The National Assembly has commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for his courtesy visit to its newly appointed clerk, Mr. Ojo Amos Olatunde, noting that continued engagement between the executive and the legislative arms of government will better enhance checks and balances.
Akpabio on Tuesday, paid a visit to Olatunde who was recently appointed Clerk to the National Assembly in his office at the assembly complex, Abuja with a view to familiarising with him and to solicit continuous cooperation of the legislative arm of government towards the development of the Niger Delta region.
Spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu who praised the minister for the gesture while interacting with journalists after the visit, noted that their doors would always be open for members of the executive who wish to call on them.
“As representatives of the people, our doors are open to everyone inclusive of ministers as they are part of the people we represent. If they knock on our door, we must open it and hear them out,” Kalu said.
“The Honorable Minister supervising NDDC was at the National Assembly today to familiarize with the new Clerk of the National Assembly. It has nothing to do with the House of Representatives or the Senate. As a former member of the National Assembly, Akpabio has access to the National Assembly at all times because once a senator, always a senator.”
The House spokesperson pointed out that the NDDC has undergone an investigation and that the report of the investigation is currently before the House for consideration.
“NDDC, an agency under Akpabio’s ministry has undergone an investigation, and a report on the concluded probe is currently before the House of Representatives for consideration. His visit today has nothing to do with the finished investigation but to fine-tune the relationship moving forward for the interest of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
“The National Assembly has been asked severally if it supports the idea of the legislature and executive coming together to discuss from time to time about issues of national importance, the answer is yes, we are in support of this. That is why the leadership of the two houses, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila are key partners of President Muhammadu Buhari’s new project of the tripartite committee.
“The purpose is to make sure the dividends of democracy reach the people. All the same, the manifesto of the party that brought the Government into place is pursued and protected by the three arms of Government; though they may differ, yet the purpose of Government should remain the same and be the focal point.”
“Our assurance to Nigerians is that we understand the mandate of section 88 and 89 of the oversight functions, and we will never sacrifice it on the grounds of relationship. Although it is good to have relationships within the arms of Government, no arm of Government should sacrifice her independence based on a cordial relationship with other arms of Government.”
“All the principles of separation of power guide our relationship with the other arms of the Government. The visit of any Minister to the National Assembly will not stop the legislative functions of the House,” he concluded.