Buhari Must Apologise To Lawmakers, Dino Melaye Insists
Dino Melaye, Senator representing Kogi West has again stirred the hornet nest, with a call for an apology from President Muhammadu Buhari over the latter’s comment that lawmakers overstay their usefulness in the National Assembly.
Recall that President Buhari, while receiving a delegation of the Buhari Campaign Organization in the State House wondered why some lawmakers have continued to return to the National Assembly even when they have nothing to show for it in terms of productivity.
Consequently, Senator Melaye, while taking issue with the President’s assertions argued that the statement impinged on his person and privilege as a lawmaker, as well as the institution that he represents.
He said: “As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who came to the National Assembly in 2007, about 11 years ago, I am particularly unhappy and my privilege was abused by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
“Mr President, the President at the Presidential Villa while addressing a delegation of the campaign organization I have a copy to tender before the senate,” he said.
Melaye expressed dissatisfaction on Buhari’s comment, desiring it as “unpresidential”.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his address said he does not know what we are doing. He said some of us have been in the National Assembly for over 10 years and we have nothing to show for it and I said this statement is not only unpresidential but is an assault on my person and the institution of the National Assembly where I’m proudly a member.
“Such derogatory statements and insults on the National Assembly should not be allowed to go unnoticed. I’m very proud to be a member of the National Assembly that I have been for the past 11 years.
“For the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to speak in low tunes about the National Assembly of Nigeria, I asked myself if Donald Trump will address congress in like manner,” he added.
Melaye further noted that the attitude and disposition of the President toward the National Assembly is the reason why his appointees don’t honour invitations from the legislature.
“One then begins to wonder why you will summon the IGP and he will refuse to come, we are not surprised why directors-general of parastatals or agencies will refuse to honour summons of the National Assembly because the body language of the President is demeaning.
“The occasion where the President made the statement was the delegation when the Buhari Campaign Organization led by the Comptroller-General of Customs visited him at the Presidential Villa.
“I want to said that Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, for using this un-parliamentary, unconstitutional language on the National Assembly, apologies to the National Assembly,” he submitted.
Melaye also questioned the involvement of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali in partisan activities of the President, saying that for heads of government agencies to openly identify with a given political party would be contrary to their oath of office.
Reacting to the plea by Mr Melaye, Senate President Bukola Saraki called for caution in trying to draw conclusions on what transpired between the President and the visitors.
Saraki noted the possibility of the President being misquoted in the press, and as such requires careful examination, as he urged Melaye to formally tender the video evidence said to contain the President’s comment.
“The President might have been misquoted to say that. We should not rush to come to the conclusion and in so doing, make contributions that might be of concern. We all agree that this institution is an institution that we must all protect at any given time.
“The agencies that continue to participate in politics as well, we must call them to order. Because I believe that we are not helping the institutions. Those institutions know that they have a role to play and as such they must not be seen to be doing things like that”, Saraki stated.