Shettima assures Nigerians of fraternal bond between Executive, Legislature

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Vice-President Kashim Shettima has assured Nigerians of continued fraternal bond between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government.

Shettima gave the assurance on Friday when he declared open a two-day retreat for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly (NASS) in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom.

According to Shettima, President Bola Tinubu remains committed to safeguarding Nigeria’s democracy.

Shettima also assured the leadership of the National Assembly of Tinubu’s avowed commitment to entrench democratic ideals and values through collaborative partnership with all arms of government.

He noted the unrivalled democratic credentials of President Tinubu, which included legislative experience.

He said this would continue to rub off on his governance style, especially as it borders on respect of the rule of law, adherence to separation of powers as well as deference for constitutional rights.

Shettima described the composition of the Federal Government as well as the leadership of the National Assembly as historical, unique and a pathway to Nigeria’s unprecedented development.

This, he said, was more so that the expectations of Nigerians would be met regardless of the present challenges.

“For the first time in our history, all the elected heads of our branches of government are produced by the hallowed halls of the National Assembly.

“For the first time in our history, the heart of the Executive branch of our government is serviced by the Alumni of the National Assembly.

“Both the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President are proud Alumni of the National Assembly.

“The Secretary to the Federal Government is also one of us.

“We cannot, therefore, afford to go to war.

“Not because we are going to overlook each other’s transgressions, but because you are going to engage with those who know the gravity of your work and would never take you for granted.”

He said, given the composition of the National Assembly, it had become emphatic that ranks were closed in the bid to give unprecedented service delivery and democratic pact to the Nigerian people.

“There is no place in this country where you can find a fraternal bond as enduring as the ones that bind the members of the National Assembly.

“From converging on Abuja to water the dreams, debate the needs and mitigate the fears of this diverse nation, we have forged friendships that defy the stereotypes of our differences.

“Term after term, election after election, old and new members return and exit.

“But the burden of managing a diverse nation has ensured that we cannot afford to tread the path of divisions.”

He reiterated the need for national cohesion, saying it has become non-negotiable if the country’s potential must be fully harnessed and tapped for prosperity and the generality of Nigerians.

“You have a President and a Vice-President who are one of you and recognise the sacrifices you make.

“President Tinubu has, with utter certainty, reassured us that we are not in government to go to war with the National Assembly.

“We are here to collaborate and march towards shared values.

“Governance is a collective responsibility, not a personal endeavour.

“Our most significant achievements were attained through cooperation and harmony.

“This is what we seek from you because we are brothers and sisters in pursuit of a country that serves all of us.”

Shettima described the National Assembly as a complete spectrum of human experience.

“This is where you will witness eloquent testimonies of your colleagues in defence of reason.

“This is where you will witness profound debates that will dismantle your age-long assumptions but, in the end, you will realise we are all bound by our fidelity to the ideals of democracy.”

Earlier, President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio said the retreat was the beginning of the rejuvenation and a time of reflection and deliberate planning that would determine the direction of legislative efforts.

“We have a huge responsibility as the National Assembly leaders, as the guardians of democracy.

“It is our responsibility to set the legislative agenda and make sure that our venerable institution runs smoothly.

“Our neighbours are watching us and they turn to us for leadership and action.

“We, therefore, have a chance to establish a strong future direction during this retreat, which is more than just a gathering of leaders,” Akpabio said.

In his remarks, the Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman thanked President Tinubu for his continued support and respect for legislative independence and harmony.

Prof. Sulaiman said the institute was determined to work with the 10th National Assembly to improve legislative governance.

The event was attended by Gov. Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State and former Senate Presidents Ayim Pius Ayim, David Mark, Ken Nnamani and Ahmed Lawan.

Others include the Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Germany, Mr Johnnes Lehne and all Principal leaders of the National Assembly.

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