Senate President Bukola Saraki has challenged Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to provide proofs of how the leadership of the national assembly padded budgets.
The senate president’s statement is coming barely a day after Tinubu claimed that budgets were hijacked under him and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.
“Just look at the way Saraki, 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,” Tinubu had said in a statement from his media office on Sunday.
Saraki, however, in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesperson, on Monday, said Tinubu’s statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the eighth national assembly and its leadership.
The senate president challenged Tinubu to make reference to where the leadership of the national assembly “sought to pad with pet projects.”
He described the allegation as careless, irresponsible and callous, while demanding that Tinubu withdraws it.
“Yesterday, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, released another of his now well expected quarterly vicious attack on the person of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate,” Saraki said.
“Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months (Quarterly) will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations.
“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.
“The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Most of the work is done by the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties.
“It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed.
“So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is ‘jockeying and maneuvering for influence’, as he puts it.
“In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make specific reference to where Dr. Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly “sought to pad with pet projects” as he alleged. Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation.”
Listing some of the bills passed under his leadership, Saraki said he is proud that the eight assembly has surpassed the records of all previous senate in the number of bills passed and its significance to the economy.
“As a leader of the Eighth National Assembly, Dr. Saraki is proud that under his watch, the Senate has surpassed the records of all previous Senate in the number of bills passed, the significance of these bills to the revival of the economy, the fight against insecurity and corruption, improvement in the provision of health service and the education sector, as well as better social service delivery to the generality of the people,” he said.
“The bills passed, motions moved, intervention made and frequent engagement with the people were all directed towards addressing the day to day issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.
“However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through.
“Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership.”