NASS old boys now run the executive, Akpabio tells Tinubu at budget presentation

Godswill Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio has identified President Bola Tinubu’s membership of the legislature as one of the reasons legislators collaborate with the latter, saying former members of the National Assembly (NASS) now run the executive.

Senator Akpabio made the statement on Wednesday when President Tinubu presented the 2024 budget proposals of N27.5 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly.

Tinubu represented Lagos West in the Senate from December 1992 to November 1993 in the short-lived Third Republic on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Welcoming Tinubu on behalf of all National Assembly members, Akpabio noted that Vice President (Senator) Kashim Shettima, 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 to the president, are also former legislators.

Akpabio said the number of 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, 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 (JF 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 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.”