Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says it is time for the executive and legislative bodies to
concentrate on what they have been elected or named to do to improve people’s welfare.
At the closing session of the two-day Joint Executive-Legislature
Leadership Retreat on Tuesday in Abuja, Osinbajo made this submission.
There is no pure practice of the doctrine of division
of powers, according to him, hence the need for versatility.
“The Anglo-American traditions that we hold on to in support of the separation of powers are not pure; so, for example the United States Vice President serves as the president of the Senate and presides over the Senate’s daily proceedings.
“In the absence of the Vice President, the Senate’s president pro tempore, and others designated by him, preside.
“ As one of the Senate’s constitutional officers, only the Vice President has the authority to cast a tie-breaking vote.’’
Osinbajo said that they were wise enough to create a concrete bridge between the executive
and the legislature in the country that had the most advanced jurisprudence on separation of powers.
He said the consensus in the UK was that every minister must be a member of
the House of Commons or the House of Lords, and every minister must be a legislator.
“So, if that were to be in Nigeria all the Ministers would be either Senators or members of the House of Representatives.
“So, these countries we look up to recognise that any strict separation of powers will impede development, impede governance and short change the people.
“So, my brothers and sisters, it is time to focus on what we have been elected or appointed to do; this is the welfare of our people.
“The law and practice as between parliament and executive is a means to an end not an end to itself; the means must not jeopardise the end.
“Our people just want food on their table, shelter over their heads, clothing on their bodies, healthcare and education for their children and themselves.’’
The good legislator or good minister, according to him, is not the one who waves the law,
practice and doctrines, but the one who believes in securing every citizen’s full security, equality and happiness.
He said that a good legislator and minister would do everything in their power to serve the
people’s needs, even if, as Ali Wudil said, it meant walking the fine lines between law and fact.
“The real usefulness of this dialogue will emanate from the suggestions the President made yesterday, by the constitution of technical committees of the executive and legislature who now make the well reasoned recommendations that we must implement.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has already committed to implementation and I trust that the leadership of the National Assembly will do the same,’’ he said.
Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, who was
joined by FCT Minister Mohammed Bello, outlined the recommendations for the retreat.
Gambari, in the recommendations, said that both the executive and
the legislature should have a concrete understanding and working knowledge.
“An effective confidence building measure should be put in place in the governance process to ensure mutual respect and cordial relationship between the executive and legislature.
“The creation of an effective conflict management and resolution mechanism in resolving areas of disagreement between the executive and legislature in overall national interest.
“Modalities for better access, interfacing and engagement between the leaderships of both arms of government, the National Assembly committees and MDAs should be worked out by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and National Assembly-Executive Liaison,’’ he said
He claimed that a Joint Technical Committee would be formed pursuant to President Buhari
‘s Directive and the agreement of the Leadership of the National Assembly and the participants.
Gambari said the committee would, inter alia, align the nine-point priority agenda of the government with the legislative
agenda of the Senate and House of Representatives in order to improve synergies and coordinate government policies and programmes.