Senate President Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday welcomed President Bola Tinubu to National Assembly for the 2024 budget presentation hailing the historic epoch of his former membership of the legislature as further fodder for collaboration towards the common good of the nation.
Senator Akpabio spoke as President Tinubu laid his 2024 budget proposals to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Welcoming the president on behalf of the National Assembly members, Senator Akpabio posited the ascendence of a sizeable representation of the legislative branch as led by the president himself in the delegation from the executive branch of government. Among those he named were Vice President (Senator) Kashim Shettima, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator George Akume and the immediate past speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila who is now chief of staff.
Akpabio said that the compass of the National Assembly alumni in the top rank of the executive was another reason for smooth collaboration between the two branches of government.
In that direction, Senator Akpabio also urged the president to guide his ministers on being punctual for the budget defence to ensure expedited passage of the budget proposals.
Noting the historical essence of the president’s legislative antecedence, Akpabio said:
“It is said that no matter how high the eagle flies, its talons keep pointing to the earth. Your Excellency, we know that no matter how high you rise, your heart will always point to this Assembly. Mr President, the United States has been a democracy for 247 years.
“But it was only when it marked its 185th Anniversary that it succeeded in producing two former senators (J F Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson) as President and Vice President respectively. But within 24 years of our democracy, we have achieved what took USA 185 years to achieve. Not only do we have two former Distinguished Senators serving as the President and Vice President of our dear country; we also have other alumni of this Assembly in positions of public trust: Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator George Akume; the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other Senators in the Cabinet.”
That landmark he said would consolidate the relationship between the two arms of government.
“Mr. President, Distinguished and Honorable Members, maintaining a cordial relationship with the the Executive Arm has always been a requirement of the law, but now, given that our Old Boys now run the Executive, a good relationship with the executive is a must. Never have we had so many bridges and connection points between these two arms of Government.
“So we will continue to walk hand in hand and see eye to eye with the Executive Arm, while ensuring that the principles of separation of powers as well as checks and balances as enshrined in our Constitution are observed in the overriding public interest.”
Senator Akpabio also used the opportunity to encourage the president on his reform programmes noting with aplomb efforts in economic reform including the removal of fuel subsidies and the reforms in the security sector that has led to enhancement of the security of the nation.