By: John Ameh and Sunday Aborisade
Details regarding the refusal of the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retired), to dismiss the officials after meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the President of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, about the deteriorating security situation in the country in the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.
This happened a few days after the two chambers of the National Assembly adopted resolutions on the security situation to officially present the resolutions in Buhari.
While Parliament called on the President to remove department heads and appoint new ones, the Senate called for a state of emergency in the event of uncertainty.
The results of PUNCH Friday on Saturday indicated that while Buhari saw reasons for Parliament’s stance at the meeting, he was not obliged to act immediately, as required by lawmakers.
A senior representative of the National Assembly told PUNCH on Saturday that the president did not want to look as if he would receive directives from lawmakers.
The official said: “The President was on the same wavelength as the National Assembly, but did not want to give the impression that he was under the leadership of the National Assembly.”
It has been learned that lawmakers have argued that given the current cordial relationship between the President and the legislature, Buhari should act on the resolutions as he expects the legislator to act on his demands.
The source said: “There was an argument that he should pursue the National Assembly resolutions on a reciprocal basis, because he too expected the legislator to bow his proposals to the Assembly nationally.
“But the president felt that he should decide whether he should (dismiss the department heads) not because the National Assembly said so. He does not take any instructions from them. However, the president was” really embarrassed “by the security situation and Lawan and Gbajabiamila admitted this at the meeting.
The official, who holds the chair of an important legislative committee, added: “Based on the results, he will eventually fire the department heads.
“This saves time. It is not certain when this will be the case. It will take some time. If you know the President, he will not act now simply because the law requires him to fire the department heads. Lawan and Gbajabiamila discussed after the one-hour meeting with State House correspondents that the department head case was a key issue that was raised in the general discussion of uncertainty.
When Lawan was asked whether the dismissal of the service providers had been discussed with Buhari, he said: “We have discussed everything that is important with regard to the security of this country.
“We believe that we need to be able to provide the armed forces and police with the equipment and well-being necessary to function effectively and efficiently.”
When asked what Buhari’s answer was, Lawan said the president agreed with the National Assembly that the security situation desperately needs attention.
He said: “Mr. President came. Of course, as the leader of this country, he is more concerned about the situation than anyone else.
“So we’re on the same wavelength that we have to do everything we can to ensure that security agencies can perform better than they do today.”
When asked again if an exchange of service managers would bring immediate solutions, Lawan said the security situation had reached a “turning point” at which all Nigerians had to intervene, including the decisions the government had to take to help people.
Gbajabiamila said the Nigerians would soon see “changes” after talking to Buhari.
Buhari is in no hurry to fire chiefs – investigation
In the meantime, those who expect the president to fire his office chiefs can wait a bit, as an investigation by PUNCH on Saturday showed they couldn’t lose their jobs soon.
Our correspondent, who spoke to some senators on condition of anonymity after a closed session on Tuesday, learned that the heads of services could be in power for another year.
A southwestern senator said the issue of department heads was discussed in depth during the meeting between Buhari, Slawan and Gbajabiamila on Monday.
The Senator said: “The President of the Senate has informed us of the outcome of the meeting. According to him, the President is currently not considering dismissing the service providers.
“He asked the chairperson of the meeting for understanding and promised to take positive action in the areas of insurgency and insecurity across the country.”
A senior senator from the Northeast also said that the president will not fire the heads of services now, based on the statement by the president of the senate.
He said: “The Senate did not adopt the dismissal of chiefs of government as a resolution. It is the House of Representatives. I do not think they should go. I firmly believe that our soldiers in the fight against the insurgency will be adequately funded and recruited will do better with more energetic staff. ”
A south-south senator who vehemently spoke out against department heads during Wednesday’s Senate debate also confirmed that Lawan’s instruction had shown that Buhari would not fire the department heads immediately.