….Despite Your Smear Campaign and Hatred for Me, You Should, At Least, Dwell on Facts
By Ayo Kehinde
Nigeria Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has replied the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu who on Sunday accused the leadership of the National Assembly of padding budgets and deliberately working against the executive to slow the pace of the government and thereby undermine governance in the country.
Contest for leadership positions in the Ninth National Assembly, ignorance of the workings of the national assembly and procedures involved in budget preparation before passage and refusal to acknowledge the performance of the eight National Assembly were some of the issues Saraki said Tinubu failed to address his mind in his attack, according to Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, Media Adviser to Saraki, in a statement on Monday.
“ First, he alleged that national budgets were delayed, distorted, padded, new projects introduced, funds for projects reduced, “to halt progress of government”.
“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works. The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Various committees do most of the work. Senators representing different parties, head the committees. It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed. To put the blame of budget delay on the Senate President or Speaker can only be mischief, or at best, playing to the gallery,” he said.
Continuing, Olaniyonu said, in part, “ Tinubu and his mob have been sponsoring the narratives in the media that the emergence of the present leadership of the National Assembly was a mistake.
“We hereby submit that Dr. Saraki and other leaders of the National Assembly were elected by their colleagues. And it is because they are the choice of their colleagues that they have remained in office for the past 46 months, despite all the plots hatched by anti-democratic, reactionary and fascist elements pretending to be ‘progressives’.
“In fact, Tinubu should know that if there was any mistake made on June 9, 2015, It was the miscalculation by himself and his small cabal in the APC who felt they could decide for the Senators-elect and House of Representatives Members-elect. When they failed after their grandstanding that they could always got whatever they desired, they resorted to undermining the institution of the legislature and waging a campaign of calumny against the law making body.
“It is now clear that those who took Senators away from the chambers contrary to the directive contained in the proclamation signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 9, 2015 are ‘mistake personified’. It is obvious that if they repeat that arrogance during the inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly, they will fail again because Nigeria is greater than them. The institution of the legislature is bigger than the over-bloated egos of these power mongers and dirty schemers.
“ Let us repeat again that we know that a Machiavellian politician like Tinubu will forever agonize over his erroneous belief that Dr. Saraki frustrated his ambition from becoming running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari through a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015. In his usual cavalier manner, he will stop at nothing to punish Saraki for that. We know that this attack is not about the interest of the nation or that of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is about his 2023 ambition and it is obvious in the statement as he struggled to explain this away.
“ However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through. The frustration from this experience might have been responsible for his needless and baseless outbursts.
“Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership. He should stop treating the legislators like hapless pupils receiving orders from a cane-wielding headmaster.
“A situation where he, Tinubu, is dictating to elected legislators and ordering them to either comply with his directives or get out of the party, will not augur well for the legislature in the next dispensation.
“History should have thought him that only a leadership that truly enjoys the support of members can help the President and his administration to achieve their objectives. It is a good development that the candidates for the various positions are already reaching out to their colleagues and forging alliances.
“We can see that after he realized that he has misfired, he is trying to retrace his step and in his usual devious manner, he is looking for scapegoats. We advise him to leave Dr. Saraki out of his manipulations and “jockeying and maneuvering for influence and power”, as he termed it,” he concluded.