The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari would not intervene in the leadership crisis currently rocking the National Assembly until the All Progressives Congress’ state governors ask him to do so.
Shehu said this while featuring on Sunrise, a programme of a Lagos-based private television station, ChannelsTV.
He said Buhari would only step into the matter at the point when the APC state governors inform him that they cannot fix the problem.
He said that was necessary because the governors had during a meeting they had with the President on Tuesday night promised to handle the issue.
He said, “When the governors met with the President, they told him that ‘we are the leaders in our states and we have influence over all of these senators. They come from our places and from us and we can handle it.’
“The President will step into the crisis at the point when the governors say they can no longer fix it.”
In the event that he decides to intervene, the presidential spokesman said Buhari would not do that to the level of imposing leaders on the lawmakers.
Shehu said Buhari’s position on the matter had remained that the National Assembly is an independent arm of government and he would not be seen meddling in their affairs.
He said the governors while advising the President to maintain his posture, asked him to allow them handle the matter their own way.
He said the President has a responsibility to the party and to the nation.
He also said despite what was currently playing out in the National Assembly, the situation had not gone out of control.
“The President has a responsibility to the party, the President has a responsibility to the nation and as far as we are looking at the situation it has not gotten out of control. It is still within manageable parameters, it is a little storm we will overcome and Nigerians better get used to it,” he added.
Apparently reacting to a statement credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, that Buhari is not the leader of the party, Shehu said the President was the leader.
“Does it need to be said? I don’t think it needs to be said that the President is the leader of his party. There’s no question about it,” he declared.
He added that there is need for Nigerians to understand the basics of politics as the country is no more in the military era when decrees are made by a single leader.
“Politics, as its theory says, is basically about contest for interests and these interests may be fully defined by political party programme, while some of these things may be outside political party programme,” he said.
While corroborating Buhari’s claim that he inherited virtually empty treasury, the presidential spokesman challenged Nigerians to ask a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, to give further explanations on the $30billion he claimed the former government left behind.