The National Assembly has again tackled the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), saying the minister ought to understand the difference between activism and governance.
Keyamo was ordered out of the National Assembly on Tuesday following his refusal to apologise after the legislators accused him of raising his voice at them over the Federal Government’s planned recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians under the Special Public Works programme.
Subsequently, the National Assembly suspended the programme on Wednesday.
Speaking with journalists on Friday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, said, “It is an irony that a member of the executive tried to tell the National Assembly how to do its job. When we say we want the door closed to interact with you on something we feel is of national security or should not be out in the open until issues are ironed out, you don’t say it is an atmosphere for corruption. You don’t tell us how to run our affairs because you don’t oversee us when you appear before us. It is our call and we tell you how we want the interaction to be carried out. You can’t tell us how you want it to go.
“It is good for us to understand one another and not to bring gangsterism into government. I have seen a good number of people from the executive appear before the parliament with so much humility. An example is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Boss Mustapha). If you invite him 20 times, he will come and carry himself with so much humility and answer you diligently. He is a good example for many of them to copy. He will never take issues with the members of parliament. That is a man that understands democracy and parliament.
“If you invite the Minister of Works and Housing (Babatunde Fashola), he comes, sits down and answers all questions posed to him without confrontation. He understands that it does not take anything away from him. So, when you are invited by the legislative arm of government, it is not to indict you or to harass you, but for you to explain certain things to us because of agitations from our constituencies.”
Kalu stated that if all parties understood the concept of separation of powers, it would help the relationship between both arms of government.
He said, “The President worked so hard to achieve the robust relationship between both arms of government, knowing what he suffered during the first tenure; but note that the checks and balances should not be there.”
“The less the rancour, the more the respect for each other and that would help the government to grow and the nation also will benefit. But it appears that those who are under the President are not reading the body language of the President. His followers and cabinet members should emulate him. Some of them have yet to understand that there is a great difference between being an activist and running a government.”