Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has responded allegations of budget padding made against him and Senate president, Bukola Saraki by All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu in a statement via Tunde Rahman, his spokesman said both Saraki and Dogara has 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 benefitted 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,” he said.
Dogara in a statement via Turaki Hassan, his Special Adviser on Media on Public Affair asked ‘Tinubu to be circumspect in his use of language. In this case, he spoke as a spokesperson of depravity,”
“Our reaction must, therefore, be seen as a provoked counter-punch. Anyone can descend into the gutter if he so wishes but no one has a monopoly of gutter language. We won’t run an adult day care centre anymore on matters like this.”
Dogara stressed that the National Assembly “is not a rubber stamp parliament” and as such “reserves the right, working cooperatively with the Executive to interrogate projects unilaterally inserted by the Executive branch without the input of or consultation with Parliament”.
“The legislature cannot be accused of padding a budget it has unquestionable constitutional power to review. The budget is a law and the Executive does not make laws, he added.
“Therefore, it’s only the ignorant and those who hold dubious academic certificates that say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make. In the words of his lordship, Hon Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High court, in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2014 delivered on March 9, 2016, ‘the National Assembly was not created by drafters of the Constitution and imbued with the powers to receive ‘budget estimates’ which the first defendant is constitutionally empowered to prepare and lay before it, as a rubber stamp parliament.”