Under Buhari, No Minister Will Be Bigger Than The N/Assembly – Enang

Ita Enang-BudgetThe Presidency has said that no minister is bigger than the legislature.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, who made the assertion at the weekend in Abuja, said that all ministers and heads of agencies were subject to the authority of the National Assembly as stipulated in the Constitution.
In a chat with newsmen, Mr. Enang stressed that if such situations where some minsters considered themselves bigger than the legislature existed in the past, past, “it is not so under the current administration”.
Under the past administration, some influential ministers either shunned invitations to appear before National Assembly committees or when they did finally show up, expressed their displeasure at being summoned at will by the lawmakers, claiming it was a distraction.
A classic example under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was when the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, pointedly told the National Assembly that neither it nor any of its various committees could summon her and the agencies under her, to produce unpublished documents and other records without a prior consent of the president.
The then petroleum minister stated these in a suit she filed with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, against the National Assembly to stall the investigation of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on the allegation that Mrs. Alison-Madueke spent N10billion of tax payers’ money on private jet charter.
The former president was widely believed to have tacitly endorsed his minister’s position at the time as he never gave the so-called approval for Alison-Madueke to appear before the committee.
However, Mr. Enang, who was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business during the 7th National Assembly, said that current Executive led by Buhari had enjoyed very cordial relationship with the Legislature in the last one year as evidenced in the appearance of ministers before the National Assembly.
“This is one government where there has been straight and very free, cordial and exemplary working relationship between the executive and the legislature.
“I am sure that in previous times, you did hear of invitations to ministers or to some persons who considered themselves prime ministers or some serious ministers who would not ordinarily appear before the legislature.
“But under President Muhammmadu Buhari’s administration, under the change administration of APC, all ministers and all persons are subject to the authorities of the legislature within the limits of the Constitution.
“This is one other aspect where we can score that we have done well in the maintenance of executive-legislative relationship”, he said.
The presidential aide added that the healthy relationship between both arms of government was further demonstrated by the attention which the president gave to Bills originated and passed by the legislature.
He cited the example of the Bill seeking to increase the number of Federal Capital Territory High Court Judges from 37 to 75, which was passed by the legislature on Tuesday and was assented to on the same day by the president.
“This is one of the Bills that was not originated by the president but sponsored by legislators, and being a member’s bill, the president did not have any reservation towards it.
“This shows that the president does not believe that only bills that come from him are the only ones that he assents to; this shows that the president respects the legislature.
“He respects the wisdom of the legislature and works in accord with the legislature”, he stated.
Mr. Enang also said that as the president’s aide, he had enjoyed good communication with the legislature especially the Senate, and had fostered same between both arms, explaining that there has been no problem with correspondence between both sides.

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