Osinbajo, Dogara meet over Presidency, NASS rift

A late night meeting between the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday was one of the political solutions being adopted to resolve the ongoing disagreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly, our correspondent has learnt.

Our correspondent learnt that the meeting, which was said to be strictly between Osinbajo and Dogara, was held at the Acting President’s official residence, Aguda House, inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A government official said the meeting was a continuation of the fence-mending measures being adopted due to the disagreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

The source said, “You are aware that there had been a series of meetings in the last few days aimed at finding a lasting solution to the disagreement between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

“In fact, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress had waded into the matter. Party leaders have met with all the stakeholders. Apart from that, you are aware that the Acting President had met with both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“It is not in doubt that the two arms of government mean well for the country. There will definitely be disagreements in the process, but they will be resolved. The resolution is a continuous process. You will still see more of such meetings until both arms arrive at a common position on the issues at stake.”

The source, however, did not disclose the specific resolutions reached at the meeting.

Meanwhile, a Presidency source told our correspondent that the meeting was routine.

“The meeting was between the Acting President and the Speaker. Principal officers of the House of Representatives were not involved in the meeting. As a matter of fact, the meeting was a routine one. There was nothing special about it,” the official said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, could not be reached on the telephone for comment at the time of filing this report.

The House of Representatives had on Tuesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to Osinbajo to inaugurate the two ministers-designate, who were screened by the Senate in May.

The Senate has also been at loggerheads with the Executive over the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who has remained in office despite that the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly had rejected his nomination twice.

The federal lawmakers had suspended further confirmation of presidential nominees until Magu is sacked.

Osinbajo had so far failed to inaugurate the two ministers, who were on May 3, 2017, confirmed by the Senate, Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe).

The slots of Kogi and Gombe states in the federal cabinet had been vacant following the death of the former Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), in an accident on March 6, 2016; and the appointment of a former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Acting President had also told State House correspondents on Wednesday that he had no date in mind for the inauguration.

 

Punch

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