To many discerning minds, it would not be long before the simmering war between the Executive arm of the Federal Government, represented by the President and members of his cabinet, and the members of the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives, would burst in the open.
Not that the two bodies had all along been enjoying robust relationships since inception in 2015, but that some events in the last few weeks have made it imperative that the two bodies are actually spoiling for war.
First, the two chambers of the National Assembly had altered the Electoral Law and reversed the order for the forthcoming 2019 elections as earlier proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which some people suggested was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
There is a strong belief in certain quarters that should the President refuse to assent to the bill, the legislators would mobilize themselves and muster two thirds majority of their members to override the Presidential veto. Already, some dissident Senators, called “pro-Buhari Senators”, are said to be currently facing some disciplinary actions by the Senate.
The Peace Corps Bill already passed by the National Assembly, but which the President had refused to assent is said to be another sore issue. The lawmakers were said to be dissatisfied with the reasons given by the President for not signing the bill and are mobilising themselves to override the Presidential veto. It is claimed that in the House of Representatives, about 173 signatures out of 360 members of the House have so far been obtained to override the Presidential veto.
Meanwhile, the 2018 budget is still securely locked up in the two chambers of the National Assembly gathering dust, more than three months after the budget was submitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers seem to have predicated the passage of the budget which ought to have started running since January, on the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which is generally perceived to be politically motivated.
Sort of reporting the National Assembly to his political party for discipline, President Muhammadu Buhari while addressing the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), two weeks ago, had made it clear that his administration was able to make tremendous progress in governance within the past two and half years it had been in office “without the support and cooperation of the National Assembly.”
This was a clear indication that all had not been well between the two arms of the Federal Government. Interestingly, none of the two presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly attended that NEC meeting, even though they are statutorily members of it.
Sure, we are going to witness more dramatic events in the weeks, if not days ahead.