The Senate on Wednesday came down heavily on three Presidential aides over their alleged inflammatory comment on the National Assembly, describing them as fifth columnists.
The Special Adviser on Political affairs, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak and his Public Communication counterpart, Doyin Okupe were accused of allegedly casting aspersion on the National Assembly for their remarks after the presentation of the 2013 budget by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Senate however urged President Jonathan to caution his Ministers and other aides against making inflammatory statement against legislature to avoid straining the cordial relationship between the Legislature and Executive.
This was as the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Joy Emordi came down hard on her affected colleagues saying, they are not representing the views of President Jonathan, they are therefore on their own.
Gulak, had asked Nigerians to blame the National Assembly for the poor implementation of the 2012 budget saying, “Presentation of the budget is one thing while its passage is another. As a remainder, the 2012 budget was passed by the National Assembly in April. So, how do you expect the budget to have been implemented by 80 per cent in September?
Speaking on the motion sponsored by the Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu advised President Goodluck Jonathan to sack some of his aides because they are putting him on the part of confusion.
The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba expressed dissatisfaction with Doyin Okupe’s reaction to the comment by the two chambers on budget presentation urging President Jonathan to take a second look at the agenda of most of his aides noting that they have started behaving like fifth columnists.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said, “this is the political adviser to the president, not any other adviser. A man who should be directing him in political affairs; simply telling him that he doesn’t need to bother himself signing our bills that we know what to do.
“So, he can as well ignore us to pass all the bills in the world, if he doesn’t sign it all we need to do is to come back here and then we use two-thirds and veto it. That is what he is telling the President.
“If I were Mr. President, he won’t last the next one minute in my office. He will not, because he is just putting him on the path of collision and conflict with an otherwise an institution that has no problem with him.
So, maybe we can take advantage of his advice to Mr. President. So we take his advice, when we come back from our short break we list all those ones that he has advice the President not to sign, and then we come back and then we veto all of them.
“And then it becomes a tradition in this place. Once we send a bill and it is not signed, we bring it back and we veto it. But I think it is unfortunate, but that’s exactly the legacy as what Mr. Gulack would be remembered.
Apparently not happy in his countenance, President of the Senate, David Mark said, “I think we all feel hurt and very bad about these statements, the President as a person is a perfect gentleman. What however is bit disturbing is that he has surrounded himself with aides who are far from being gentlemen.
“They are totally incapable both mentally and otherwise in doing their work, they think they can please him by attacking the National Assembly, by discouraging the National Assembly; trying to belittle us or giving an impression that we don’t know what we are doing. It is extremely unfortunate. the statements that have emanated from the aides so far are totally unnecessary, they are unfortunate; they are not helpful in anyway.
They are the people who should really try to build a bridge between the executive and the legislature. But they are doing the direct opposite. We don’t want intermediary between us and the Executive and they are not capable of doing that either.
“I’m not aware of any aide who has gone and won election in his local government. Not one. And yet they find it very easy to make comments about members of the National Assembly.
“By now I think Gulack has no business in the villa any more. But since it is not our duty to employ people for Mr. President, they are his personal aides, it is not our duty to sack his own aides either. But by now I think he ought to know what he should do with his aides who are putting him on a collision course with the National Assembly. They certainly cannot be described as good or helpful aides.”
Emordi in her press statement said, “The alleged statements neither reflect the views of Mr. president, in other words, those whom the statement are credited were on their own and never spoke the minds of the President”.