The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has replied the APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the latter’s allegation that the number three citizen used the National Assembly to stall any progress by the Buhari administration.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said it was appalling that a man of Tinubu’s standing could resort to smear campaign instead of facing facts.
“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should 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. Most of the work is done in the various committees. These committees are headed by senators representing different parties.
“It is the level of cooperation 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 determines how soon the budget is passed. To put the blame of budget delay on the senate president or the speaker can only be mischief, or at best, playing to the gallery,” Saraki said.
“To further make the points here clear,” Saraki added, “we invite Tinubu to look at the records of the time of submission of budgets and their passage since 2010 and he will see that with the exception of the 2013 budget which was passed on December 20, 2012, all the budgets have been passed between March and May of the same fiscal year.”
Saraki also said Tinubu’s claim that the senate leadership “stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation” was far from the truth.
“We wonder what these “legislative initiatives” are because in the four years of the Buhari administration, it has only forwarded 11 bills to the senate, apart from the routine annual appropriations and supplementary budget proposals.
“Two of these bills, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill and the National Minimum Wage Bill, have been passed. One of the bills, the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act (amendment) Bill was withdrawn by the executive following the disagreement between the attorney general and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” he added.