The seeming frosty relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly is slowing down governance, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The President, who spoke at the National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, said the government was working hard to resolve the differences between the Executive and the National Assembly so that the country can move forward.
Buhari acknowledged that the government had not met the expectations of many members of the party, but was quick to add that a few Nigerians, however, appreciate the depth of the rot in the country when the APC took over the government.
He said: “I must acknowledge that the face of government has not met the expectations of many within our party. But few of us know or appreciate the depth of the rot when we took office and that we spent the last two years bringing the country out of the mess we met it.
“Furthermore, the stand-off between the executive and the National Assembly slowed down the process of government. We are working hard to resolve the differences so that the country can move forward.”
The President paid tribute to Nigerians for massively supporting the government in spite of what he called distractions from proponents of business as usual.
He said: “Nevertheless, I am not asking us to relax and take things easy. We all know that elections are looming in the horizon. We must therefore get our acts together. Accordingly, I implore all members of the party to give the Asiwaju Committee full cooperation to resolve existing differences among our members in the states affected.
“It is perhaps inevitable that there will be differences of opinion within the party. If we resolve them, then we can build a genuinely democratic party. But we must not lose sight of our common purpose as a party to break the mule of Nigerian politics and take the country to new heights. Therefore, we have asked Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead this process of restoring order, manage differences and strengthen the party.”
While expressing appreciation to the leadership at all levels for service to the party, President Buhari said: “In particular, I commend the National Chairman for steering the party from success to success. From our resounding election victory in 2015, we have won elections in Edo, Kogi and Ondo as well as the much improved performance in Anambra elections and the party has moved from the party in government to the party of the Nigerian people.
“Much credit is due for our APC state chairmen for stabilising the country and to our Armed forces and the police and other security agencies for stopping Boko Haram in the country and driving them from their bases. No country, no matter how well secured, can isolate acts of terror as we have seen in the United States, Europe, Asia and here in Africa.
“We must support our security agencies to safeguard our country so that the job of development as outlined in our manifesto can proceed without too much interruption. We cannot afford to fail in reminding Nigerians where we came from in 2015.
“I am happy to report that slowly and steadily, we have managed to stabilise the country and redirect the ship of state. We have restored prudence to the management of resources and confidence in Nigeria has been restored.
“On February 23, Nigeria floated a 12-year and 20-year Eurobond in the international market, which were both oversubscribed. The 12-year bond was, within days, oversubscribed by 332 percent while the 20-year bond was oversubscribed by 372 percent.
“We have stabilised the naira and increased our foreign reserve from 20 billion dollars to 40 billion dollars. Inflation rate is down. With considerably less resources available to the country, we have improved all the indices towards a stronger economy.
“Soon, primaries at the wards, local governments, states and the centre will soon be due. I urge all members to take account of the fact that APC has a history of conducting free and fair primaries whenever consensus about any position is not reached. Regardless of the outcome of the primary processes which is imperative, we should all work together to ensure victory for our party.”
National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the party had a tough year ahead of it, with the general election as well as governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
He pleaded that party members do everything possible to minimise disputations within the party and ensure that the party is in a fighting shape in 2019.
“We obviously have a very tough year ahead of us. It is year of challenges, multiplicity of activities beginning from the month of April when the processes for replacing officers of the party whose tenure will expire by June, the process of conducting challenging elections in Ekiti in July, in Osun in September.
“These elections are precursors of the national elections. It is therefore necessary that we treat them with great seriousness because they are elections we should do everything to win. They are signals and signposts, indicators of what is to come in 2019. Preparations are also well underway for those elections.
“In an atmosphere like that, contests whether at party level or primaries to select candidates for all positions from the House of Assembly members to the exulted position of Mr President always present challenges.
“I want to make a passionate appeal that everything be done to minimise the stresses within the party. We must do everything to minimise the disputations within the party and do everything to ensure that we are in fighting shape come 2019.
“For that reason, I want to say once more that we are fully behind and in support of the initiative taken by Mr President in setting up a team headed by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to effect such a reconciliation that are necessary within the party.
“We have had challenges, we have had storms and weathered the storms. We have a government that took over at a very difficult circumstances but today, we can proudly say that the basic foundation of a new Nigeria economy is finally in place.
“We are not talking now of a foundation that is based on easy money, not a foundation based on crude which for a long time sent all of us to sleep but an economic foundation built on the sweat and labour, resources, material and otherwise, of the Nigerian people. That is the foundation that lasts. The economic indices tell a clear story.”