The caucuses of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate and House of Representatives held separate closed sessions on Tuesday to appraise the presentation of the 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday (today).
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, attended the APC meeting at the House, which lasted one hour.
Majority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, declined to speak on the details of the meeting.
Mustapha, who spoke to journalists after the meeting, also refused to disclose what happened at the meeting.
The SGF, however, said part of the allocation appropriated for the National Assembly in the 2018 national budget had been released.
“I can assure you that for their (lawmakers) constituency projects, at least 50 per cent has been released,” he said.
When he was asked why he attended the meeting, the SGF said, “I have come to attend a caucus meeting with members of the House of Representatives of the APC.”
Asked whether the meeting was about the strike by workers at the National Assembly, he said, “No, no, it has nothing to do with the strike. We just discussed party matters.”
When pressed further whether it was about budget presentation, he said, “No, it is not.”
Responding to a question querying the timing of the meeting, he said it was about the 2019 general elections.
“We are preparing for elections; we have to dialogue, strategise and plan for the elections. Very soon, they are going on recess and so, we have to plan on what they will do during the recess in terms of deepening democracy and preparing our party for the elections,” Mustapha said.
Asked if he was worried by the defections of APC members in the National Assembly, Mustapha said, “There hasn’t been any defection; the major ones happened and we have got out of that. We are just on the path of growth now. We have received so many members (too).”
Meanwhile, members of the PDP in the Senate have also resolved to accord Buhari a warm reception during the presentation of the 2019 national budget on Wednesday (today).
Some of the senators, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said they had agreed to receive Buhari without condition.
One of them from the South-East said, “We met briefly to appraise the senate position on the President’s visit and the general consensus is that we should put aside any issue we may have against the President and receive him warmly.”