Obasanjo, Lawmakers In War Of Words Over Padding Of 2016 Budget
Sequel to the allegations of corrupt practices in the National Assembly, especially with regards to the padding of the 2016 budget in the House of Representatives, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said the National Assembly was filled with rogues and armed robbers.
Obasanjo’s comment elicited caustic responses from the legislators, who accused him of running a corrupt and killer regime that attempted tenure elongation, which they lawmakers scuttled.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo speaking with journalists after a closed door consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.
Why Buhari must be vigilant – Obasanjo Former President Obasanjo drew the first blood while fielding questions from State House Correspondents on the revelations in the House after meeting privately with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Obasanjo said the lawmakers had vindicated his earlier comments in 2012 that the National Assembly was populated by rogues and armed robbers.
He urged Nigerians to vote credible people into the parliament, advising President Buhari to be wary of the lawmakers. He said: “Well, if you said that I have said it in the past and if they are people who didn’t believe what I said in the past, then you can now say that what has come out confirms what I said in the past, then you can say what I said in the past is what I will say now.
“It’s not a question of investigation, we should get men and women of integrity into the place and the President should be very vigilant. Whatever should not pass should not pass.”
Commenting on his mission, Obasanjo said he was in the Villa to deliver messages from Liberia, Gambia and Seychelles to President Buhari.
“I am visiting this time because I have some messages for the President. Not too long ago, I was in Liberia and Gambia and I have messages these two countries will want me to deliver to the President.
“Also, only yesterday, I came back from Seychelles Island where I attended this year’s Annual General Meeting of Africa Export Development Bank, and there are aspects of the proceedings that I think I should update the President,” he said. Obasanjo said travelling to different countries had educated him more.
“Travelling is a good education, what you will learn about a country by visiting that country for two or three days you won’t learn by reading through books,” he said.
Asked whether he intended to slow down, he said, “May God not allow you to slow down.”
Responding to Obasanjo’s comments, the Senate said. yesterday that it was not prepared to join issues with the former president.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi simply said in a text message that “Senate has no Comments.”
But reacting to former President Obasanjo’s comments on the National Assembly over the budget, Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, PDP, Edo South said that the former President must apologize profusely to the Senate.
“I believe former President Obasanjo has premised his denigrating comment on the on-going sordid accusations on 2016 budget between Hon Abdumumuni Jibrin, the erstwhile Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations and the leadership of the House of Representatives. What is going on in the media is indeed disgraceful if actually the mentioned House members did the padding of the 2016 budget. I and others in the Senate deserve and demand unreserved apology from Chief Obasanjo for casting aspersions and denigrating our individual integrity and the institution we represent.”
Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, tongue-lashed Obasanjo, saying that if anyone should condemn others on corruption, it must not be Obasanjo.
Senator Bwacha said Obasanjo “lacks moral authority to speak on corruption.” Obasanjo should act as a father and elder statesman
Also reacting, Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, said: Anyanwu “The way former President Obasanjo is going about the whole thing is not good. He is an elder statesman and a father to all of us and with this position in the society, he should invite the leadership of the National Assembly, raise issues with them and advise where necessary.
He should be able to manage the situation by advising both the Executive and the Legislature. He is a father to all, he should not blow up issues at the moment. We all need one another for the development and growth of this country.”
If lawmakers are corrupt, they would have amended constitution for Obasanjo’s 3rd term – Mrakpor Mrakpor The member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State, Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor said that if the lawmakers were thieves as alleged by the former President, they would have collected his gratifications for his third term bid. She said:
“He is a very elder statesman. In my place, you can’t correct an elder and my bible says if an elder tells you what you don’t like, you won’t stay outside to correct him. I want to believe that he didn’t say that. If members of the National Assembly were rogues, they would have amended the constitution for his third term. They would have taken the benefit of what would have come to them for amending the constitution for our father to remain in office for 12 years.”
Also speaking the member represent Egor/Ikpoba Federal Constituency of Edo State, Ehiozuwa J. Agbonayinma said calling members of the National Assembly thieves was personal opinion of the former president, but it was also an indictment on him as a former president.
He said: “I will want him to face the real issue which is that under his watch, Chief Bola Ige and Chief Harry Marshal were killed.”
He also said that the former President that allegedly parades himself as a saint should account for the $16 billion power project fund and numerous tax payers money that were allegedly wasted during his administration.