Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki yesterday said that his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari remains cordial despite false claims in some social quarters.
He spoke when the National Executive of the Islamic group, Jamaatu Izalatul Bidiah Wa Ikamatus Sunnali (JIBWS) led by its President, Sheikh Mohammed Sani Yahaya Jingiri visited him at the National Assembly .
According to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, the Senate President debunked allegations that he and the Senate are working against President Buhari, as he said, ”I want to assure you of the good cooperation between the legislative arm and executive led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
” Since the commencement of this Senate, I think we had about 196 requests from President Buhari for confirmation of his nominees and we have confirmed 185. I think, we have only rejected 11. By Mathematics, that is over 90 per cent.
“I want to assure you there is a lot of noise, you will see on the newspaper, radio and social media, please, be assured that the two arms of government are working closely together, more than in past sessions of the Senate. In January, I went to see him and assured him of our cooperation and we’ve continued to work closely. I want to assure you as we always say, let us be judged by our actions and not by talk. A lot of people talk, but do something else when you are not around and loyalty can be best measured by what people do when you are not around.
”I want to appeal to you now that you are here, to convey the same message to your followers, who because of social media and the fake news they hear that some of these fake claims over radio, they get wrong impression that we in the Senate, the Senate President and the Senators, are working against the President. I assured you that we have a very cordial relationship with the Executive””.
Saraki also reaffirmed the commitment of the Senate in ensuring good governance, economic stability and creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and promised to ensure that all bills to be passed by the Senate will ensure that religious sentiments of Nigerians are taken into consideration.
The Senate President told his visitors that the Gender Bill currently before the National Assembly will be fair to all religious groups and sentiments.
He said: ” I want to reassure you on our greatest concern, particularly in the issue of Gender Bill. Here in the National Assembly, we pass laws and whatever law we pass, we take into consideration subjected the religious aspects.
”There is no law that can disregard the religious sentiments of the citizens. So, we must also put that in our mind. We have discussed that whatever final version of the law that will come for discussion, because it is still for discussion, it is just a proposal, it should not be one that would have conflict with religion. I want to assure you of that”, he said.
According to the Senate President, “the final version of the gender bill will be such that all religious sentiments are taken care of and Nigerians would be proud of”.
On education, Saraki said. ”Let me also talk on the issue of education because was raised by the earlier speaker. We too have seen the problem. It is a big problem, we are hoping to have a round-table with all the stakeholders and let us ask ourselves what we need to do differently. The problem is huge. When the time comes, we will also meet some of our religious leaders and invite you to come and contribute your own view. It is very important to address that.
“Finally, let me continue to assure you that we will continue to play our roles by bringing political balancing and stability into consideration as we do what we know is best for this country. We will strive to work to keep this country together”, the Senate President said.
Earlier, the leader of the Islamic group, Sheikh Jingirr commended the Senate President on his role in the arrangement that led to the rejection of the Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket for the All Progressives Congress ( APC) in the 2015 presidential elections.
He added that Nigeria was not ripe for such an arrangement which did not take into consideration the need for religious balance in the country as all religious interest must be represented at all times, including elections.
He added that “religious balancing must at all times be respected in Nigeria as only this will ensure harmony”.
The Islamic cleric also commended the National Assembly for rejecting same sex marriages and capital punishment, describing them as unIslamic. He also urged the Senate President to ensure that the current Gender Bill reflects the tenets of all religions.
Sheik Jingiri called on the Senate President to ensure equality of representations in political appointments in line with the population of states, while at the same time ensuring that a cordial relationship exist between all arms of government for the benefit of the people.
He also called on the National Assembly to regulate the operations of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) since failure of proper regulation of the operations of the examination body may aggravate the problems in the education sector.
The leader of JIBWS prayed for the quick recovery of President Buhari who is currently on medical vacation in London.