Senate, presidency friction threatens security summit outcome
The ongoing national security summit convened by the Senate in Abuja might run into a hitch due to growing suspicion from the Presidency on its real motive.Indications emerged that some key players in the Presidency not favourably disposed to the summit are treading cautiously.
However, the leadership of the National Assembly is committed to not just concluding the summit, but following it up with actions that could impact on governance.A lawmaker said: “I can tell you that we are not just going ahead with the security summit. We will use the ideas and submissions from stakeholders to make serious amendments to existing laws if necessary, to put an end to these killings around the country.”
The idea of convening the summit followed a marathon debate by legislators on a report of the Senate’s ad-hoc committee that looked into failing security. Some elements in the Presidency oppose the summit because they fear it might present the Presidency as clueless on strategy.
The poor attendance recorded at the first day of the summit, which ends tomorrow, is said to be one of the effects of the cold war between the Presidency and the Senate on the matter.
Declaring the event open, Vice President Osinbajo did not waste time in drawing attention to the fact that the executive arm of government had already convened a similar meeting in the recent past where a 10-year master plan was mapped out for combating insecurity in the country.
Senate President Bukola Saraki tried so much to clear the air about the motives behind the event, saying: “This is not a summit to trade blames. In no way is this a blame game. Neither is it convened so that any person or entity can take credit.
We just want solutions. Solutions only. That is all Nigerians require of us.” At the planning stage, the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal, who heads the Senate ad-hoc committee, faced difficulty convincing his colleagues to put the summit on hold and allow the Presidency convene it.
The committee later attempted to persuade the Senate to allow the summit to be jointly convened by the Presidency and the Senate. That also ran into troubled waters because of a condition by the Presidency that the summit be held at the Aso Rock Villa, specifically at the Banquet Hall.
When the matter was tabled for discussion at a closed-door session of the Senate, an overwhelming number of lawmakers strongly opposed Villa idea, prompting an indefinite postponement. The Senate, however, blamed the postponement on the need to allow members participate in the burial of late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.
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