By Haruna Salami
Babajide Omoworare Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) said Monday that lobbying the legislature for former Service Chiefs being appointed as ambassadors to scale through the Senate was normal. He said this while speaking with journalists.
According to Omoworare, “the whole essence of governance and democracy, especially the relationship between the legislature and the executive is about lobbying, about talking to each other.
“You cannot achieve anything if you don’t talk to each other. A lot of people will tell you that the Parliament is watchdog of executive, yes, but you can hardly get anything done if there is no collaboration, cooperation and coordination, if there is no negotiation, if you don’t deliberate.
He said everything that must be done, not only executive bills, even private members’ bills, if you want your bill to pass you must try your best to talk to your colleagues to support your bill.
“There is no problem with lobbying, the executive lobbies the legislature and the legislature lobbies the executive 24/7. If you have a private member’s bill and you sit down in the comfort of your office and you think the President will assent to it without lobbying, you are making a mistake. After all, section 58 of the Constitution gives the President the power to either sign or withhold the assent subject to upturning off his veto by two-thirds majority vote.
Although the SSA to the President said he was not aware of any lobbying going on, he said “if there is lobbying for ex-Service Chiefs to pass, I sincerely think it is ok, it is not an aberration, a transgression or a sin for that to occur”.
On the question of whether having been Service Chiefs before should they be approved as ambassadors, especially because the Senate and maybe the House of Representatives, have in some instances not been on the same page with them, the SSA to the President said “it is normal”, adding that it does not mean you cannot be a successful ambassador. It is for the senators to determine whether looking at their CVs they can be good representatives of Nigeria.
“They have been at a beat before; for them to be even Service Chiefs means they have attained the pinnacle of their carrier. This is an achievement. If however, by the estimation of some Nigerians, yes we still have insurgents, at least you have some people who said they have tried.
Meanwhile, the Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi on Monday canvassed promotion of dialogue at the local level as solution to the persistent crises between farmers and herders in Nigeria.
He stated this while reacting to the herders/farmers clashes in parts of the country with the attendant tension it has generated between Fulani herdsmen and their hosts, adding “these are issues that have set communities which hitherto were living peaceful against each other either for some political advantage or for some material matters.
According to the lawmaker, the federal government is too distant to be resolving every inter communal disputes everywhere
He explained that inter communal disputes, wherever they are, should be resolved by the local people, saying it is the responsibility of the political leaders whatever level at the level of National Assembly, at the level of state government, at the level of even local government councilor to sit down with their people so that a lot of these issues can be articulated and addressed by the local population.
He added that this is what the governors should do but not to always run to the federal government because of one dispute or the other
“How many hands does the federal government have? This is a federation, we are all responsible political leaders, therefore leaders at the level they are, should sit down, talk to one another and resolve these disputes. I can assure you only that these intercommunal clashes will be resolved in one way or the other in the interest of the county’s unity and integrity.
The Leader revealed that “there will be a general motion either Tuesday or Wednesday, which is going to be sponsored by Senator Ajayi Boroface, Deputy Senate Leader on the floor of the Senate and I think in course of the discussion, on the basis of that some prayers are coming up.
“Some explanations are there, then the senators will discuss all these issues and when the Senate discusses it, you know it is going to be very rich because we come from varieties of areas all over the country; therefore people will share their own experiences on the basis of that we will come up with resolutions that will address some of these issues and make recommendations to various authorities on what need to be done to find solutions to these issues” Abdullahi said.