The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday advised the leadership of the Senate to resist any forms of intimidation from the Executive to surrender its independence and pass bills and requests without statutory legislative scrutiny and oversights.
The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said its position is predicated on the blanket comment credited to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, that “any request from President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly is good for the nation, even without subjecting such requests to statutory legislative scrutiny.”
The PDP described such a stance as “unconstitutional and unacceptable as it amounts to relinquishing statutory powers of checks and balances of the National Assembly.”
The statement read: “The statement by the Senate President has heavily detracted from the expected independence of the legislature.
It is fast eroding the confidence Nigerians have on the Senate and the National Assembly, as true representatives of the people at the national level. READ ALSO: Kogi West: PDP urges supporters to prepare for victory
“The party notes that even if the Senate leadership believes in the import of any request or bill from the President, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) requires the legislature to pass such through its statutory checks and balances processes to ensure that the content and intent are in tandem with the overall national interest.
“Such legislative checks are enshrined in the constitution to curtail the excesses of the executive as well as create room for the democratic tenet of citizens’ participation through their elected representatives.
“Anything to the contrary is a direct suspension of our constitution, enthronement of dictatorship and a sidestepping of the legislative powers, which is capable of destroying the institution of the National Assembly.
“Moreover, legislative processes for statutory interfaces with other arms of government, particularly the executive, are governed by the constitution, laid down legislative rules, practices, and conventions and not by the narrow-minded assumptions of any single individual.
“The PDP reminds the Senate President that the National Assembly is the very symbol of our nation’s democracy.
It is an institution that belongs to the people and not to any political party or group. Ceding its independence, therefore, amounts to surrendering the sovereignty of the people.
“Our party, therefore, charges National Assembly members to ensure they live up to their billings by insisting on their oversight functions as well as take immediate steps to reassure Nigerians on its capacity to protect their interests at all times.”