Ini Billie, Uyo
Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Ibrahim Shettima has urged members of the National Assembly to join hands with the executive to make Nigeria work.
In an opening address on Friday in Uyo during a 2-Day retreat for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, Senator Shettima, said the executive cannot go to war with members of the National Assembly.
The VP who stated that the National Assembly cannot be taken for granted as some executive members were alumnus, said the executive would collaborate with the National Assembly on shared values, as governance was a collective responsibility.
He urged them to fight the tribal, ethnic, party and any other stereotypes that seek to divide the nation, saying with the burden of managing Nigeria, the executive and legislative arm of government cannot afford to trade the path of division.
“For the first time in our history, all the elected heads of branches of our government and produced by the hallowed halls of the National Assembly come together for the common good of the nation. All the Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Chiefs of Staff to the President are all proud alumni members. The First Lady of the Federation and the Secretary to the Federation are all members of alumni.
“Certainly, what this means is that we cannot afford to go to war, not because we are going to overlook each other’s transgressions but because we are going to engage with those who know the gravity of their work and will never take you for granted.
“Let us fight the stereotypes of our differences. The burden of managing a diverse nation has ensured that we cannot afford to trade the path of division. The 10th National Assembly is unquestionably the richest we have had so far. You (National Assembly) have a president and vice president who was one of you and recognize the sacrifices you make.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reassured us with a heart of certainty that we are not in government to go to war with the National Assembly, we are here to collaborate and match towards shared prosperity.
“Our journey as a democratic nation has been marked by trials and triumphs, setbacks and progress, but through it all the National Assembly has remained steadfast in its commitment to our collective wellbeing.
It is there within the Chambers that the voices of our diverse constituencies find their expression. While the aspirations of our people are transformed into legislative action, the foundation of our democracy is continuously fortified.
“Governance is a collective responsibility and not a personal endeavour. Our most significant achievement will be attained through cooperation and harmony. This is what we take from you because we are brothers and sisters in pursuit of a country that has all of us,” he stated.
While speaking, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio assured the executive of the support of the National Assembly, saying they would not walk alone.
Akpabio urged members of the NASS to be worthy leaders and be united in purpose to give hope to Nigerians despite ethnic, religious or party lines, hoping that the retreat would reposition the National Assembly.
“We know that the executive arm is steering our country through turbulent waters. The mark of a great sailor is not how he fares in calm waters; it is in how he powers through the rough seas. If His Excellency Senator Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and your good self must take the ship of state to harbours of bliss and development, then you must steer us out of the sheltered shore, through the rolling waves and stormy gales, and set the sails to weather every storm, safe in the knowledge that you are not alone.
“Tell Mr. President, that the leadership of the Tenth National Assembly (and by extension the entire National Assembly) says that he will never walk alone. We believe that this is the government that should come to change the fortunes of our country.
“We believe that this is the National Assembly that should come to change our destiny. We believe that this National Assembly has come to give hope to our nation. As the leaders of the Tenth Assembly, we must remember that the success of a leader depends on the achievements of the led.
“We must not only be worthy leaders but also dealers of hope for the entire membership of the National Assembly in particular and our nation in general. Check the history of the world and you will discover that the world has always been changed by a few thoughtful, patriotic, selfless, concerned citizens armed with faith and conviction. They led the charge, and the masses followed.
“If we all put our hands on deck, the Tenth Assembly shall surmount every challenge. It is in our hands to make this Assembly the last hope of the common man or the lost hope of the common man. The choice is ours. As leaders let us see every problem through the broad windscreen of national interest; not through the tiny side mirror of politics.
“Let us be the symphonic voices of reason; not the raucous echoes of tribal or religious sentiments. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that our problem is APC or PDP or LP or SDP or any other party. That is an error. We face a collective action problem because relevant groups and stakeholders in our country fail to connect, cooperate and collaborate.
“As leaders of those who represent our people, it behoves us to set collective action templates for our nation’s developmental efforts and a collaborative legislative agenda for solving our nation’s challenges. A template that would eschew such issues in collective action problems like the tragedy of commons, senselessly exploiting common resources and depleting them; free riding, being inordinately concerned with consumption and not the production of our wealth; information asymmetry, hoarding information in order to have an imbalance of power; and opting for a sub-optimal equilibrium where we could go for agenda setting.
“The National Assembly must be seen as partners-in-progress with the Executive Arm and we must create the enabling legal environment for Mr. President to justify the confidence reposed in him and his vice president by the electorate. We must remember that in every democracy, the legislators are the foot soldiers marching for the masses,” he stated.
In his goodwill message, Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin hoped that the retreat would strengthen the existing bond of the National Assembly and gather more skills to propel it to greater heights.
On his part, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu called on the National Assembly to craft laws that would benefit the nation, adding that the adoption of good data approaches would help to address the needs of the people.
Kalu who said a good data approach reflects good governance, noted that the national assembly needs to be well-informed to make informed choices for the nation’s betterment.
In his goodwill message, Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila said the retreat was an indication that the 10th Assembly would be better than the 9th, just as the 9th was better than the 8th.
Gbajabiamila urged the National Assembly to come out of the retreat with clear objectives. He also appreciated former National Assembly leaders like Sen. Pius Anyim, Ken Nnamani, David Mark, Ahmed Lawal, and Patricia Etteh for their presence at the retreat.