The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has called for effective collaboration and harmony with the leadership of the 10th National Assembly to address all issues confronting the country.
He said without effective collaboration it would be difficult for Nigeria to surmount her economic and political problems.
The Vice President stated this while speaking during the two-day retreat for the leadership of the Assembly, organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, in collaboration with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftunh e. V, held at Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Friday.
He stated, “Governance is a collective responsibility and not a personal endeavour. Our most significant achievement will be attained through cooperation and harmony. This is what we take from you because we are brothers and sisters in pursuit of a country that has all of us.
“For the first time in our history, all the elected heads of branches of our government were produced by the hallowed halls of the National Assembly, coming together for the common good of the nation. The Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President are proud alumni. The First Lady and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation are all members of alumni.
“Certainly, what this means is that we cannot afford to go to war, not because we are going to overlook each other’s transgressions but because we are going to engage with those who know the gravity of their work and will never take you for granted.”
He warned against division, saying, “The 10th National Assembly is unquestionably the richest we have had so far. You (National Assembly) have the President and Vice President who were once part of you and recognise the sacrifices you make.
“President Bola Tinubu has reassured us with a heart of certainty that we are not in government to go to war with the National Assembly, we are here to collaborate and march towards shared prosperity.”
He said based on projection, Nigeria would be the third most populous nation on earth by 2050 and the country’s population would hit 440 million, surpassing the United States. He projected that by the end of the century, Nigeria would be the most populous nation on earth, asking what the country intends to do with the demographic growth.
He stated, “We can turn the demographic growth into demographic dividends. I believe, with the quality of leadership we have, it will not turn into a demographic disaster that will consume all of us.”
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, stressed that Nigeria could not move forward unless the various stakeholders and groups see the need for effective collaboration.
He said it was an error to blame the All Progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic party or any other party for Nigeria’s problem, adding that the country faced a collective action problem because relevant groups and stakeholders had failed to collaborate.
He added, “My friends and colleagues, let us not make the mistake of thinking that our problem is APC or PDP or LP or SDP or any other party. That is an error. We face a collective action problem because relevant groups and stakeholders in our country fail to connect, cooperate and collaborate.
“But if we, the leadership of the 10th National Assembly can properly understand and effectively use collective action processes in the official conduct of business, we would achieve positive outcomes for our country.”
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeem Abbas, expressed delight for the retreat, noting that it would create an opportunity for the legislators to contribute immensely to the attainment of the eight-point agenda of the President.
The Speaker admonished his colleagues in both chambers to think first of national development, emphasising that the three arms of government must be in symphony to ensure that the current administration delivers on its promises to the people.
The host governor, Pastor Umo Éno, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Akon Ayakenyi, in his goodwill message expressed happiness over the Federal Government’s bipartisan and inclusive approach to governance.
In his welcome address, the Director-General of NILDA, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, stated that the retreat was organised to reflect, learn and strategise to collectively enhance the performance of the National Assembly.
Sulaiman stressed that the only way the President could achieve his lofty goals is to ensure that the necessary legislative frameworks support government actions.