworn to it and we must continue to ensure that we work with it and that we work for the interest of Nigeria.
“Let me assure you that being the first SGF that we have received here, you will definitely get our cooperation and this will definitely be a new page in relationship between the executive and the legislature and we will do all our best to ensure that whatever the issues are before you, we will act to see how best we can to resolve them and work together,” he said.