Prior to their meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a few opposition political groups issued warnings to their members.
Recall that on Monday, Tinubu called MPs from the opposition to a meeting at the Presidential Villa.
According to news sources, the discussion may be focused on efforts to strengthen a cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislature and to improve the procedure for choosing the National Assembly leadership.
The invitation was signed by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to the President, and Tijanni Umar, the Permanent Secretary of the White House.
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The parliamentarians were instructed by him to show up and submit their list for security clearance.
Following the invitation, significant political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) warned lawmakers elected on their platforms not to submit to the whims and caprices of the executive over the 10th National Assembly leadership contest.
They claimed that while there was nothing improper in attending the meeting organized by Tinubu, its participants needed to protect themselves from excessive interference from the executive.
Agbo Major, a spokesman for the NNPP, asserted that the newly elected opposition members should operate free from influence from the executive, adding that the lawmakers must always guarantee that the three branches of government uphold the idea of separation of powers.
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While announcing that the NNPP would not obstruct its members-elect if the President summoned them to a meeting, Major cautioned that the party might not be so friendly to Tinubu if the meeting’s goal was connected to the struggle for control of the 10th National Assembly.
He said: “In any case, if the meeting is connected to the choice of National Assembly leadership, then the party will take a different position as we believe in the independence of the legislative arm of government, which ideally should operate without interference from the executive arm in conformity with the principles of separation of power.
“As party loyalists, our elected members will return to brief the party, after which appropriate decisions would be taken in the interest of the suffering masses.”
The PDP would put the interests of the country above partisanship, according to Debo Ologunagba, the party’s spokesman in response to the invitation.
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He noted that the party has not yet received a request for such a meeting with its member-elect.
He said, “The PDP does not take dictates from another party. As far as the leadership of the 10th Assembly is concerned, the party will take a position that is in the interest of Nigeria, not the interest of another political party.
“Our members-elect in the National Assembly know this very well, and from the retreat we had today (Saturday), they know where the PDP stands on the matter. We are too big as a party to take sides with another party against the Nigerian people. No, we are too big for that.”
Julius Abure, the national chairman of the LP, asserted that the executive cannot force a certain candidate on the National Assembly leadership.
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He said: “It is for the legislators to decide who will be their leader. So, whoever is calling them, there is nothing wrong with attending.
“Their capacity to return and do what is right is what is key. They are adults and people representing their constituents who know their career is also at stake.
“Whoever is willing to destroy his career; that’s his business. Those who ride on the back of the people need to be very careful because four years is not forever.
“The step they take from the day they are sworn in will determine whether they will go back or not. Therefore, it is in their collective interest to do the right thing and enthrone somebody that will work for the country, not necessarily an anointed candidate.
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“It is not the meeting that matters but what they do on June 13 when they will be electing the leadership of the House.”
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