Newly formed group of 77 first time lawmakers in the eighth Senate otherwise known as G77, yesterday declared that the group was not formed to wage war against President Muhammadu Buhari, but to support him in providing good governance for Nigerians.
The chairman, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said at a press briefing in Abuja, that the group was formed to ensure that all differences between the executive and the National Assembly, particularly the Senate over the 2016 budget estimates, are addressed as quickly as possible.
Specifically, Akpabio, who is also the Senate minority leader, informed that the budget impasse between the National Assembly and the presidency would come to an end latest by Friday this week.
He added that the group would also work hand in hand with the Senate leadership as presently constituted for the enactment of laws that would make Nigeria more responsive and responsible to its citizenry and the citizenry more patriotic to the Nigerian project.
“This is a maiden attempt to brief the press on the G77 that you have been hearing about. It is true that a group like that has emerged in the Senate. And it is important for us to let you know that that its intention is to deepen democracy, ensure good governance and also make sure that we shore up the image of the Senate and redirect affairs with our great number so that at the end of the day, Nigerians can get more dividends of democracy from this administration.
“I want to assure you that the entire 77 senators who make up this group are all poised to ensure that there is good governance in Nigeria. We want to support Mr. President to ensure that he gives the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. Social media reports that this group is meant to confront the executive or ranking senators are untrue.
“As I speak to you now, outside these 77 senators, most of my colleagues who have been in the Red Chamber for a long time are applying to join the group. They want to move it to G90 so that we can always speak with one voice. The lingering issue on the budget is something that we feel is embarrassing to Nigeria, not just to the National Assembly as a whole. If we had a group like this, by now, that issue would have been brought to an end.
“But just to reassure you that Mr. President will have his budget, we are doing everything possible to re-jig the details for the president to sign as soon as possible. We hope we can finish that by this Friday so that things can kick-start in the economy.”
He stated that the group is apolitical as it has its membership from all parties in the Senate.
“The group is apolitical and cuts across Labour Party, PDP and APC. We are all senators of the eighth National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are not interested in political parties, we are interested in Nigeria and we will be discussing only national issues. We are not set to confront any executive; rather we will work with them.
“The intention of this group is to deepen democracy, ensure the sanitisation of the Senate, shore up its image and most importantly, give the president the needed support so that at the end of the day, we will have a better country for all,” he added.

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