By Linda Ike
President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that the National Assembly should be allowed to decide
its Leadership and develop its agenda in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Buhari stated this on Thursday at the commissioning of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies ( NILDS) in Abuja.
According to the President, he avoided interfering in the affairs of the legislature to ensure independence, and promote a culture of mutual respect and collaboration between the two arms.
He said, “As you are all aware, I have traversed all parts of Nigeria in the last few days commissioning several critical national infrastructures that my administration has completed over the last eight years. Our successes as a government are primarily due to the harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
“The legislature is the cornerstone of any democracy and is vital to ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians are considered during the lawmaking process.
“It also performs critical functions of overseeing the Executive and ensuring that government spending aligns with legislative intent.
“As you are aware, from the moment of my election in 2015 and subsequently, I supported the idea of an independent National Assembly, one that is able to decide its Leadership and develop its agenda in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I refrained from meddling in the affairs of the legislature and promoted instead a culture of mutual respect and collaboration between the two arms. The numerous positive outcomes for our country Nigeria underscore the importance of a harmonious Executive-Legislature relationship.”
Buhari commended the leadership of National Assembly for its contribution to the institute, stating that the edifice is a magnificent complex that has the potential to significantly boost the capacity of the legislature in Nigeria and Africa at large.
He also expressed gratitude to the 9th National Assembly for giving him the support required to deliver on his promises to Nigerians.
He further said that 9th Assembly will be remembered as one of the most productive in terms of outputs and outcomes, adding that the university will enable the incoming leadership of NASS to achieve the expansion duties.
The President said, “Working with the National Assembly, we have passed an unprecedented number of Bills into law, provided funding for key infrastructure, implemented several governmental reforms, and addressed some of the long-standing challenges that have hampered economic growth and development.
“Our achievements in reforming the oil and gas sector, strengthening the electoral framework, diversifying our economy, improving transparency and accountability, tackling insecurity and entrenching good governance are easily verifiable.
“The NILDS permanent site, therefore, is a critical first step towards bolstering the capacity of the legislature to improve its lawmaking, oversight and representation functions. In 2018, I signed the NILDS Amendment Bill into law, thus expanding the mandate of the Institute to provide capacity not only to legislators but also to other political actors. This edifice would enable the Institute to better meet its expanded functions.
“It is my expectation that NILDS will utilise this site to provide targeted capacity building to legislators, political parties and civil society to enable them better respond to changing circumstances.”
The president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi thanked President Buhari for granting approval of funds for the establishment of the Institute.
They expressed satisfaction over the laudable achievement by NILDS and stated that this is one of the laudable achievements of the 9th National Assembly
They appreciated the visionary leadership of the Director General of NILDS, Professor, Abubakat Sulaiman who has committed himself to ensure that NILDS enjoys its pride of place as a leading beacon of research, excellence, transformative knowledge and innovation.
In his opening remark, the Director General of NILDS, Professor, Abubakar Sulaiman said the Governing Council’s constant support has contributed to lifting NILDS from little-known institution to the giant it is now as a full fleged institution
He said the expansive structure, state-of-the-art equipment, and facilities are game changers for NILDS.