President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the leadership of the National assembly to always place the Interest of the people first. He recalled that the leadership of the 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for months after presentation before passing it.
The President disclosed during a visit of the Conference of Speakers who visited him on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“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” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
He lamented that the delay persisted in spite of his efforts to seek more understanding from the former leaders of the Assembly and called on lawmakers in the country to always place the interest of the people first in all deliberations and negotiations.
The President said the autonomy of state legislatures has been constrained by the Constitution, adding that the laws of the land have upheld the standard for all public officers and institutional operations.
According to him, the Constitution must be adhered to or altered to reflect some dynamics and realities of the country.
“I try as much as I can to always be loyal and obedient to the Constitution so long as it is humanly possible,” he said.
President Buhari also gave assurance that his administration would keep pursuing the prosperity of all Nigerians by creating more jobs for the people, and plugging the weaknesses exploited by many to make quick money.
He promised that he would ensure equity and fairness that put the ordinary Nigerian on top priority, as well as continue to focus on health, education, infrastructure and improving lives through social intervention programmes.
The President said, “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,” he told the Speakers.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers and 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, however, said the legislatures would be further pleased if the President issues an executive order directing the Accountant General of the Federation to separate funds for the state legislature and judiciary at the source.
Obasa also urged the President to consider supporting the devolution of powers to states on some issues on the exclusive list, such as railway and the police for more effective governance.