President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Monday, called for closer partnership between the executive and legislative arms to ensure effective governance in the country.
Saraki who made the call in his speech at the opening session of the 1st National Assembly Open Week (NASSOW) in Abuja, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, said it is imperative for both arms of government to better understand one another through "compromise, consultation and engagement."
"It is also my hope that during this week, we will be able to better represent what we are doing to Nigerians," Saraki said. "It is my hope that the Executive arm will also be able to get a better understanding of National Assembly’s role."
He added: "Let us work together. Let us understand each other. Let us understand that compromise, consultation and engagement are the factors that will ensure that as a government, we work together effectively.
"The message that I would like us to take away from here is: We must work together. We must understand our responsibilities and we must put Nigeria first.
"I just got back from America, and I noticed that even after over 200 years of their democracy, they still go through the same challenges. We should not despair. Democracy is a journey that will take a while. However, we must be committed to working together," Saraki stated.
The President of the Senate also noted that Parliaments all over the world act as unifying forces in democratic society since the manner of their conversation makes them the true representatives of the people.
"It follows therefore that the National Assembly, is the closest arm of government to the Nigerian people," he said. "The wide-range of activities that we have planned for this week will ensure that we remain the closest arm of government to the people and that our doors will remain open."
He stated that accessibility of the National Assembly Complex is deliberate, to ensure that citizens have access to their elected representatives.
He equally expressed hope that the open week would provide another opportunity for lawmakers to interact with the people and showcase what they are doing in order to foster a better understanding of the role of the National Assembly.
He said: "As legislators, we are very much aware that modern lawmaking, requires the deliberate engagement of people. This is because, the issues that matter to people should form the core objective of parliament.
"This Open Week will ensure that the National Assembly remains in tune with the mood of the nation because from our findings, we see that a majority of Nigerians are not sure about the work of the National Assembly.
"We hope that through this process, more Nigerians will be able to understand our role and responsibilities — the work that we do; the bills that we pass; the process that it takes; and the procedures that are required in the legislative system," he stated.