The governing All Progressives Congress, APC, has urged the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Itse Sagay, to exercise restraint and desist from making utterances that may be misconstrued as an attack on the institution of the National Assembly.
The party, in a statement Wednesday, by its spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, said its call is based on efforts being made to resolve the rift between the Executive and the National Assembly.
Apart from Mr. Sagay, the APC also asked all government appointees to “stop making statements that may further worsen the relationship between the two arms of government and derail the Party’s effort to make peace”.
Mr. Sagay last week criticised the Senate for refusing to approve electoral commissioners until President Muhammadu Buhari removes the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. The Senate hinged its stance on its rejection of Mr. Magu, twice, after he was nominated as substantive chairman of EFCC by the president.
After Mr. Sagay’s statement, the Senate passed a resolution asking its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the comments made by Mr. Sagay. The Committee invited the PACAC chairman to appear before it.
However, the professor of Law on Tuesday wrote to Senate President Bukola Saraki asking him to direct the committee to withdraw its summon on him or he would sue them.
Mr. Sagay said his criticism was anchored on Section 171(1) of the Constitution, which empowered the President to appoint any person to hold or act as head of any extra-ministerial department.
He said though he was not served with any summons, he deemed it fit to join issues with members of the Senate on the violation of his fundamental right to freedom of expression.
The rights, he said, were guaranteed by Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He also said Section 88 of the Constitution under which the Senate purportedly summoned him is subject to other provisions of the Constitution, including Section 39, which guarantees freedom of expression.
The APC on Wednesday said it acknowledges the fatherly role being played by President Buhari to resolve outstanding issues with the National Assembly, by setting up a high-level committee led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“We believe the comments attributed to Prof. Sagay are uncalled for, regrettable and could further complicate the relationship between these vital arms of government.
“Our expectation would be that as a Law Professor of repute, Prof. Sagay would appreciate the need to not denigrate the institutions of democracy, be it the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary,” the party said.
It also said as an appointee of Mr. President, it expects the don to key into his principal’s temper and help him to make friends that would make his job easier and not make enemies of people who, by virtue of the position they occupy under the nation’s law, are critical to the running of government and the nurturing of democracy.
The party said it objects to Mr. Sagay’s call on the Senate to withdraw invitation extended to him.
“As someone appointed by our government, we find this kind of posturing unacceptable and potentially injurious to the peace efforts by the party.
“The party wishes to reiterate its earlier position admonishing all elected or appointed officials of our government to desist from utterances that may endanger efforts to build harmonious relationship between the two arms of government. Prof. Sagay should not operate outside this admonition,” the party said.
The party also expressed happiness with the meeting it had with the Senate Caucus on Tuesday and said is confident that all the issues raised will be addressed. It also urged the National Assembly to further intensify its efforts to ensure timely passage of the 2017 budget.
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