Following Tuesday’s jettisoning of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambassadorial list, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday denied that there is a rift between the executive and the legislature.
It insisted that there is a smooth working relationship between the two arms of government.
National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun said the return of the non-career ambassadors’ designate list to the President by the Senate had nothing to do with a strained relationship as being speculated by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The statement said: “this assurance is in reaction to a statement credited to a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) suggesting a rift between the executive and legislature following the Senate’s return of the list of non-career ambassadors to the presidency for review.
“The Senate, in the adopted report of its Committee on Foreign Affairs stated on Tuesday that the decision to return the list followed petitions received on the nominations and went ahead to propose that the presidency review the ambassadorial list.
“Hence, attempts by the PDP to give the Senate action a political coloration and other negative interpretations are unnecessary and misleading.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a democrat and does not subscribe to the idea of “controlling” the National Assembly as was the practice with the PDP during its 16-year misrule of the country.
“Respect for the principle of the Rule of Law and the constitutional provisions of Separation of Power between the three arms of government is a best practice and also healthy for our democracy.
“The powers and duties of the three arms of government are clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and President Muhammadu Buhari respects them.”
Also yesterday, the senate and the House started discussions on the virement request by the president.
Both arms of the legislature directed committees on Appropriation and Finance to carry out legislative work on the request and submit their reports next week.
Last month the president requested the National Assembly to approve a virement of N180. 83 billion from the N500billion appropriated for Special Intervention Programme, to finance other key projects.
The president’s request indicated that “the total recurrent expenditure required to be transferred is N166.63billion while the capital expenditure requirement to be transferred is N14.20billion’’.
A breakdown of the N180.83 billion shows that Public Service Wage Adjustment takes N71.80billion; the Amnesty Programme receives N35billion as against the mobilisation of corps members which receives N19.79billion.
House of Representatives Leader Femi Gbajabiamila justified the need for the House to consider the motion. He said several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) presented issues pertaining to salary shortfalls as it affects the MDAs that are not under the platform of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), and some MDAs that are under the IPPIS platform wpuld be locked put as their Personnel Cist budgets would not cover salaries for the rest of the year.
“Also the Nigerian Air Force needs to cover the foreign exchange differentials in the procurement of its critical equipment and augment the contigency vote, and also to provide for inadequacy in the provision for the National Youth Service Corps in the 2016, among others,” he added.
The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote. It was then referred to the Committee on Appropriation and other Committees to to serve as sub-committees of the Committee on Appropriations.