Presidency Replies Saraki

The Presidency on Sunday described as false accusation a statement credited to Senate President Bukola Saraki, that the executive was to blame for the delay in approving the supplementary budget for INEC.

The Presidency said, “The Senate President should look into the mirror and what he will see is his own face. He 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.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, reacted on behalf of the Presidency in a statement made available to journalists.

He stated the fact that the INEC proposals came after the President had laid the 2018 budget before the National Assembly meant that the electoral commission’s proposals would be sent as a supplementary budget.

This, he said, was clearly stated to the federal lawmakers by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma.

A supplementary budget cannot be submitted until the main budget is passed, and so the delay in passing the main budget was the reason for the delay.

“The National Assembly passed the 2018 budget seven months after the document was submitted to the National Assembly by President Buhari. 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.

“There is no way President Buhari could have submitted a supplementary budget while the main one was still pending. It is never done. Because Saraki did not return the main budget, we could not have submitted the supplementary one,” he said, adding, “After the long delays, the President was pained to sign the much distorted, butchered and debauched document.”

Shehu also recalled that in giving his assent, Buhari said he was compelled to sign the budget so as not to keep the economy continuously on a standstill.

“When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year,” he quoted the President as saying.

Shehu said it was noteworthy that it was the first time in Nigeria’s history that a government would bring together the cost of an election in one budget, with each agency involved invited to defend their portion of the budget before the National Assembly.

This, he said, was all part of the transparency that the government was known for.

He claimed that in the past, governments would approve INEC budgets and funding without a breakdown, “often using ways and means to fund it, not so under President Buhari.”

Face governance, leave Saraki alone –Senators 
Senators Isah Misau and Rafiu Ibrahim have called on the All Progressives Congress and its leaders to stop the blame game, face governance and leave the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, alone.

The two senators made the call in a joint statement they signed in Abuja on Sunday.

They urged the ruling party to stop seeking to find a scapegoat in Saraki over its failure to fulfil electoral promises it made to the Nigerian electorate when it came to power.

According to them, the APC and its leaders have continued to whine about what Saraki did or did not do to ensure the Buhari government failed without caring whether it was reasonable to believe that an individual who had been continuously assailed by the government would at the same time be in a position to ground the government.

The statement read in part, “APC leaders are being clever by half. They have spent most of the last 38 months harassing Saraki and sponsoring media attacks against him.

“Now that the man has been vindicated by the courts and he has decided to leave their party, they have devised another propaganda stunt to start heaping the blames of their failure to bring positive change to Nigeria on Saraki.

“For three years of the APC administration, former President Goodluck Jonathan was the scapegoat they blamed. Now that it dawned on them that nobody is listening to that tale by moonlight again, their propaganda machinery has shifted focus to Saraki as the new man to blame. These are characters who cannot take responsibility for their inability to provide good governance as they promised.”

The senators said it was irresponsible for people invested with a popular mandate to always look for somebody to be held responsible for their failure to fulfil their promises and give expression to the mandate they were given.

They wondered why the APC-led administration was dissipating energy on the blame game when it should be concentrating on how to use the next six months before the elections to improve the standard of living among Nigerians.

“The new leadership of the APC has continued to advertise the inability of the party to manage victory, their penchant for violence as a way of saving their faces and their lack of the much needed temperament to weld together a country with diverse culture, ethnicity and religion like Nigeria.”

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