President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night met with members of Parliamentary Support Group as part of efforts to build synergy, consensus on national issues to find solutions to socio-economic and security challenges facing the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after the closed door meeting between the president and members of the group at Aso Rock, Abuja.
Mustapha, who described the meeting as an encouraging interface between the legislature and the executive, said the meeting was for the betterment of the nation. “Well it’s a very encouraging interface between the legislature and the executive.
“Don’t forget that the national Assembly had an Open Week, throughout the course of this week, this is a continuation of that engagement and I belief that after this kind of interaction with different arms of government, we will be able to build synergy, build consensus on issues and find resolutions to it.
“Politics is a game of negotiations, it’s a game of dialogue, and understanding and it is for the betterment of our country. We are the party in government; the legislature is part of government; if the executive does not succeed, it will also rub off on the legislature.
“So it is just a continuation of this dialogue that can afford us the chance to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people,’’ he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen Ita Enang, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, appreciated members of the group for promoting President Buhari’s vision on the floor of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly as a whole.
He stated that during the meeting, President Buhari invited the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiohmole to address all the concerns of the group, and assured them that matters of the party would be properly addressed.
He further assured that none of them should have fear because “the party is for every person.’’
“Let me very sincerely appreciate these honorable members of the parliamentary support group and they have come as persons who have come together to support the president’s vision on the floor of the House of Representatives and the national Assembly as a whole.
“And I use this opportunity to express to them the concerns of all the members and Mr President has responded in a manner that is very satisfactory to them.
“This is one of the back channels that is being arranged and is granted by Mr President and officers of the executive from time to time to enable the legislators interact personally, with personal questions and personal concerns on the state, the party, projects and programmes of government and that has been fully addressed and of course.
“Mr President invited the National Chairman of the party and addressed all their concerns assuring them that matters of the party will be properly addressed and that none of them should have fear because the party is for every person.
“And has told them how the nominations will go and has given them confidence and this confidence will be transmitted to all other members of the house and Senate who are not here.
“And next time, we are going to arrange for Senators in the next few days as part of confidence building and bridging the gap between the executive and legislature,’’ he added.
The Chairman of the group, Musa Sarkin Adar, told the correspondents that the group embarked on the solidarity visit to the presidential villa as a mark support to the Buhari administration.
He, however, stated that the group used the opportunity to alert the President on issues and concerns raised by members of APC across the country.
He said: “We looked at the concerns within the country and the various political parties because election is approaching and we members of APC in the National Assembly felt that it is necessary to come and interface with Mr president and the national chairman of the party to address issues and concerns raised by members across the federation.
“In each state of the federation, there are certain concerns and misgivings when the congresses were held from wards, to local government to state level, there were so many discrepancies and issues that came up and people made a lot of complaints and they were not listened to as a result of that some people thought that they will move out of the party and join another party.
“Others, even before that have made up their minds they are going somewhere and we feel it is necessary to come and inform the president that we are committed to remain party members, but issues should be looked into and addressed properly, so that all aggrieved members can be persuaded to remain together so that we can ensure victory for our party in the 2019 general elections.’’
He expressed the hope that the interaction of members of the group with the president would also encourage the relationship between the executive and the national Assembly to be cordial.
“We know who causes all those frictions and we are trying as much as possible to make sure that such things does not happen again for the betterment of this country.
“We should not be partisan in everything we do, especially on our conduct on the floor of the House.
“From the previous experiences of the previous Assembly which we were opportune to be members then, we know what happened and we know what it caused the country.
“So it is now a clarion call for us to rally behind the president and the need for us to also be listened to so that the issues of development of this country can be addressed,’’ he said.
Sarkin Adar, who described the respond of the president to the group’s demands as “very fantastic’’, said they explained to the president “the idea of zonal intervention or what is called constituency projects.’’
He said: “It is not money given to us, but projects worth millions of naira that we should only site where it should be sited in our various constituencies and it is one of the most unifying factor of this country.
“Because it one of the ways in which you can have a reflective performance of the government in certain areas.
“For example if you go to rural areas and you don’t have provision of water borehole, primary school or primary health care, before you take certain projects to them, it will be difficult.
“But these constituency projects that are allocated to us on the basis of where you come from and you select 1 2 3 4 or whatever the money allocated to the project is given then that is what your people will benefit from and as such, there is equitable distribution of infrastructure across the nation.’’