Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly was fruitful.
Kalu told reporters in Abuja at the weekend that after the meeting, the leadership of the National Assembly was convinced that President Buhari was working hard to ensure that the list of ministerial nominees gets to the Senate.
The former Abia Governor said that he decided to speak on the issue because some of the insinuations about the ministerial list were incorrect.
He noted that President Buhari made it clear to them that he needed wider consultation before forwarding the ministerial list to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
The leadership of the National Assembly met with President Buhari last Thursday where it was gathered that a wide range of issues were discussed.
Kalu said: “President Buhari is making all efforts to get the ministerial list to the National Assembly.
“At least, I was in the room at the meeting. It is not good to misquote the president.
“I am sure that the list would be ready very soon. Sooner than you people think.
“The President said that he is making a wider consultation and that in the last tenure, he was just handed over the list by party people to appoint.
“He said that he is making a background check on everyone of them to make sure they are people he can work with.”
Buhari, he said, should be given the benefit of the doubt to choose those to work with.
Senator Kalu also said that contrary to allusions by some people, the Senate will not be a rubber stamp assembly.
In the contrary, he assured that the Senate would champion people-oriented programmes aimed at uplifting the living standard of Nigerians.
He also noted that there might be the need to tinker certain aspects of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) where necessary.
Kalu noted that it was completely unfair to tag the Ninth National Assembly as an appendage of the Executive arm of government.
He insisted that there was no basis for such insinuation.
He said, “I believe that we are going to bring about a lot of changes than what it used to be in the past. But it is another thing whether those who are going to bring about the change will have the capability of executing the change.
“We are not afraid of taking decisions. Many of you have been writing that this Senate is a rubber stamp. Even President Buhari himself knows we are not going to be a rubber stamp.
“We are not afraid of President Buhari. But we think more of the Nigerian people and for Ahmad Lawan, Nigerian people come first before friendship with Buhari. For me, friendship will not affect our plan to champion the needs of the Nigerian people.
“But we are not going to openly wear our hand gloves and start exchanging blows with the president because we just want to be independent. No, we need to sit down to agree to disagree and tell Mr. President what is the right thing.
“Buhari will never ask anybody to go against the law. He would not look at your face and he owes no one any apology.”
“President Buhari believes in the laws of the country and will never go against the law.”