APC to heads of govt agencies: don’t disrespect National Assembly

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned its members, who are appointees of government, not to disrespect the National Assembly.
The party said the National Assembly is the institution at the heart of the nation’s democracy, noting that any form of denigration of that institution was “like flirting with suicide”.
The National Assembly has had running battles with government appointees following their refusal to honour invitations to answer questions on certain issues affecting Nigerians and the day-to-day running of government – the latest being the refusal of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to honour an invitation from the Senate.
Speaking with reporters at the weekend after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) with the APC caucus in the House of Representatives, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party did not intervene early enough on the face-off between the Senate and the Comptroller General of Customs because the matter was not strictly a party affair.
He added that the party believed both parties will  see reasons to amicably resolve the matter.

He explained that taking the matter to court had further complicated the issue at stake.
But he assured the citizenry that the party will ensure the matter is resolved within the shortest possible time.
Abdullahi said: “Yes, you are right. The issue came up. The House of Representatives expressed these concerns.
“They believe that the party has being shielding some people from the Executive arm of government, who are also members of the party and that is why they are able to, in their own words, disrespect the National Assembly.
“Don’t forget that the meeting we had was with the House of Representatives and not the Senate. But I think they felt equally affected by what is going on with the individuals you have mentioned. But the assurance that we gave them is that the party will not do that.
“The party will not support any member, who is an appointed official of government to disrespect the National Assembly because we recognise that the National Assembly is the very meaning of our democracy.
“The difference between dictatorship and democracy is that you have a National Assembly. In military rule, you have the executive and the judiciary. The only institution you don’t have under military rule is the National Assembly or the House of Assembly in the state.

“So, that is the very foundation of our democracy and we believe as a party that every single citizen, regardless of what we feel about some actions or inactions of that institution or some individuals in that institution or the perception we have about some people in that institution, the most important thing is that it is the very institution at the heart of our democracy and any form of denigration of that institution is like flirting with suicide.
“So, as a political party, we are not going to do that. We are not going to support anybody to disrespect our National Assembly and I believe that some of these issues that are coming up will very soon be resolved.
“As you have learnt, the party said we are going to intervene on some of these issues and try to resolve them. I don’t think trying to intervene to resolve the issues should be interpreted to mean that we are protecting some of the individuals that are involved.
“We are not protecting anyone to disrespect the National Assembly. Our desire will be to see that there is stability in the system and the polity is not unnecessarily overheated by issues that can be resolved amicably.”
Abdullahi said the party did not intervene early in the matter because it was not strictly a party affair.