Based on his role as the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism, the Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, on Tuesday visited the National Assembly.
More to the point: He visited the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly where he met with Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, and some other members.
One place he did not visit: El-Rufai’s committee did not set foot in the Senate wing, where Bukola Saraki presides as president.
They don’t get along: The Kaduna governor and the senate president famously do not get along. In fact, El-Rufai was listed as one of the witnesses to give evidence against Saraki in the senate president’s case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. That was before the FG withdrew the charges.
Not aware: When The Scoop contacted an aide to the senate president on whether El-Rufai has a visit scheduled with Saraki as well, he said he was “just hearing of this” in reference to El-Rufai’s presence at the assembly.
Parliament has final say: Meanwhile during his courtesy call on Dogara, Gov. El-Rufai said his committee’s role was merely to collect and collate the views of Nigerians particularly young people and other vulnerable groups and present them to the party which will then find a way to engage with parliament.
He said: “Ultimately, whatever discussion we have about federalism will have no value unless the National Assembly enacts whatever the people of Nigeria say they want. We felt that as ultimately the most important stakeholder in this project, we must come here and brief you because we started work while you were on recess.”
He admitted that the APC manifesto had a very firm commitment towards devolution of powers and true federalism.
“However, because of other challenges, the administration had to deal with since assumption of office, the expeditious implementation of some of these commitments has not occurred.
He noted that the party had approved the committee’s recommendations to expand the membership of the committee to move it from a technical committee to a broad-based political committee in order to include everyone.
The Kaduna State governor said one of the decisions of the committee was to invite the two houses of the National Assembly to nominate members to join the discussion to serve as a bridge “so that whatever we come up with will not be a surprise to you.”
Speaker Dogara concurred with El-Rufai, saying the National Assembly is the proper forum where the outcome of the debates on restructuring will be channeled for processing and for action.