Nigeria News

Buhari’s Budget And The NASS’ Show of Shame

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Nigeria News takes a look at the presentation of N8.83 Trillion Budget 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari and the drama that graced it at the NASS.

Perhaps it has happened before in some other climes, what Nigerians are witnessing at the National Assembly today is renew of barbarism in the 21stcentury.

It will go down the history that the legislative institution of Nigeria was debased and the process of budget presentation by a president was truncated by the so called “hounourable lawmakers” of the eighth assembly.

That President Muhammadu Buhari was booed would not be a story but that he was whisked out of the joint session of the National Assembly where he presented the 2019 appropriation bill to the legislators spoke volume about the quality of leadership at NASS at present.

The president spoke and reeled out some of his achievements as parts of his prepared speech in the appropriation bill but was not given the opportunity to listen to the speeches of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara as the procedure demanded.

He was still seated but the presidential brigade lifted him up with the National Anthem to signify the end of the ceremony. Buhari was whisked away from the rowdy chamber.

Saraki and Dogara were not allowed to read their speeches to Mr President, millions of members of the public and the media that wanted to hear it.

Shortly after Buhari had presented the bill, the lawmakers on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and their counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) turned the chamber to a battlefield.

The APC lawmakers sang choruses seeking more time for Buhari to rule while the PDP legislators rebuked the request, saying, “No more time for APC to rule Nigeria”.

Their noise ended the ceremony abruptly as Mr President was led out of the premises. But this is a shame and it paints Nigeria in bad light.

The NASS has failed once again and the crop of politicians at this arm of government have shown how selfish they are in truncating a laudable process of budget presentation to score political point.

National issues are treated with disdain by our lawmakers while personal issues are addressed with all seriousness. It is not that the NASS has refused to cooperate with the executive arm of this government that now matters but its failure to play its check and balance role in the present democracy.

Of course, the Senate president and Speaker of the House are both PDP members, this should not have led to the ridiculing of the institution and by extension messing up the office of Mr President in the name of politics.

But in his speech, Buhari scolded the lawmakers to be decorous as he presented N8.83 trillion appropriation bill for 2019. This is N300 billion higher than the 2018 budget, which has not been fully implemented.

The total projected revenue, according to the president, is N6.97 trillion, which is three per cent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17 trillion.

Buhari said the expected income consisted of oil revenue projected at N3.73 trillion, and non-oil revenue estimated at N1.39 trillion.

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