Count President Buhari out of National Assembly crisis- Femi Adesina says

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Special Adviser to the President on Media and
Publicity, Femi Adesina, has dismissed
allegations by the national assembly leadership
that the Presidency was behind its many
travails. The Senate during its plenary last
Tuesday June 21st, accused the presidency of
using the judiciary to fight & intimidate the
legislature.
Lawmakers made the allegation in the wake of
the fresh charges of forgery of senate orders
leveled against Senate President Bukola Saraki
and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu, for which they
would be arraigned before an Abuja high court
tomorrow June 27th.
In this fresh interview with Independent
correspondent in Aso Villa, Innocent Oweh, Femi
Adesina, dismissed the claim, stating that
President Buhari understands the separation of
power in a democratic system
“They are independent arms, the judiciary is
independent, the legislature is independent of the
executive, so if they are independent, how can
one be behind the travails of another. It doesn’t
add up. If you know this President you will know
that he plays by the rules strictly. So, he will
not have anything to do with undermining any
other independent arm of government. Not this
President. They can source their troubles to
somewhere else, if they have any troubles, but
not this President. They are purely independent
bodies, they just relate within the ambit of the
law and constitution and I have no cause to
believe that there is anything wrong with the
relationship”he said
With the gloomy economy, workers are becoming
tensed, and recently staff of the Federal Ministry
of Finance protested over poor welfare issues,
are you aware of their grievances?
I read the explanation from the finance ministry
that what they are agitating for had been
stopped by the previous government, that
explains it. If there would be further
explanations, I think its the ministry of finance
that would do it, but I think what they have said
satisfies me, it suffices for now
What would you say is the policy direction of
this administration, especially on the economy?
It is that Nigerians need to look inward, all the
luxuries that we can’t afford have to be cut off
and that is simply what this government wants
to do. There are 41 items under forex ban now,
that already shows you the direction this
administration is going. Whatever we cannot
afford and we can do without let’s cut it off.
Why do we expend scarce foreign exchange on
rice, cement, toothpick or tomato puree; on
things that we can produce locally, so that
already shows the direction the government
wants to take the economy.
Nigerians seem to have taken government
deregulation policy in its stride, what informed
this policy? Not only do you have fuel prices
coming down, it shows you that by the time the
thing is in full stream, there is going to be
competition in terms of prices and people will
buy where they like and that very process itself
would force down prices.
The 2016 budget is undergoing implementation,
should Nigerians still maintain high optimism
that they had at the inception of this
administration?
Optimism is part of life, optimism keeps us
going. By the time we lose optimism, we have
lost everything. So, I expect that we continue to
be optimistic. As clear as day follows the night,
things will get better in Nigeria.
Buhari has obviously made his mark in tackling
terrorism but Nigerians would like to know what
gave him the impetus to deliver in a short time?
The difference is clear. Government is a
continuum; we know where the last
administration stopped. This government
continued from there and we all know where we
are now, where we are today is very far to
where we were this time last year. In fact, there
is almost no comparison between where we are
now on the issue of terrorism and where we
were this time last year.
How was the magic performed to quell the
crisis?
You know the President himself is a retired
General, so he knows what to do. He changed
the leadership of the military, he arranged for
retraining, arranged for re-equipping, he
arranged moral booster for them and everything
working together for good has led us to where
we are now.
But challenges of IDPs have cropped up as a
result of terrorism, how would the Federal
Government address that issue as well?
You know that there are groups and agencies
working with the Federal Government on that.
There is also the Danjuma Committee set up to
ensure that their plight is attended to. There are
international organisations working in concert
with the Federal Government on that, all I want
you to know is yes, the issues of IDPs are being
tackled. It is a major issue that is being
attended to.
How far about the MoUs signed by President
Muhammadu Buhari on his recent trip to China,
has it been rested?
We came back from China with potential
investments in excess of about $6billion dollars
and it is work in progress now because it’s a
process, we have signed the Memorandum of
Understandings and we must come up with
counterpart funding, which was what the
Jonathan administration did not do; they signed
most of the MoUs but they didn’t do their own
part of funding. This government, despite the
paucity of funds, will do its part.
We have heard that the railway transport
programme resuscitated by the immediate past
administration will come on stream by July, can
you throw more enlightenment on that?
Yes, the Ministry of Transport is in a better
position to tell you but I am aware because I
have heard the Minister of Transport, Rotimi
Amaechi saying that it will come on stream
soon, so its a good development. Nigeria is
making progress. That shows you the benefits of
continuing with the policies and projects of the
previous government because that was a project
inherited and it was taken forward. A petty
government could have come and discontinued
it, no it was taken forward and we are in the
verge of launching it. It shows you that
government must always be large-hearted,
broad minded enough to continue the good
things it inherited.
You have been with the President as one of his
media aides in the last one year, how would you
describe your experience so far?
Fulfilling. I came to do this work in the first
place because it is the President, the person of
the President brought me. I am not a person
that wanted to work in government but the
person of the President was the attraction for
me and I am happy doing it. I will serve him
anyday.

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