President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for an effective working relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government, saying such will easily translate into more gains for Nigerians.
The president noted that “it pays to maintain neighbourliness’’ between both arms.
In response, Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured the president that the legislature was ready to work with the executive to provide solutions to the challenges facing the nation.
According to a statement by a presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, Mr Buhari met with the leadership of the National Assembly at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president said, “cultivating neighbourliness on individual and national level will deepen the values of democracy and speed up development process by saving the cost of delays and repairs.”
Mr Buhari’s comment can be considered a move to avoid the rocky relationship he had with the eight National Assembly.
Few days before his inauguration in May, the president had reviewed the relationship between the Executive arm of the government and the then outgoing eighth National Assembly and concluded that it was not the best. He said he hoped for a better working relationship between the two arms of government in the Ninth Assembly.
Mr Buhari, during Thursday’s dinner, said he was pleased with the voting pattern of principal leaders of the National Assembly, “which showed a lot of maturity and patriotism, and also signalled to all Nigerians that love for the nation supersedes party affiliations.
“I was very pleased that people expressed their desires at the National Assembly across party lines. Neighbourliness is very important.
“It makes sense to cultivate neighbourliness on individual and national level. If you cultivate good relationship with your neighbour, you will save a lot emotionally and materially”, the statement said.
Mr Buhari said Nigeria had benefitted a lot by maintaining a good relationship with neighbours like Cameroon and Benin Republic, noting that the fight against Boko Haram had been jointly carried out with neighbouring countries.
He urged the legislature to stop comparing Nigeria’s democracy with more developed countries “as every country had its peculiarities and the historical growth patterns had been different, with the developed countries practising liberal democracy for longer years.
“Along the line of development, we are a developing country. We have different experiences.’’
Mr Lawan noted that the ninth National Assembly was different in “attitude, composition, and patriotism’’ and will ensure good “collaboration, partnership and synergy’’ on national issues.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said elections of principal officers in the National Assembly were transparent, assuring that the National Assembly will work with the president, to improve the lives of constituents.