The Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari, hosted leaders of the National Assembly at a dinner in the State House, Abuja.
Mr President said that an effective working relationship with the legislative arm of government will easily translate into more gains for Nigerians, noting that “it pays to maintain neighbourliness’’.
Buhari said that “cultivating neighbourliness’’ on individual and national level will deepen the values of democracy and speed up development process by saving the cost of delays and repairs.
The President while reacting to the outcome of the just concluded elections of the officers in the upper and lower chamber, he stated that he was pleased with the voting pattern of principal leaders of the National Assembly, which showed a lot of maturity and patriotism, and also signalled to all Nigerians that love for the nation supersedes party affiliations.
“I was very pleased that people expressed their desires at the National Assembly across party lines. Neighbourliness is very important.
“It makes sense to cultivate neighbourliness on individual and national level. If you cultivate good relationship with your neighbour, you will save a lot emotionally and materially,’’ he said.
Buhari said Nigeria had benefitted a lot by maintaining a good relationship with neighbours like Cameroon and Benin Republic, pointing out that the fight against Boko Haram had been jointly carried out with neighbouring countries, while Nigeria’s drive for food security had been discussed with neighbouring countries to cut smuggling.
The President urged the legislature to stop comparing Nigeria’s democracy with more developed countries as every country had its peculiarities and the historical growth patterns had been different, with the developed countries practicing liberal democracy for longer years.
“Along the line of development, we are a developing country. We have different experiences,’’ he added.
In his remark, the Senate President Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan assured the President that the legislature was ready to work with the executive to provide solutions to the challenges facing the nation.
Lawan noted that the 9th National Assembly was different in “attitude, composition and patriotism’’ and will ensure good “collaboration, partnership and synergy’’ on national issues.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said elections of principal officers in the National Assembly were transparent, assuring that the National Assembly will work with President Buhari to improve the lives of constituents.