Jonathan, Tambuwal in war of words at democracy day celebration

The perceived animosity between the executive arm of government and the National Assembly came to the fore Monday, when President Goodluck Jonathan engaged the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in war of words at a one-day symposium marked to commemorate the nation’s Democracy Day, and the president’s one year in office.

The rare exchange somehow turned out a platform for the president, whose policies have come under stringent public attacks lately, to home in an easy win, disposing of each of Mr. Tambuwal’s concerns and seizing the moment to put forward a defense of some of his decisions.

The Speaker of the House spoke first during a presentation, accusing Mr. Jonathan of sitting on legislations passed by the National Assembly by withholding his assent.

“In as much as it is the constitutional role of the legislature to pass laws, it is equally the constitutional responsibility of Mr. President to assent to same; It is however disturbing to note that the Executive had shied away from its responsibility by not assenting to bills passed by the national assembly,” the speaker said.

Mr. Tambuwal claimed the president’s refusal was responsible for a frosty executive-legislature that dates back to the speaker’s controversial election last year, which held against the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party’s directive.

The speaker also accused the executive arm under Mr. Jonathan of usurping its powers to appropriate spending as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution, a remark that appears targeted at the president’s repeated call for amendments to approved budgets.

“In the people’s wisdom as enunciated in the 1999 Constitution as amended, the legislature has the final say on the budget document. The National Assembly has acted responsibly and consciously in exercise of its power in the belief that the Executive will come to terms to fulfill their action before long,” Mr. Tambuwal said.

“The Executive arm is made up of only two elected functionaries to wit, the President and the Vice President, whereas the National Assembly is a body of 469 elected functionaries, the adage that says two heads are better than one, does not refute the one that says he who wears the shoes know better where it pinches, and both favour the position of the elected representatives,” he added.

Responding, Mr. Jonathan said he did not signed most of the bills passed by the National Assembly because it will end up adding more over head cost at a time the government is thinking of cutting costs.

The president accused the Assembly of creating unnecessary parastatals without considering the source of funding for such agencies.

“Most of the bills passed by the National Assembly only adds to our overhead cost; We are in office because the people have elected us, so if you come up with some parastatals, the source of funding you don’t even know, it becomes a problem,” said Mr. Jonathan.

The president’s explanation seemed in line with a paradox that has dogged both arms within the past one year.

While the Jonathan administration complains of a growing number of worthless government agencies and departments that gulp federal recurrent spending annually, the legislature on the other hand churns out new offices through establishment bills nearly each week.

A presidential committee set up in 2011 by Mr. Jonathan-the Steven Oronsaye committee- has recently submitted a report recommending that hundreds of the offices be merged or shut down to save needed funding for other crucial sectors.

On the issue of budgets, the president said though the National Assembly approves the budget, it is the responsibility of his office to plan and implement it.

“The Speaker also said budget is a law, and the National Assembly makes the law, But the constitution says the president has to plan and manage the economy of this country, and for you to plan and manage the economy of a country, budget must be planned, if you send the budget to the National Assembly and they tear it into pieces, and package whatever they like back to you, is that planning or managing the economy?,” Mr. Jonathan asked.

Mr. Jonathan recalled that the Executive arm of government nearly went to the Supreme Court to seek an interpretation of who really is in charge of budgets.

“I remember when we came in 2007, we even wanted to go court, our believe was that let the Supreme Court of Nigeria tell us if it is the duty of the National Assembly to plan the economy; let them do the budget, handover to us, we will implement, But if it is our duty to plan the budget, then you should listen to us, because the executive arm of government have the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Finance and the CBN. Budgets are not just created from the moon, it takes some projections based on commitment and funding,” he added.

Mr. Jonathan admonished the leadership of the Assembly from openly criticizing the government as that is what “anti government people want”, adding that the Executive and legislature must be seen to be working together for their own good.

“If we begin to see this clear division, then you are also exposing the National Assembly to people who are anti-government to use”.

“There is theoretical separation of powers, but where the executive and the legislature come from the same political party, they must work together for democracy to be meaningful to Nigerians”.

“No matter how bad you feel about any situation, you just follow the rule of law, when an elected president fails to follow the rule of law, and then there is no democratic setting again.”


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  • patriot

    Has GEJ declared his assets? that is where it all begins. The president has no respect for the laws/constitution of the land. If the house sees a president & his vice are not following the law, why are they not impeached? the constitution is there. the house of thieves too, same, same. bunch of looters, thieves. pls fight well well oh, may be it can reduce the looting by 1%. means something to the common man.

    • concernednigerian

      @ Patriot. Stop this ignorance. Assets have been declared as required by law. There is no requirement to publish such declaration. If you’re so interested in the assets of the President, then contact the appropriate authorities failing which you could go to a court of law to establish you entitlement. This is a public forum hence everybody is free to express an opinion but we are here neither to peddle ignorance nor stoop so low to the level of the kindergarten.Must ignorance be bliss?

      • Michael Makan

        @concernednigerian, u are the ignorant…so can you please direct us to the appropriate office that is keeping the files for the declared assets?….You are definitely one of the crooks…. Ole!

        • Somebody

          @Michael, You are definitely not educated, far beyond ignorant.

          • Johncollinsjnr

            And now we fight? We should be moved to tears and shame by the state of this Nation. Some here have spoken very intelligently but we all see the state of our Nation from different perspective? We however have one common denominator, we are all Nigerians and we want better. But are we willing to try, to sweat to shed blood, to pay out bills, pay our tax, demand accountability and most of all is it not true that an average Nigerian is corrupt?
            When last did you give to that poor widow or the poor begger you drive past every day? And yet you demand from your leaders? As of now this are the leaders we deserve, the change we clamour for must start from each of us.

            Thank you and God bless Nigeria

  • obinna

    when the executives and legislature dnt agree, that is democracy at work,, becos it keeps every one at it toes. it makes the exco not to feel powerful becos he know the legislature can giv him sack letter,it also makes the legilature to more active, becos that is why it is there. but when both enjoy cosy relationships, then anarchy and curruption sets in,. for example, fuel subsidy probe is unthinkable if such relationship existed. in the last one year of the present despensation, the house came first in rank, the senate, exco, and judiciary is just failure.
    To u mr president, i know nigeria get too many problem, which is not caused by u though, but if i were to be in ur shoes right now, i will do just one thing and nigerians will 4ever celebrate u,
    1.. do whatever it takes to give us light
    2.. Give Efcc free hand to bring down any percieved corrupt person even if they are ur ministers,
    3, For economy and job, focus on agric, do things that will attract our youths back to farm,, u knw what i mean
    4.. for security, creat a national bio data or whatever. let every nigerian be registered from noth to south. let every nigerian be on that data, this is the only way u can win the present war on our national security, becos criminals will always nomatter how professional they are leave tresses and prints ever where they go, if u do this things, nomatter where u come from, even ur party opposition will giv u another ticket com 2015. if u cant, just resign wth honour and move on, instead of getting daily embarrasment fro nigerians as if they didnt vote u in. i didnt vote 4 u, but i kind of want u to prove ur critics wrong. be wise.

    • Yaks

      Yours is not sentiment nor religious dogmatism, but a clear indication of a myopic and blatant lier seeking for political favouritism. Pls go to school, preferably PRIMARY.

    • Yaks

      Thanks for your good analysis.
      But will they do that. How can somebody take himself to court that he is an arm robber?

  • KenMani

    Is this the same Jonathan that the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani led by Atiku, IBB malicious propaganda machine have been going to town screaming with lies that Jonathan is unintelligent, he is completely incompetent and incapable of dealing with corruption. I urge Nigerians to read this exchange between Jonathan and Tambuwaal and judge for themselves. We Nigerians must stop being gullible and must refuse to allow rogues and stinking corrupt men like Atiku and IBB to mislead us. They lie that Jonathan is incompetent but we are all living witnesses that before Jonathan many Nigerians sometimes spent about three days traveling from Lagos to Benin. I know of a friend who left Onitsha on Saturday for Lagos. He arrived Lagos just a little before noon on Monday. I know of another friend who left Lagos on a Friday for Port Harcourt. He arrived Port Harcourt past midnight on Saturday. But today with Jonathan I have traveled that road six times this year and all my trips on that road took less than three and half hours. Yet, they lie that Jonathan is not performing.

    • Adviser

      @KenMani, you are just an ignorant begot who still walks about in his grandparents rotten shoes. Your old parents thought Jesus was English out of colonial hallucinations and you blindly inheritated their rotten views without striving to evolve as a modern day christian. Why don’t you try the Jamaica’s or the Hatians who postulated their on version of “Black Jesus”, or even the Indian Christians who draw their own “Hindu” version. That could have made your view point worthy of thought. Now that your thinking is still of that of a brainwashed, unintelligent grand child who has lost all purpose of an independant state of mind. How could any one trust your “hatred” motivated assertions above? I don’t know you and I don’t care who you are, but take it from me that without the North and its Elements, the entity called Nigeria would be no more. Because, the North is the sole stabilising force of the Nation! Ask those among your tribe who claim to have knowledge and experience, if there are any atall, for confirmation of this fact. And REMEMBER! leaders come, leaders go. BUT, Nigeria and Nigerians remain. Jonathan too, like all those people you’ve mentined above will one day be HISTORY and so will you, it is just a matter of time. Nigeria MUST continue, like it or not.

  • KenMani

    On electricity, except for Lagos that is merely experiencing a slight decline, reports reaching me from all over the country even Umuahia and Benin ndicate significant tangible improvement in power supply. My own village before Jonathan only received may be a total of two or three days electricity usually in the last week of December or the first week of January; and that will be all for the whole year. Today, with Jonathan in power I traveled to my Village in March, April and May this year; for each trip I spent not less than a week but all through my stay in the village I had electricity supply. Yet they lie that Jonathan is not performing. Just the other day the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani Speaker Tambuwaal who desecrated the Christian Sunday, was touring Airports in the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani States. He discovered that Jonathan had transformed these Airports from shanties to ultra modern International Airports. Yet they lie that Jonathan is not performing and gullible Nigerians are tempted to believe them.

    • Benedicta

      KenMani KenMani, the entity who has sold his birth right for a pot of porridge! I live in Abuja, Wuye District, five minutes drive or less from Berger. I hardly see light 5 hours a day. So where is the improvement? How Many people use the airports? You are just jobless and probably seeking to take over Reuben Abati’s job- you will do well there you know *wink

    • Yaks

      To KenMani,

      Yours is not sentiment nor religious dogmatism, but a clear indication of a myopic and blatant lier seeking for political favouritism. Pls go to school, preferably PRIMARY.

    • Emychuks

      its because we have people like you thats why nigeria is where it is today. Even in America, the legislative, executive and Judiciary are set up in a format such that they can check each other. Its a known fact that Jonathan is not performing, even the blind can see it. Germany Today is boasting of 20 thousand Giga watt, Ghana Just commisioned a new Refinary, even Niger repulic is offering to refine our oil for us and you seat there and say Jonathan is performing. It obvious he is confused and overwelmed and the soon he and pdp leaves that seat, the better for Nigerians

  • KenMani

    On corruption, it is not a hidden fact that the only endemic culture of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani is corruption. Without corruption they will not survive and maintain their luxurious lifestyle that is not supported by any form of positive productivity known to human kind. They have nothing positive to contribute to the national cake. They live and breathe corruption without which they die. IBB, Atiku, El Rufai etc. etc etc are the epitome of this endemic corruption culture of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani. Those that are shouting that Jonathan must fight corruption and completely eradicate corruption in Nigeria must first tell us how the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will survive in Nigeria if corruption is eradicated. People must appreciate that Jonathan is humane and does not harbor any intention of carrying out genocide against the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani by forcefully removing their “feeding bottle” otherwise called corruption. The Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani need to be rehabilitated before anybody can fight corruption in the vigorous sense that most people especially from the South want. Methinks, Jonathan understands this fact; that the only thriving industry owned and managed by the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani in Nigeria is corruption.

  • KenMani

    On corruption, it is not a hidden fact that the only endemic culture of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani is corruption. Without corruption they will not survive and maintain their luxurious lifestyle that is not supported by any form of positive productivity known to human kind. They have nothing positive to contribute to the national cake. They live and breathe corruption without which they die. IBB, Atiku, El Rufai etc. etc etc are the epitome of this endemic corruption culture of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani. Those that are shouting that Jonathan must fight corruption and completely eradicate corruption in Nigeria must first tell us how the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will survive in Nigeria if corruption is eradicated. People must appreciate that Jonathan is humane and does not harbor any intention of carrying out genocide against the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani by forcefully removing their “feeding bottle” otherwise called corruption. The Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani need to be rehabilitated before anybody can fight corruption in the vigorous sense that most people especially from the South want. Methinks, Jonathan understands this fact; that the only thriving industry owned and managed by the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani in Nigeria is corruption. I am waiting for that Nigerian bold enough to come out and tell me how the unproductive Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will survive in Nigeria and maintain their luxurious lifestyle and high taste without corruption.

  • The major occupations of the Hausa and Fulani of Nigeria are farming and animal husbandry. These occupations are tasking and tasking. They are not occupations for rentiers and corruption-riddled southern pseudo-educated illiterates. Without these so-called Northerners, feeding Nigerians, which is already a problem, would assume a frightening dimension. One day, monkey go go market and he no go return.

    • KenMani

      Please tell me if IBB, Atiku, El Rufai are farmers. The truth is that just like the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are about to suffocate because they are not residing in Aso Rock and presiding over corruption, that is exactly what will happen if they are not appointed Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Falsely claiming that their major occupation is farming and animal husbandry they cornered this vital ministry and are using it to channel trillions of Naira corruptible to themselves and their kit and kins. Don’t give the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and see if they will not make the country ungovernable and start a violent revolution using more that than twenty Boko Haram sects to throw bombs all over the country. “Conscience is an open wound; only Truth can heal it”. (Othman Dan Fodio). The main reason for corruption in Nigeria resides with the fact that the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are completely unproductive and contribute nothing to the national cake, yet they live a luxurious lifestyle and maintain extremely high taste. Regrettably, they are the same people now using their malicious propaganda machine coordinated by IBB and Atiku to unjustly blame Jonathan for the corruption that favours them alone and without which they cannot survive.

    • KenMani

      Please tell me if IBB, Atiku, El Rufai are farmers. The truth is that just as the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are about to suffocate because they are not residing in Aso Rock and presiding over corruption that is exactly what will happen if they are not appointed Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Falsely claiming that their major occupation is farming and animal husbandry they cornered this vital ministry and are using it to corruptly channel trillions of Naira to themselves and their kit and kins. The truth is that it is the neighboring countries including Niger, Chad etc. etc that are really doing the farming and Animal Husbandry not the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani who spend the day relaxing playing cards under trees that shade them from the sun while waiting for proceeds of corruption and Federal allocations. Don’t give the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and see if they will not make the country ungovernable and start a violent revolution using more that than twenty Boko Haram sects to throw bombs all over the country. “Conscience is an open wound; only Truth can heal it”. (Othman Dan Fodio). The main reason for corruption in Nigeria resides with the fact that the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are completely unproductive and contribute nothing to the national cake, yet they live a luxurious lifestyle and maintain extremely high taste. Regrettably, they are the same people now using their malicious propaganda machine coordinated by IBB and Atiku to unjustly blame Jonathan for the corruption that favours them alone and without which they cannot survive.

      • Bakrsmgee

        Mr KEN please focus your energy in other directions apart from Hausa-Fulani debate. You seem to be the only one debating nobody is proposing or opposing your motion- meaning you are not making sence at all.

  • Mainantata

    Both Tambuwal aon GEJ are guilty of the smae bloody crimes for which they accuse each other.PERIOD ! Mek I hear word,please.

  • Garyadebola

    @KenMani i served in the north and without the north there will no food in this country…so get that clear….

    • KenMani

      I served in two states of the North, old Bauchi State and old Kaduna State. I schooled in the North for 5years. I worked in the core North States at Senior Management level for over 7years. I know more than you who only served in the North for less than one year. The scale of farming we are talking about here is more than peasant rural farming.