Nigeria: Constitutional Constraints Delaying Legislative Autonomy - Buhari

22 November 2019

Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari has urged lawmakers to place interest of the people first in all deliberations and negotiations, while pointing out that the autonomy of state legislatures has been constrained by the constitution.

He made this allusion yesterday while receiving the Conference of Speakers at the Presidential Villa.

Buhari said the constitution must be adhered to, or altered to reflect some dynamics and realities of the country as the document that upholds the standard for all public officers and institutional operations.

"I try as much as I can to always be loyal and obedient to the constitution so long as it is humanly possible," Buhari said.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President assured that his administration will pursue the prosperity of all Nigerians by creating more jobs for the people, and plugging the weaknesses exploited by many to make quick money.

"The 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for seven months. And I had to call the Senate President and the Speaker then. I told them by delaying passage of the budget you are not hurting Buhari, but the people," he stressed.

He regretted that the delay persisted in spite of his efforts to seek more understanding.

He vowed to entrench equity and fairness that will put the ordinary Nigerian on top priority, assuring that he will continue to focus on health, education, infrastructure and improving lives through social intervention programmes.

"We have in the last four years dedicated significant resources to key social services sectors especially in health, education as well as our massive social investment programmes. We have also started restoring our infrastructure to levels that this country expects.

"I also want to assure you that we remain committed to ensuring that equity and fairness prevail in governance. I will ensure that we consult your conference to further enhance the positive impact of our interventions across the country," Buhari said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers, who is also the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, commended the President for the fight against corruption and insurgency, and efforts to ensure financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary.

He appealed to the President to issue an executive order directing the Accountant General of the Federation to separate funds for the state legislature and judiciary at source.

The Conference of Speakers chairman also urged the President to consider supporting the devolution of powers to states on some issues on the exclusive list like railway and the police for more effective governance.

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