The relationship between the Presidency and the National Assembly may be headed for the rocks over Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s letter to the Senate indicating that he had withheld assent to four bills recently passed by the National Assembly.
Osinbajo had last week assented to seven bills but on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read a letter to the Senate from the acting president saying he would not sign the four bills.
They are Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill 2016; National Lottery bill, 2016; Agricultural Guaranteed Credit Scheme Bill; and Currency Conversion Freezing Amendment Bill 2016.
Osinbajo said he withheld assent to the dangerous drugs bill “due to concerns regarding words & phrases used.”
He also expressed concern at “the spirit behind the amendment.”
On the lottery bill, he cited a pending legal matter as well as the National Assembly’s power to legislate on the issue.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Dino Melaye, raised a petition on the acting president’s letter and urged the Senate to go to court to seek redress.
Saraki responded by saying the letter would be referred to the legal department for advice and interpretations of the law.
Should both arms of government be unable to harmonise their differences, a clash may break out.
Previous instances of friction arising from the refusal of the Executive to assent to bills had led to clashes that almost strained the relationship between both arms.
It is uncertain if the looming clash won’t affect the passage of the 2017 budget, which has been the subject of meetings between Osinbajo, Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.