NASS Crisis: Ex-Rep Blames APC Leaders

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Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senate President Bukola Saraki.

From Victor Seyi, Ilorin

A former member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Moshood Mustapha, has blamed the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for not wading early enough into the jostling for leadership position in the National Assembly until it became a crisis.
He, however, expressed confidence that given the ongoing interventions Nigerians will have cause to smile when the legislators resume from their current break.
Mustapha spoke with reporters in Ilorin, Kwara State at the weekend.
The former lawmaker also kicked against suggestions to dismantle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) but expressed support for the probe of the corporation, saying that the aim of such investigation should be to unbundle the NNPC to make it work like its counterparts in other parts of the world.
He added: “I don’t think probing is a new thing. During the seventh Assembly we did a lot of probe in oil and gas and the eight Assembly won’t be a difference. But I don’t believe that we should scrap NNPC. We should unbundle it. NNPC is an institution but the way it is
structured is not giving Nigerians the desired result. We have PETROBAS in Brazil and we have other similar institutions across the World but when you see the way they operate they allow for competition around the entire oil and gas industry so there is no situation where
the regulator is also a player. It is only in Nigeria that the regulator is also a player in the field. Once we do that you will see investors coming in to play and then Nigerians can begin to enjoy the full value for the agency.
“The National Assembly crisis was unexpected and what do I mean by that? The government that was in power for 16 years had a very vibrant opposition which has now taken over the rein of power, reversing the former situation. And in that kind of situation you expect all sort of misunderstanding, crisis in the area of interest and when you have
that kind of situation the best thing for the leadership of the party to do, which of course they did not do and which actually led to the aggravation of the whole problem, was to call the whole house to order.
“But in a situation where the leadership of the party decided to take side with one faction of the groups will definitely not augur well for the house. And by and large there is no way we will get peace in the National Assembly except we stop external interference. National
Assembly is not a political party’s secretariat. It is an assemblage of people with different political background who have what we call national assignment to perform for the nation. So the issue of party platform is secondary when it comes to issues of legislature.
“It is wrong to force somebody you have defeated in an election to come and run the same office with you. But the Assembly will come out of it. I am sure by the time House resumes we will have cause to smile.”

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