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Committee Summons Senators, Reps over Passage of Illegal Budget

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The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has confirmed the allegation by President Muhammadu Buhari that some committees of the National Assembly are passing budgets for ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government illegally.

According to the Punch, the committee, after making the discovery, wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, to confirm if Buhari actually transmitted the MDAs’ budget to the parliament or not.

The erring chairmen, who had been summoned by the committee earlier in the year, are billed to appear before the panel from this week.

The President is expected to transmit budgetary proposals of MDAs to the National Assembly, while the clerk transmits passed budgets to the Presidency for implementation.

However, Buhari, while laying the 2023 Appropriation Bill before a joint session of the National Assembly on October 7, 2022, slammed committees of the parliament who were bypassing him and approving budgets for government-owned enterprises without his approval.

The President had said, “Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, you may recall that we earlier integrated the budget of Government-Owned Enterprises into the FGN’s 2019 budget submission. This has helped to enhance the comprehensiveness and transparency of the FGN budget. It has, however, come to my attention that Government-Owned Enterprises liaise directly with relevant NASS committees to have their budget passed and issued to them directly.

“I would like to implore the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure that the budget I lay here today, which includes those of the GOEs, be returned to the Presidency when passed.  The current practice where some committees of the National Assembly purport to pass budgets for GOEs, which are at variance with the budgets sanctioned by me, and communicate such directly to the MDAs, is against the rules and needs to stop.”

Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, Oluwole Oke, in an interview with our correspondent, said chairmen of the erring committees had been queried on why they passed the budgets illegally.

When asked why the chairman had yet to appear before the committee, Oke said, “We are just resuming now. I am sure from next week, you will start seeing them appearing.”

The chairman added, “Before Mr President made that submission, we had written the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Clerk to the National Assembly to show us proof that these agencies’ budgets passed through the normal legislative processes. The Public Accounts Committee (of the House) raised the alarm.”

Responding to a question on whether his committee would be thorough with the probe as fellow lawmakers were involved, Oke pointed out that the lawmakers on the panel were only accountable to Nigerians.

“The Public Accounts Committee is a committee created by the Constitution. Why wouldn’t we? We are accountable to Nigerians. If we were not going to be fair, do you think we would have raised the alarm or issue such a resolution?”

The Punch

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Presidential Candidate: PDP PCC Accuses Wike of Frustration, Lack of Integrity

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The Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Council in Rivers State has taken a swipe at the state governor, Nyesom Wike, over the cancellation of the approval granted for the party’s presidential campaign in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The spokesman for the PDP PCC in the state, Dr Leloonu Nwibubasa, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH, also said the governor lacked integrity for not naming his preferred presidential candidate in January as he promised.

Nwibubasa said from all indications, the governor was increasingly frustrated.

On Wednesday, the state government cancelled the approval given to the PDP for the rally of its standard bearer to hold in the state on February 11, 2023.

The cancellation was contained in a letter signed by the state Commissioner for Sports, Christopher Green, and addressed to the Director General, PDP PCC, Aminu Tambuwal.

The letter said credible information available to the state government showed that the PDP PCC was working in collaboration with a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state led by Tonye Cole.

It added that information at the government’s disposal show that activities of the APC in the state have always been marred by violence due largely to irreconcilable internal conflicts within the party.

It added, “The Rivers State Government is unable to risk damage to or destruction of the very valuable and priced asset, the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, which your use of the same in collaboration with your Tonye Patrick Cole APC faction will expose it to.

“In the circumstance, the Rivers State Government has come to the painful but inevitable decision to withdraw the approval earlier given to you for the use of the stadium and the said approval is hereby withdrawn.”

Nwibubasa, while confirming the development, described the state government’s earlier approval as a Greek gift.

Berating Wike, Nwibubasa further said the governor was not a good fighter, because a good fighter knows when to quit.

Nwibubasa stated, “We are not surprised when certain decisions are taken because it all amounts to the fact that the level of frustration is increasing.

“We will only appeal to him that he should return to his party and return to the part of peace. And that is part of honour. No one fights a war and refuses to evaluate the same war, and knows when to call it quits. He is not a good fighter.

“For the presidential candidate of the PDP, we are very certain that Rivers people are happy with him. They are in love with him and they are going to vote for him en masse come February 25, 2023.”

Asked what he thinks about Wike’s inability to name his preferred presidential candidate as he had promised, he said it shows the governor has no integrity.

“His inability to name his preferred candidate as publicly announced in January, again is a pointer to his level of instability and incoherence.”

“It tells of his integrity that he cannot match his words with action. So, for us, it is painful that we have a governor who says one thing and does the other.

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Just In: Fifth Columnists in the Presidency Working Against Tinubu, Says El-Rufai

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By Michael Effiong

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has revealed that there are some fifth columnists in the presidency who want the All Progressives Congress ( APC) to lose the 2023 Presidential election.

Speaking on Channels TV flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor El-Rufai affirmed that there was serious division in the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

He stated that some people in the Presidency because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was not their preferred candidate are working against his interest.

He noted that the Naira redesign was not an APC problem but a Presidency problem, urging Nigerians to ignore their current situation and still vote for Tinubu as a person.

On the fuel crisis, he said fuel subsidy had been a problem for many years and that it was President Buhari and not APC that has insisted on the subsidy which is costing the nation a whopping six Trillion Naira.

He revealed that as far back as 2016, Buhari had been advised to remove subsidy but he had bluntly refused.

Governor El Rufai used the opportunity to hail his tenure in Kaduna State, noting that his government has attracted over $4billion worth of investments to the state.

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Atiku Vows to Construct Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto Road, Reiterates End to Banditry

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the February 25 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has pledged to reconstruct the Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto road, if elected. He also promised to float empowerment programmes that will combat poverty among the citizens.

Atiku made the pledges on Tuesday in Sokoto while addressing a crowd of supporters at his presidential campaign rally.

The PDP presidential candidate also pledged to end the security challenges bedevilling the nation, ensure stability for profitable farming, grazing as well as reopen the nation’s borders to bolster business activities.

He urged citizens to support PDP candidates at all levels at the forthcoming elections, vowing that a PDP-led administration would curb social, economic and infrastructural decay in the country.

Mr Atiku had inaugurated a remodelled presidential lodge and the Dandima flyover bridge constructed by the Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s administration.

The PDP presidential flag bearer also paid homage on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, after an interactive session with community and traditional rulers in the state.

Earlier, the PDP National Chairman, Dr Ayochia Ayu, presented the party’s flag to PDP governorship candidate in the State, Sa’idu Umar and received scores of defectors from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Ayu described the Sokoto rally as home coming and enjoined party loyalists to use their PVCs to change the national government as well as sustain the achievements of Tambuwal.

Leader of the defectors, Amb. Faruku Yabo, said the PDP-led administration in the state had the people’s interests at heart, and it was capable of surmounting the national challenges.

The event witnessed presentations from various party chieftains on the ways to address the challenges being faced by the citizens.

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