Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, says Senate President Bukola Saraki should be solely held responsible for the delay in the approval of the budget for 2019 polls.
Saraki had said the presidency’s delay in submitting budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows lack of foresight.
But Shehu dismissed this, saying the Saraki-led senate deliberately delayed the preparations for the next elections.
“He (Saraki) is solely to be held responsible for deliberately driving the nation to this cliff edge as far as the preparations for next elections are concerned,” he said.
“It is not true that INEC submitted their draft budget to the presidency in February. No, it came much later but even then, this is not the real issue.
“The fact that their proposals came well after the president had laid his budget for the year 2018 before the national assembly meant that their own will be sent as supplementary budget.
“This was clearly stated to them by the minister of budget and national planning.”
The presidential aide explained that a supplementary budget could not be submitted until the main budget was passed.
The national assembly passed the 2018 budget seven months after the document was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Shehu said there was no way the president could have submitted a supplementary budget while the main one was still pending, adding that “it is never done”.
“Unless someone has forgotten, the budget was submitted to the national assembly and it took the Saraki-led national assembly seven months to release it,” he said.
“Because Saraki did not return the main budget, we could not have submitted the supplementary one.”