Refusal To Implement Budget An Impeachable Offence, Dogara to Osinbajo

0
Yakubu Dogara, Speaker House of Representatives
Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said the National Assembly has powers to introduce new projects, add, remove or reduce items in the Appropriations Bills.
In a remark on a motion on matters of privilege moved by Hon. Lawal Abubakar (APC, Adamawa), Hon. Dogara, maintained that the framers of the Constitution vested the powers of law making in the Legislature, Execution or implementation IN the Executive while the Judiciary interprets the law so as to ensure checks and balances.
According to the Speaker, “a declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive.”
Earlier, in his motion, Hon. Abubakar argued that his privilege as a member was breached by statements credited to Ag. President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was quoted to have said on two occasions that the National Assembly has no powers to introduce new projects to the budget before passing it.
Dogara, also argued that the Appropriation Act is a law enacted by the parliament and that public officers from the President to his ministers have sworn to uphold the Constitution and the said refusal or failure to implement the budget is violation of the Constitution which has consequences.
The Speaker also stated that in the event of refusal to assent to any bill by the Executive, the constitution empowers the National Assembly to override such veto in the interest of the public.
“We are men of honour whether legislators or executive We are bound by  the oath of office to faithfully execute that law and in the case of the executive, if it is not done, all of us know the very consequences. I don’t want to call it by its name, we know the consequences”, he charged.
He said in the United States of America where Nigeria copied its presidential system, any budget proposal send to the Congress is presumed ‘dead on arrival’ and it only comes ‘alive’ when passed by the  National Assembly because the legislature has the powers to tamper with the proposal.
Speaking on the powers of the parliament, the Speaker stated that the House under his leadership will not be rubber stamp to the Executive as they will do everything to uphold and protect the independence of the legislature and added that “When it comes to the budget, the power of the purse in a presidential system of government rests in the parliament.”
Dogara said that the reason why the Constitution designers made it that way is because the executive is just one man, (the President), while every other person in the executive is acting on behalf of the President, “so the relationship between the President and every other person there, is that of  servant and the master. It is only in the parliament where we have representatives of the people that there is equality and you can say your mind on any issue, you can bring matters of priority the way you like.”
He reminded the Executive the parliament has powers to override any veto saying, “the worst the executive can do is to say they will not sign and after 30 days, if we can muster two-thirds, and it doesn’t have to be two-thirds of the entire membership, once the quorum is formed, two-third of the members sitting and voting, we can override the veto of the President and pass it into law.”

 

See full details of the Speaker’s remarks below:

From the very pedestrian interpretation of the functions of the three arms of government, one makes laws, the other executes the laws, the other interprets the law. So, a declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive.
I don’t even want to believe that the acting president made that statement; I don’t want to believe that, sincerely speaking. Because when it comes to the issue of the budget, I think we better say this thing and make it very clear, so that our people will have a better understanding. When it comes to the budget, the power of the purse in a presidential system of government rests in the parliament.
The reason why the Constitution designers made it that way is because the executive is just one man, it is just the president. Every other person in the executive is acting on behalf of the president, so the relationship between the president and every other person there is that of  servant and the master. It is only in the parliament where we have representatives of the people that there is equality and you can say your mind on any issue, you can bring matters of priority the way you like.  The only time you can be cautioned is when you go outside the rules of debate but in the executive, it is not the case.
Of recent, especially in this part of the world, people exercise executive functions on behalf of the president  and want to be like experts in emotional  intelligence. Even when the president has not said anything, people are trying to understand what the body language says so that they can tailor their arguments to suit the body language of the President, otherwise that might give them a sack.
So, the entire architecture of presidential democracy is that it should run on the basis of consensus and convention between the parliament and the executive, and when there is disagreement between the executive and the parliament, the framers of the Constitution were smart enough to say look, our hope is in the representatives of the people and not in the executive, so the parliament can even go along.
In the case of the budget, for instance, if it were the case that parliament disagrees with the executive on the budget, the worst the executive can do is to say they will not sign and after 30 days, if we can muster two-thirds, and it doesn’t have to be two-thirds of the entire membership, once the quorum is formed, two-third of the members sitting and voting, we can override the veto of the President and pass it into law.
The only other option open to the executive is to say because we didn’t assent to this, this is the budget of the parliament, so we will not implement. But the point is that all of them, including us, are under an oath to faithfully execute the laws of this land. Then the question that will follow is if this a law of the land and the answer is yes.
We are men of honour whether legislators or executive are bound by  the oath of office to faithfully execute that law and in the case of the executive, if it is not done, all of us know the very consequences. I don’t want to call it by its name, we know the consequences. So in his kind of government, the winner is obvious.  So I don’t think we should bother ourselves belaboring this issue.
We all know where these powers are and under our watch, there is no way this House will be a rubber stamp of any executive . Budgets are priorities of the government because we are representatives of the people . We can say even though these are priorities of the government, based on our job of representation, these are not the priorities of the people and we can refuse to fund them.
In the US where we borrowed our Constitution from, the minute the President steps into this hall with the budget, it is pronounced dead on arrival. It is only what is passed by the parliament that is alive.

Leave a Reply