Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has spoken against claims made by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National leader of the All Progressives Congress, that he and the Senate President schemed to pad the budget with projects that will benefit them.
While expressing disappointment at the falsehoods and untruthfulness by Tinubu, Dogara claimed the APC chieftain is pursuing fascist agenda to control all levers of power in Nigeria.
“We do not expect Asiwaju Tinubu to dwell on brazen mendacity, much less murder facts and decorum in his rabid bid to justify his patently clear facist (sic) agenda of controlling all levers of power in Nigeria.
“Asiwaju Tinubu’s nocturnal agenda has no parallel in the history of any democracy and it is more loathsome when he throws caution to the winds and maligns government officials who are doing a yeoman’s job of stabilising the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even in spite of political differences,” the statement signed by Turaki Hassan, Dogara’s spokesperson said.
Tinubu had labelled accusations at the 8th National Assembly over the delay in passing the National budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Just look at the way Saraki and Dogara and their ilk hijacked the Budget Process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them.
“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly,” Tinubu said in a statement on Sunday.
Dogara insisted that he had done more to stabilise the government than Tinubu. He accused the former governor of pretentious loyalty to President Buhari noting that Tinubu and his ilk were involved in scheming manipulation and subversion especially when they feel they cannot be caught.
Dogara became the speaker of the House of Representatives against the preference of Tinubu and APC, Dogara’s party before he defected. Tinubu backed Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for speakership in 2015 but Dogara leveraged on an alliance with the opposition party to emerge speaker.
The speaker of the House of Reps noted that the “chief cause of delay in enacting the budget is the persistent refusal or neglect of the Executive to present it in good time.” He claimed that Ministers and heads of agencies also contributed to the delay by “consistently refusing to appear before National Assembly Standing Committees to defend their budget proposals”.
Dogara highlighted the dates that the different budgets were submitted. He noted that they were all too close to the end of the year and fell short of the 90 days stipulated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
He stated that the 2016 Budget was submitted on December 22, 2015, exactly nine days to the end of the year; the 2017 Budget submitted on December 14,2016, just 17 days to the end of the year; the 2018 Budget was presented on November 7, 2017, while the 2019 budget was presented on December 19, 2018 exactly 12 days to the end of the year.
Dogara also blamed the delay on President Buhari’s refusal to assent an amendment to S. 81(1) of the Constitution and pass the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) Establishment Bill into law.
He claimed the amendment would have compelled the president to present the Budget estimates not later than 90 days to the end of a financial year while the NABRO Establishment Bill would have improved the institutional capacity of the Parliament to process and pass National budgets.
Dogara emphasised that the National Assembly is not a Rubber Stamp Parliament that will agree to budgets that are heavily skewed and lopsided against most sections of the country. He noted that the 8th Assembly passed more Bills than any Assembly before them.
Dogara challenged Asiwaju Tinubu to list out the Bills he claimed were not passed by the National Assembly while calling the APC National leader a “spokesperson of depravity”