President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to sustain programmes aimed at strengthening the country’s democracy and enthroning best practices.
The President gave the charge on Monday in Abuja, during the First Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series, organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), with the theme, “The legislature, legislative mandate and the people: The reality and the public perception.”
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the Nigerian democracy had experienced successful transitions from one administration to the other and most commendably, a smooth handover from an incumbent president to the opposition party in 2015.
The President assured that the executive arm of government would continue to build on the existing good working relationship with the legislature to ensure that the interest of every Nigerian was advanced and public good delivered.
The President said, “I wish to commend the leadership and members of the 9th National Assembly for their immense contribution to the promotion of democracy and good governance in Nigeria.
“It remains a statement of fact that the legislature is the embodiment of the doctrine of popular sovereignty, which recognises that the people are the source of all political power.
“I, therefore, charge the National Assembly and the NILDS to ensure that the outcome is well-documented and circulated.
“I similarly charge you to ensure that this lecture series is sustained and targeted at addressing key national and constitutional issues in a manner that would strengthen our democracy, eliminate grey areas and enthrone best practices.
“This underscores the extent to which stakeholders have demonstrated their willingness to embrace the rudiments of a presidential system of government while operating the Constitution.
“Our democracy has similarly been confronted by several challenges, some novel, that required hitherto unanticipated solutions, while others, though familiar, required adaptation to meet prevailing circumstances,” Buhari said.
In his welcome speech, Chairman of the occasion and a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, said members of the National Assembly were supposed to be knowledgeable enough to be able to drive development in synergy with the President, adding that the three arms of government are all crucial for good governance.
The Director-General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar O. Suleiman, said: “The Institute, therefore, intends to sustain this lecture series and bring parliamentarians, both serving and former, from Nigeria and beyond to share critical experiences and insights on how emerging legislatures can better adapt and respond to the myriad of political and socio-economic challenges of developing economies in a globalised world of our time.”
The lecture was delivered by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, while a former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega; Information Minister, Lai Mohammed; Senate Minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Senator Ibrahim Shekarau; were in attendance with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented.