The Federal Government on Wednesday flayed leaders of the All Progressives Congress over its directive to its members in the National Assembly to block all Executive Bills, including the passage of the 2014 budget and the screening of ministerial nominees as well as Service Chiefs, saying the move would ground the nation’s economy.
APC had last week Thursday based its directive on the Presidency’s alleged bias in the ongoing political crisis in Rivers State.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, made the government’s position known at a press briefing with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Maku said as far as the government was concerned, national interest should supersede personal interests, adding that such a directive to elected representatives to block bills or policies that would lead to the development of the nation was not expected of political leaders across party spectrum.
He said the government expected that members of the National Assembly would be allowed to use their conscience and judgment based on their understanding of any Bill before them and based on the fact that they swore to an oath to uphold the constitution in order to advance national development.
Maku said, “Partisanship is allowed in democracy but it should not be taken over and above national interest or above the need for us to offer service to Nigerians. All of us are in government really to meet the needs of our people.
“If you say that the budget should not be passed, it means you want to stop the nation’s economy, you want to ensure that traders, farmers, citizens, teachers who depend on the budget, you are asking them to either to go to hell or that you are endangering their survival because of partisanship.
“I believe that this kind of directive or position is anti-national interest; it is anti-development of Nigeria and it is not something anybody who, loves this country and who is a democrat, should encourage.
“I believe that was a mistake, it must have been one of those slips of tongues. This democracy should be supported. If this nation progresses, it does not belong to Goodluck Jonathan alone or any party”, Maku said.