16 March 2018

Nigeria: Buhari Meets National Assembly Leaders, PDP Senators Absent

President Muhammadu Buhari last night met with the leadership of the National Assembly at the presidential villa, Abuja.

However, most Principal officers elected on the platform People's Democratic Party (PDP) were absent at the meeting.

Those absent were Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Godswill Akpabio (Minority Leader), Emmanuel Bwacha (Deputy Minority Leader) and Biodun Olujimi-Deputy (Minority Whip). However, all principal officers on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in both chambers were present.

The leadership of the National Assembly was led by President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki. The meeting started at 9:19 pm after the president walked in.

Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, deputy speaker, Lasun Yusuf, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, Senator Sola Adeyeye also attended.

Others present during the nocturnal meeting were Senate Minority Whip, Philip Auda, House Chief Whip, Hon. Al-Hassan Dogowa, Deputy Whip, Hon. Pally Iriase.

Those from the Executive present are, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.

Though the agenda of the meeting was not known, the 2018 budget, 2019 election sequence, Peace Corp bill, as well as security issues formed the crux of discussions during the meeting which lasted late into the night of Thursday.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Saraki said it was an interaction between the National Assembly and the executive.

He said the meeting also discussed the 2018 budget which the National Assembly is working hard to have it passed.

"We are working on it but there are still some issues from the agencies who are yet to defend their budget. We are hoping that they will appear soon," he said.

Also speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said it was basically an in-house meeting aimed at cementing a cordial working relationship between the executive and the National Assembly.‎

"We want to continue building a harmonious working relationship. The President gave them an update on security, economy and job creation.

"We also discuss the issue of the processes in the National Assembly with regards to concluding on the budget.

"And the President has given instructions that all ministers and parastatal should ensure that they appear before the National Assembly to defend their submission so that we can get this out of the way.

"You know that this is a very dynamic year and there is preparation for election and we are having a lot of security challenges, so if we don't act appropriately, where will the money come from to do all what the federal government requiress," he added.


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