Learn To Be A Democrat, Senate Tells Buhari As Budget Row Rages | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Learn To Be A Democrat, Senate Tells Buhari As Budget Row Rages

Posted: Apr 11, 2016 at 9:15 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
…Demands Apology From Amaechi Over Lagos-Calabar Rail Project
Rotimi Akinwumi
The Senate on Monday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to learn how to be a democrat and accept the power of the parliament as the final authority on budgeting.
The Senate gave the advice to the president while debunking claims that it deliberately removed the Lagos-Calabar railway project from the 2016 budget as claimed by the Presidency.
The upper legislative chamber said in a statement by Sen. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs that the presidency would only be living in a dream world if it continues to believe that any budget presented to the Senate would be garbage in garbage out.
She Senate spokesman said the upper legislative chamber was no longer comfortable with “lies” being told by the Presidency on the budget which it said was full of errors at presentation.
The continuous ascription of fault to the Senate over the budget was a mere attempt by the Presidency to set Nigerians against the legislature, a development the Senate said it is tired of.
The Senate also accused Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of Transport, of lying on the issue, with a call on him to either present concrete evidence that the controversial project was included in the 2016 ab initio or resign from office if he could not do so.
Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said further that the presidency ought to be grateful to the Senate for doing a good job on the budget rather that castigating it.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said the National Assembly “had bent backwards to wring a coherent document out of the excessively flawed and chaotic versions of the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.”
He said: “While the executive is mandated to prepare and lay before the National Assembly a proposed budget detailing projects to be executed, it should be made clear that the responsibility and power of appropriation lies with the National Assembly.
“If the Presidency expects us to return the budget proposal to them without any adjustments, then some people must be living in a different era and probably have not come to terms with democracy.
“We make bold to say, however, that the said Lagos-Calabar rail project was not included in the budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and we challenge anyone who has any evidence to the contrary to present such to Nigerians.
“Since the beginning of the 2016 budget process, it is clear that the National Assembly has suffered all manners of falsehood, deliberate distortion of facts, and outright blackmail, deliberately aimed at poisoning the minds of the people against the institution of the National Assembly.
“We have endured this with equanimity in the overall interest of Nigerians. Even when the original submission was surreptitiously swapped and we ended up having two versions of the budget, which was almost incomprehensible and heavily padded in a manner that betrays lack of co-ordination and gross incompetence, we refused to play to the gallery and instead helped the Executive to manage the hugely embarrassing situation it has brought upon itself; but enough is enough.”