A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’abba, on Monday said described the continued friction between the executive and legislature as a threat to democracy and development.
Mr Na’abba said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the situation was unfortunate, as it affects serious issues of national development.
He said although it was normal in democracy for the two arms to disagree, he stressed that the persistent feud over almost everything was bad for the polity.
The former speaker said the country’s democracy should by now be matured enough to outgrow the unnecessary face-off between the executive and legislature.
“Honestly, the incessant frictions between the executive and legislative arms over issues of development are very unfortunate.
“We thought we had outgrown that, we had thought the problem was gone, but unfortunately it is still here in our democracy and even getting worse.
“Even though we don’t accept that there should be no friction between the two at all, we do not expect the relationship to be at this low ebb as it threatens democracy and progress’’, he said.
Mr Na’abba largely blamed the problem on lack of respect for each other.
He however urged both arms to close ranks work in harmony for the progress and the betterment of the people.
The former speaker particularly urged the executive to learn how to deal with the legislative arm to foster good working relationship.
“The executive should understand the kind of legislature it is working with and ensure there is harmony between it and lawmakers.
“The executive should also carry the legislature and other institutions along in all it is doing otherwise; we will continue to have this problem” he said.
He urged the two arms to put the interest of the people first in anything they were doing.
On the bill to re-order the election time table and the threats by the National Assembly to veto it after the President’s rejection, Na’aba said he had a neutral position on the issue.
He however said the National Assembly could go ahead to veto the bill if it felt that was the right thing to do.
“Well, it is not for me to suggest what the legislature should do and what it should not do.
“It is for the legislature to decide what their priorities are and whatever it is their philosophy to re-order the timetable.
“If they feel very strongly to override the president’s veto, all well and good, if they think it is necessary for them to do it, well, fine”,he said.
Mr Na’abba however said the National Assembly during his time once overrode former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s veto on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC bill.
He described the killings by suspected herdsmen as a dangerous phenomenon threatening the peace of the country.
Mr Na’abba however said some of the killings might had been perpetrated by foreigners as the country’s porous borders allowed easy access by infiltrators.
“But whatever it is or whoever is behind the killings, the development is a dangerous one which should be nipped in the bud,” he said.
Mr Na’abba also called on the government to urgently address the issue of desertification on some states as it threatened food security and access to water.
He suggested the planting of wind breakers to address the problem and also called for help for the people living in the affected areas.