With numerous moves from the upper chambers raising eyebrows across the nation, it is a thing of note to know that we are not alone in our stupefaction.
Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has opined that the National Assembly stop opposing the Executive is supposed to be in collaboration with the Executive, rather than position itself as an opposition to the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
Speaking when he received a delegation of APC elders and stakeholders from Kwande/Oshongo federal constituency of Benue State in the National Assembly, Dogara stressed that the executive and the parliament will not squabble over their differences regarding the 2016 budget.
The Speaker was confident that the National Assembly and the Executive would most certainly resolve their impasse.
“We cannot form an opposition within the same government. The executive cannot constitute itself into an opposition within the system in the same government, neither can the parliament, even though it is a bipartisan one. We know our people cannot wait forever for the budget and as a responsible government, we cannot afford to go and sleep on this.”
“As we speak to you, I know that the executive has sent their observations on the budget, areas they termed “grey areas”. We have taken delivery of that document, we are looking into it and in collaboration with the senate, the entire National Assembly, we have arrived at a decision which I will not announce here because that one is for the ears of the President only.”
“It is in the overall national interest, we know that we have to find a solution and sooner than later, within this week, I believe that as leaders, having put on our thinking caps, we should be able to come up with a solution that will address this problem.”
“The truth is that even though it is the responsibility of the parliament, constitutionally speaking, to prepare the budget, because I haven’t seen any region anywhere in the world where the executive does that, the constitution recognizes that the executive will prepare the estimates and revenues and present it before parliament.”
“Then, the parliament, in exercise of its duties, will make appropriation in a document called budget. Budget is always a law, it is not a policy statement and there is no government arm, no institution of government that can make laws except the National Assembly.”
“And we have exercised that constitutional right and privilege which is exclusively reserved for the National Assembly using the document that is before the president. And as we all know, a law requires the assent of the president, that is one of the instrumentalities of checks and balances that democracy guarantees.
“If it is not assented to after some time then the parliament can summon the courage if they can to say they are overriding the veto powers of the president or say the bill will have to commence de novo.”
“I know that we promised too much and the question on the lips of many Nigerians, including some of us who really fought for change is, where is the change? “When we made that promise, we knew that change is constant, but if you want positive change, it has to be a guided one and it just doesn’t come easily.”
“But one thing I know in this narrative, no matter how negative they are, is that you can’t just look at the people who are in charge now in the eyes and say they are some sort of jokers or people who don’t mean what they promised. I can assure that all hands are still on deck to ensure that all that was promised is delivered to the people of Nigeria.”