Supreme court has opened up its spendings, NASS must do same – BudgIT

BudgIT, a civic organisation for good governance, says the Supreme Court of Nigeria has opened up its budgetary spendings for 2015 and 2016, and the national assembly must do the same.

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) to the Supreme Court to disclose its financial details, the apex court provided details of its actual expenditure against the budgeted figures for the years 2015 and 2016.

“This is a welcome development towards achieving a proactive information disclosure culture. In a letter dated February 14, 2017, the Supreme Court acknowledged that it spent a capital vote of N2.265bn out of an appropriated sum of N2.3bn as at December 2016,” Seun Onigbinde, the BudgIT lead, said via a statement.

“The Supreme Court also acknowledged that N2.86bn was spent as overhead out of an appropriated sum of N2.88bn, representing 99.42%.”

Onigbinde said statutory allocation to public institutions between 2013 and 2016 have gulped a total of N1.523 trillion with little or no information about how the funds were utilised each year.

“N535bn was allocated for the National Assembly within this period and legislators have failed to open up their books to the public. Other agencies such as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Judicial Council (NJC), collecting the statutory allocations are identified with similar cases of opacity except the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which recently published its budget online.

“While the Supreme Court has responded to the call for transparency on actual spending, the National Assembly has refused access to such information despite multiple assurances from the leadership of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly’s refusal to be transparent is particularly disturbing because members are elected by citizens and are to represent their interests. Furthermore, the National Assembly, as the legislative arm of government, is supposed to provide oversight function over the executive and this will be very difficult to do when it continues to refuse to be accountable.

“We expect the National Judiciary Council, Public Complaints Commission, and other agencies under the statutory allocation agencies to cultivate a transmittable, and functioning system of openness, accountability and public inclusion in their activities.”

BudgIT and EiE Nigeria have called for transparency in the national assembly since 2013 with little  or no  results.

“The National Assembly, a helm of law and order and the supposed symbol of governance, is yet to provide details of its annual budget in 2016,” the statement read.

“Advocacy to ensure the public knowledge of how the National Assembly spends tax payers funds will not cease. We believe that a functional society is one which takes into highest regard citizen engagement and participation in all areas.

“We also believe that information dissemination is paramount and crucial to sustainable development and democracy. We implore the citizens to also continually demand accountability from those in charge of their funds and keep them on their toes to ensure that governance works for all Nigerians, not a few.”


Source: The Cable

ONGOING: President Buhari in meeting with NASS leaders, Saraki and Dogara.

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently holding a meeting with Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

The meeting is holding inside the president’s offfice at the Aso Rock presidential villa.

The two leaders of the legislature arrived the president’s office at exactly 12p.m.

The meeting is still ongoing.

President Buhari notifies National Assembly he has resumed duty.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sent letter to parliament notifying lawmakers that he has resumed his duties, his spokesman said on Monday.

It follows the president’s return on Friday after medical leave in Britain that lasted nearly two months.

His spokesman Femi Adesina, in a message posted on Twitter, said Buhari would receive a briefing from the vice president “in a short while”.


Source: Reuters

NASS May Amend Laws On Power Generation – Saraki

Amending the laws on power generation, transmission and distribution may be the best approach to solving Nigeria’s electricity problems.

This was the observation made by Senate President Bukola Saraki, during a guided tour of an energy self-sufficient village in Germany.

He said the National Assembly has to amend the laws to allow communities generate energy and to allow creativity and the involvement of the private sector.

“In trying to find a solution to our problem, we might start thinking about decentralisation.

“Looking at what we have seen here, if we can do same, whether by using solar or even wind, and more importantly decentralize, maybe that might begin to address some issues.”

In an interview with Channels Television, the project leader of the energy self-sufficient village, Werner Frohwitter, also expressed optimism that Nigeria would benefit from switching to renewable energy for electricity generation.

Also as part of efforts to attract German investments into Nigeria and improve economic relations between both countries, Senator Saraki had met with German businessmen last week.

Himself and his team assured investors that the Nigerian government is removing inhibitions to doing business in Nigeria and that the Nigerian parliament is enacting laws in this regard.


Source: Channels TV

Auditor-General uncovers N2bn fraud in National Assembly

The office Auditor-General of the Federation has revealed a N2 billion financial scandal in the National Assembly expenditure.

The AGF’s annual report said the illegalities were perpetrated in 13 transactions.

The transactions involved both chambers of the National Assembly, the Management as well as the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), and the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS).

See breakdown below:


The report said House incurred the highest infraction of N1.1 billon followed by Management, N347.8 million; NILS, N246.5 milliion; the Senate N205.7 million; legislative aides N70 million and NASC,N30 million.

The Auditor-General observed that contracts for the purchase of 48 Units of Utility Vehicles were awarded to three contractors at N624 million, Daily Trust reports.

The report stated that, “records however showed that the supply of 14 Units of these motor vehicles were not made.

“The Clerk has been informed and has been requested to recover monies paid for the outstanding 14 vehicles and forward the recovery particulars for audit verification.”

The Auditor-General said 50 cash advances amounting to N499.6 million were granted to staff to carry out various assignments.

“However, as at the time of writing this report in August, 2016, more than a year after, the advances are yet to be retired.

“Some of the vouchers were granted multiple advances without retiring the previous ones in violation of the Financial Regulations which provides that no new advance should be granted, if the previous ones had not been retired” it stated.

The report said that the Clerk of the National Assembly had been requested to recover the advances from the affected officers and furnish the Auditor-General with the recovery particulars for audit verification.


The Auditor-General’s report said N186million meant for the payment of Motor Vehicle Loan which was paid into a Commercial Bank Account as indicated in the mandate was misapplied for other purposes such as organizing Senate Retreat and Pre-Valedictory Session of the 7th Senate.

This action, according to the report, violates the provision of Financial Regulations 417 which states that, “Votes must be applied only to the purpose for which money is provided. Expenditure incorrectly charged to a Vote shall be disallowed”

The Clerk of the National Assembly has been notified and requested to explain reasons for the Violation of extant rule. He was also asked to recover the fund and forward the particulars for audit verification.

Also Bank Charges amounting to N15.9 million were charged for the period July to December, 2015.

“This is contrary to the provisions of e-Payment Circular Ref no. TRY/A8/88/2008 which requires that individual benefits and claims should be effected through their personal Bank accounts. Financial Regulations 734 also provides that ‘’ No Government Organization or Agency shall place government funds in any Commercial Bank that will charge any commission on transactions “.

The Clerk has been asked to recover the amount and furnish the Auditor-General with the recovery particulars for audit verification.

In the Management accounts, the Auditor-General said the personnel Account was overdrawn in two instances, and this attracted a penalty amounting to N8.8 million in violation of the provisions of Financial Regulations 710 which states that “No Government Bank Account shall be overdrawn or any temporary advance obtained from a bank and any bank charges incurred shall be recovered from the Accounting officer.”

The Clerk has been requested to pay back the money and furnish the Auditor-General with the payment particulars for audit verification.

It also observed that account payment vouchers amounting to N115.9 million paid by the Management within the first 6 (Six) months of the financial year 2015, were not produced for audit examination.

It was further observed that Cash Advances totalling N158million granted to members of staff in 17 instances between the months of January and June 2015 are yet to be retired at the time of writing this report in the month of August 2016, (more than a year after payments) in flagrant disregard of extant regulations which stipulate that all advances should be retired/accounted for, immediately after the completion of the assignment for which funds were granted.

The Clerk has been communicated that the defaulters should be sanctioned in line with the provision of Financial Regulation.

During the Audit of National Assembly Budget & Research Office (NABRO) account, financial scandal of N66million was observed. It said there was Vital/relevant supporting documents.

The Audit of the Personnel Accounts of the Legislative Aides revealed that a total sum of N78.5million was expended on the payment of Overtime/Special Allowances to officials who are not Legislative Aides, in the months of November and December 2015.

“This payment found to be irregular has been brought to the attention of the Clerk of the National Assembly. He should produce the enabling authority, otherwise he should return the sum of N70, 560,000.00 to Government Treasury and furnish Auditor-General with the recovery particulars for verification,” the report stated.


An amount totalling N17million was deducted from four months’ salaries by the commission in the year 2015 as PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and claimed to have been remitted to the Federal inland Revenue Services without any evidence of payment to FIRS.

“If evidence cannot be produced, then they said amount should be recovered and paid back to FlRS (and) furnish the Auditor-General with payment particulars for verification.”


The report observed that despite the prohibition of payments by cheque by the Federal government, except in extreme cases, the institute used cheque to make payment for transactions amounting to N246 million.

This act, according to the report contravenes the provisions of Financial Regulation 631 which says all payment shall be made through electronic payment.



National Assembly: Auditor-General uncovers N2bn fraud [See Breakdown]

OPINION: We Can’t Afford To Be Pawns – By Muhammed Karamba

Recently, there has been an uproar with regards to President Buhari’s decision to keep EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu and SGF Babachir Lawal. The President is under pressure from the public and the National Assembly to replace the two. I find it interesting how we have become so invested in such an issue that should probably be at the bottom of our list. Are we playing somebody’s game? I doubt if it is far from the truth.

It’s quite funny how, all of a sudden, the legislature decides who amongst the executive is corrupt or not. This is an arm of the government who hasn’t answered a lot of crucial questions being asked by Nigerians. It has failed to keep up to its promise of an open NASS. It has suspended a member turned whistle-blower and are yet to give comprehensive answers as per his allegations. I am not saying this disqualifies them from their officials. But it begs the question, are these probes done in the interest of Nigerians?

The media of today is doing a wonderful job at keeping us updated and exposing stuffs we probably otherwise wouldn’t have known. Most of us have one or a couple of media outlets which we trust hundred percent and will always believe anything that comes from them. But how sincere is the media of today? There are bad eggs; a lot of them. Now, all it takes to have a media outlet is money.

Have we ever sat down to think that maybe one of this media is there to defend the interest of a particular entity or group? It might even be as simple as a social media account. Politicians have social media “warriors” (one of whom is might be an account you trust so much) who get paid to spread propaganda. We have become so gullible that a simple twitter account operated by a fellow citizen is what we depend on, to get “credible” info. It’s saddening.

Would we know these people better than Buhari? These are people he would probably deal with on a daily basis. The thing is, being the spectator, we might have this feeling that the president is just there seated while his cabinet devours our wealth without his knowledge. If that happens, then we would have the worst leadership. Yeah, they would try as much as possible to hide their corrupt practices from him. Do we thing it is that easy to dig up something the president hasn’t? But the thing is, the president has the tedious job of knowing when an allegation is in the interest of someone or in the interest of the state.

It is very good for citizens to feel disturbed when we “see” a corrupt top official. We know what we don’t want. But most at times, we don’t know what we want. These guys might be corrupt, but president Buhari knows what he enjoys about working with them. You don’t employ a plumber and tell him which tools to use. Who are we to say no when the president says he wants them? If that’s what it takes to fulfill his campaign promises, then so be it.

The bottom line is, there is a political battle going on and we do not want to be pawns. Regardless of who is in this government, or priorities should not change. What we demand is Transparency and accountability, security, fight against corruption, good stable economy, proper infrastructure and the list goes. That’s it.

Author: Muhammad Karamba

18 months on, Saraki fails serial promises to disclose National Assembly budget

After 18 months in the saddle as President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki has refused to honour repeated promises to Nigerians to publicly disclose the details of the lawmakers’ budget.

Mr. Saraki came to office in June 2015 promising accountability and transparency, but ever since, he has reneged on every promise to open the budget of the National Assembly to the public.

With N23.347 billion in 2003, the National Assembly’s budget now stands at about N115 billion, representing over 492 per cent rise in 13 years. Until 2016, the budget had often gone as high as N150 billion.

In 2010, when the budget hit a shocking record sum of N154.2 billion, David Mark, Mr. Saraki’s predecessor, decided to block Nigerians from knowing details of how the National Assembly’s jumbo allocations were spent, especially how much members earned in allowances, thus wrapping up the federal legislators’ finances in utmost secrecy.

So, in one masterstroke of legislative brinkmanship, the National Assembly’s budget, hitherto open to public scrutiny, like those of ministries, departments and agencies, suddenly became secret after the body legislated, in 2010 under Mr. Mark, to make itself member of an exclusive club of opaque agencies whose budget details are never disclosed but whose finances are deducted en-bloc (first-line charge) via statutory transfers.

Mr. Saraki clinched the Senate leadership in June 2015, days after Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated Nigeria’s president. In the spirit of the high hope that waste, corruption, impunity and opacity would be fought in the country’s public institutions, Nigerians reignited calls for an open budget at the National Assembly.

Apparently conscious of the popular wish, Mr. Saraki included in his inauguration speech the vow to “change from impunity and elite arrogance to a life of accountability,” and then circulated a text in which he named a committee “to review NASS budget, to make it open and more realistic.”

The said committee, as mentioned in the text, included Dino Melaye, Ben Bruce, Shehu Sani and Gbenga Ashafa.

With his initial promise of accountability yielding no result, on November 15, 2015, Mr. Saraki again promised to open the NASS budget.

“You will see what goes to the Senate, what goes to the House of Reps, you are going to see what goes to management, what goes to Legislative Institute, we are going to make all these open and clear. That is part of the openness we promised,” he said.

Then on February 2, 2016, Mr. Saraki again promised a detailed breakdown of the NASS budget while addressing journalists during the commissioning of the renovated press centre at the Senate.

“I can assure you that we are going to move away from the time of one item line National Assembly to National Assembly where there will be breakdowns according to the different sections,” he said.

On March 13, 2016, the promise was repeated. That day, Mr. Saraki in a statement promised the budget details would be released ‘next week’.

March 13, 2016 was a Sunday. Therefore, Mr. Saraki’s promise should have materialised between March 14 and 19, being the workdays within his ‘next week’. But again, he failed to keep the promise.

Towards the end of 2016, it was becoming clear Mr. Saraki was not sincere about his vaunted commitment to #OpenNass, thereby becoming a target of criticisms by Nigerians trying to hold him to account.

“We knew from our engagement with the leadership of the National Assembly that the budget doesn’t exist,” said Yemi Adamolekun of Enough is Enough, a civil society group.

But the National Assembly actually has a budget, though, it is so mysterious that many of the lawmakers do not know its details.

In March 2016, PREMIUM TIMES had a rare access to the general framework of the NASS budget and made it public.

Against the background of the renewed criticisms in December, Mr. Saraki, through his media aide, Bankole Omishore, promised the budget details would be released in a “few days’ time”.

The last promise was made on December 20; but 15 days later, the promise is yet to be redeemed.

The National Assembly may commence work on the 2017 budget proposal by Mr. Buhari when it resumes next week without fulfilling the pledge to disclose details of its 2016 budget.

After #OpenNass, Mr. Saraki is currently preoccupied by #madeinNigeria on Twitter, promoting goods made in the country.

The Senate President’s spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Thursday morning justified his principal’s false statements.

“Are you people not tired of this thing,” said Mr. Olaniyonu when pressed for comment on his principal’s failure to make the NASS budget public.

“We are no longer in 2016; this is 2017.”

He said it was “not logical” to account for what was promised last year in the current year.

“It is like asking me to predict a match that had been played. Event has overtaken it.”

While Mr. Saraki continued to make unfulfilled promises to Nigerians, the Senate as a body does not appear to believe in the need to allow Nigerians see details of its finances.

When PREMIUM TIMES spoke with the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, on Wednesday, he claimed that the Senate’s “budget has always been open as far as I am concerned”.

The repeated public demand for the budget is baseless, said Mr. Abdullahi, adding that, “the National Assembly does not have same budget structure with the Executive and it is not in the public interest to see everything in the budget (of the NASS).”

He was reminded that the budget of the NASS pre-2010, when Mr. Mark enthroned the culture of secrecy, had detailed breakdown like those of the ministries.

“I don’t know because I was not there,” he replied.

23 Rights Groups Seek Review Of EFCC Act By NASS

A coalition of 23 concerned Nigeria Political Pressure groups has called on the National Assembly to review certain aspects of the Act establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This is even as the coalition frowned at what it described as the unwarranted persecution and ridiculing of the immediate past first lady of the country, Dame Patience Jonathan by the anti-graft agency.
The Coalition made the call at a news conference jointly addressed by Alhaji Ali Abacha, of the Northern Patriotic Forum and its national coordinator, Ogbuefi Fidelisuma Nnelirk-Mmalive, in the South-East.
The p called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate stoppage of the said persecution of Mrs. Jonathan.
The coalition, which tagged itself as “non-political and non-partisan”, advised that the
EFCC, under its present Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, should not be made a monster organization to be used by the Executive against perceived opponents.
The EFCC, the coalition said, should desist from its lazy man’s posture which makes it often apply media trial on matters that ought to be tried in law courts.
According to the pressure groups, “the Commission must ensure that it rounds off investigations on matters on its table before going public as this would not only give its prosecution a sound presentation, but also win it a favourable judgment at the courts”.
The Coalition added, “we have been watching with keen interest in the past 15 months the prosecution of the anti-corruption war of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari by agents and agencies under his administration who have been charged with driving this noble and well-conceived initiative.
“First, we must commend Mr. President for this irrepressible war which has earned him immense national and international recognition.
“This coalition, and of cause all well-meaning Nigerians are solidly behind him and sincerely wish him success as he aggressively pursues this single cancerous scourge that is shredding our nation Nigeria into pieces.
“However, we have regrettably observed as concerned Nigerians that certain elements within the President’s administration are bent on diverting attention from this noble course by unnecessarily politicizing the war to achieve their own selfish motives, philosophy, mission and vision.
“It is against this background that we as concerned Nigerians are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly intervene and halt this unnecessary persecution of Jonathan through his wife by the EFCC.
“Mr. President should demonstrate his respect for the humble, humane former President Goodluck Jonathan and womanhood, by publicly expressing his confidence in the ability of Mrs. Patience Jonathan to keep her husband’s home affairs from the scrutiny of the public domain just as he commendably defended his wife’s domestic and public roles in a recent event in Germany.
“Mr. President should quickly direct the immediate unblocking and defreezing of all personal accounts of Mrs. Patience Jonathan from the ‘No withdrawal’ status they have been placed by the EFCC”, the coalition said.


BREAKING: Magu’s Confirmation Leads To Rowdy Session In The Senate.

The plan to conduct the screening of the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today is causing confusion at the Senate.

The lawmakers are currently in a close-door executive session over the matter.

It was reliably learnt that the usual pre-session meeting of the principal officers, which holds at the Senate President’s office, was rowdy this morning as senators were said to have engaged themselves in a shouting match.

A source who witnessed the clash said the Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Dino Melaye, who was alleged to be against Magu’s confirmation, specifically engaged themselves at the meeting.

Although the screening had been listed on the Order Paper as part of activities at the chamber today, it is uncertain if the exercise will hold due to the latest development.

Details later…

FLASH: EFCC Chairman-designate, Mr Magu awaits confirmation session at the NASS

Information reaching Omojuwa.Com from inside the National Assembly revealed that the Senate is locked in a closed door session since the last hour whilst Mr. Magu, Chairman-designate of EFCC waits patiently in a holding room for his confirmation that is slated to hold today.


Recall that the Nigerian Senate rescheduled Mr Magu’s confirmation to December the 15th.


The Presidency had in July written the Senate seeking the screening and confirmation of Mr. Magu as substantive chairman of the commission.


President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed Mr. Magu as acting chairman of the EFCC after the removal of Ibrahim Lamorde on November 9, 2015.


Before his appointment, Mr. Magu was the Head of Economic Governance Unit of the commission.


If confirmed, Mr. Magu will be the fourth head of the anti-graft agency, after Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde.

#2017Budget: Senate President Saraki’s remark.


1. It is my pleasure on behalf of my Distinguished and Honourable colleagues to warmly welcome you Mr. President and your entourage to this joint session of the National Assembly.

2. Mr. President, while we may have struggled with key aspects of our budget process in the past, I am happy to note that we have made some important progress.

To start with, we are seeing the budget presentation coming slightly earlier this year. Though, we hope tosee an even greater improvement on this in the coming year. But more importantly however, is that so far this year’s budget process has benefitted from greater cooperation and consultations between the National Assembly and the Executive.

3. Mr. President, I wish to note that the National Assembly recognizes however that the problem with our budget and budgeting process goes far deeperthan the relative progress we have made. This is why in August this year, I inaugurated a joint Executive/Legislative committee and a technical committee to review our budget systems and identify ways we can make them more transparent, more participatory, more result oriented and therefore more effective.

The committee has since submitted its report and the National Assembly is already started the process of implementing the recommendations.

4. Already, we have tried to bring the key highlights of the report into effect within the 2016 framework. These include:
• pre-budget consultation and engagement,
• greater information sharing and recording,
• Public hearing on the budget bill
• Drafting of an Organic Budget Bill
• Amendment of the Public Procurement Act

5. Our hope is that the remainder of the recommendations of this report will be implemented within the 2017 budget year with the passage of the Organic Budget Law.

The Organic Budget Law will provide the legal framework for regulating the procedures that budget preparation, approval, implementation and even accounting must follow. It will bring the budget and national planning regime within a clearly defined framework, thereby ensuring greater predictability, transparency and efficiency.

6. When the current National Assembly introduced the Civil Society Public Hearing on the Budget initiative, the idea was to open up the budgeting space by incorporating the Civil Society into the budget process, thereby ensuring greater transparency and accountability. We are proud to say that this engagement has come to stay as a crucial part of our budget approval process.

7. Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, honourable members, you would recall when the National Bureau of Statistics NBS came out with the numbers to confirm that the Nigerian economy has slumped into recession, the National Assembly rose with one voice.  Through a joint resolution, we recommended that you make a “state of the nation” address on the plan of government to get us out of recession and have 20 important Executive actions that in our view needed to be taken to get the economy back on track. The National Assembly on its part listed and prioritized 11 economic reform bills for passage. We intend to get these bills ready alongside the 2017 Appropriation bill. We believe that the core elements of these bills will aid the Executive in mobilizing the required private capital into the general economy, but especially the infrastructure market.

8. In the thinking of the 8th National Assembly, our country can no longer rely on the public sector alone to spend us out of recession. It is therefore critical that we mainstream private sector business and investment in the economy. To achieve this, we must make it much easier and efficient for people to invest and do business in our country.

9. Further to this, we are also aware that if we must attract private investments to play a central role in our economic recovery efforts, must make deliberate efforts to market Nigeria as an attractive brand through a very robust and highly coordinated process of engagements. This effort must necessarily start with injecting confidence in the market through clarity and consistency of policies. We must speak the right language and show that we are open to and ready for legitimate business.

10. I wish to reassure Mr. President that the National Assembly would continue to seek opportunities to deepen this relationship because we are convinced it is the only by working closely together that our country can make the progress that we all desire.

11. The overarching purpose of a budget is essentially to ease the economic pressure on our people in general and the poor most especially. The 2017 budget assumes even a greater significance, particularly in this time of recession. Mr. President, the feedback we get from visits to our various constituencies is that there is hardship in the land. We can see it and we can feel it. This situation therefore commands all of us as government to a greater sense of urgency. We cannot work magic, but we must continue to work the clock.

Our people must see that the singular pre-occupation of government is the search for solution to the current economic hardship; and the commitment to ease their burden. They don’t want to know what political parties we belong, what language we speak or how we worship God. They have trusted their fates into our hands, and they need us now more than ever, to justify the trust that they have reposed on us. The people of Nigeria will pardon us if we do some things wrong. But they will not forgive us if we do nothing. And that is why, Mr. President the two chambers have taken a position whatever may be our differences, or opinions on issues of the economy we will all work with one common purpose for this reason.

12. It is in times like this, when we are challenged from all sides that we need to develop new relationships and cultivate more friends. No one can clap with one hand and expect to be heard. This is the time when compromise, engagement is the tool necessary for successful collaboration and cooperation.

13. This is why I encouraged the Executive to continue with its engagement plans across all sections and stakeholders in the country particularly with our brothers in the Niger Delta and all parts of the country where instability is impacting on our collective economic and security aspirations.

14. Mr. President, you will recall in 2015, , I made a clarion call while receiving Your Excellency’s budget presentation for that year that the 2016 budget needed to be bold and pragmatic to drive local production and promote made-in Nigeria goods.

15. Today, permit me Your Excellency to reiterate this call. The only way we can cut down on our foreign exchange needs, create jobs and stimulate entrepreneurship in the country is to promote local manufacturing and investments.

16. This is why the National Assembly injected the made-in-Nigeria amendment into the Public Procurement Act. We are expectant that with your leadership, Mr. President, we will achieve even much more in this area. It is the hope of the National Assembly that the 2017 budget will continue to proactively pursue this policy objective.

17. Mr. President, though we are confident that we are receiving from you a very well-articulated budget proposal, it is worthy to point out that the best produced budget from the executive at all times still remains a proposal according to our constitution which the National Assembly will work assiduously on.

On behalf of the National Assembly, we commit to work on the 2017 budget, conscious of the responsibility that the current economic situation imposes on us and driven by the urgency to alleviate the suffering of our people and also bearing in mind your aspiration and vision for our people. We assure you Mr. President and all Nigerians that not even a single minute would be wasted on our side in the course of getting this budget approved.

18. With these few words, I hereby invite Your Excellency to deliver your speech and lay the 2016 budget proposals for the consideration of the National Assembly in accordance with Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

19. I thank you and extend the season’s greetings to all.

FULL TRANSCRIPT: President Buhari’s #2017Budget presentation speech



  1. It is my pleasure to present the 2017 Budget Proposals to this distinguished Joint Assembly: the Budget of Recovery and Growth.


  1. We propose that the implementation of the Budget will be based on our Economic Recovery and Growth Strategy. The Plan, which builds on our 2016 Budget, provides a clear road map of policy actions and steps designed to bring the economy out of recession and to a path of steady growth and prosperity.


  1. We continue to face the most challenging economic situation in the history of our Nation. Nearly every home and nearly every business in Nigeria is affected one way or the other.


  1. Yet I remain convinced that this is also a time of great opportunity. We have reached a stage when the creativity, talents and resilience of the Nigerian people is being rewarded. Those courageous and patriotic men and women who believed in Nigeria are now seeing the benefits gradually come to fruition. I am talking about the farmers who today are experiencing bumper harvests, the manufacturers who substituted imported goods for local materials and the car assembly companies who today are expanding to meet higher demand.


  1. Distinguished members of National Assembly, for the record: For many years we depended on oil for foreign exchange revenues. In the days of high oil prices, we did not save. We squandered.


  1. We wasted our large foreign exchange reserves to import nearly everything we consume. Our food, Our clothing, Our manufacturing inputs, Our fuel and much more. In the past 18 months when we experienced low oil prices, we saw our foreign exchange earnings cut by about 60%, our reserves eroded and our consumption declined as we could not import to meet our needs.
  2. By importing nearly everything, we provide jobs for young men and women in the countries that produce what we import, while our own young people wander around jobless. By preferring imported goods, we ensure steady jobs for the nationals of other countries, while our own farmers, manufacturers, engineers, and marketers, remain jobless.


  1. I will stand my ground and maintain my position that under my watch, that old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing and a new era is rising in which we grow what we eat and consume what we make.


We will CHANGE our habits and we will CHANGE Nigeria.


  1. By this simple principle, we will increasingly grow and process our own food, we will manufacture what we can and refine our own petroleum products. We will buy ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods. We will encourage garment manufacturing and Nigerian designers, tailors and fashion retailers. We will patronize local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses in Aba, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nnewi, Onitsha, and Ota. From light manufacturing to cement production and petrochemicals, our objective is to make Nigeria a new manufacturing hub.


  1. Today, the demand of the urban consumer has presented an opportunity for the rural producer. Across the country, our farmers, traders and transporters are seeing a shift in their fortunes. Nigerians who preferred imported products are now consuming made in Nigeria products. From Argungu in Kebbi to Abakalaki in Ebonyi, rice farmers and millers are seeing their products move. We must replicate such success in other staples like wheat, sugar, soya, tomato and dairy products. Already, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Organised Private Sector and a handful of Nigerian commercial banks, have embarked on an ambitious private sector-led N600 billion program to push us towards self-sufficiency in three years for these products. I hereby make a special appeal to all State Governors to make available land to potential farmers for the purpose of this program.


  1. To achieve self-sufficiency in food and other products, a lot of work needs to be done across the various value chains. For agriculture, inputs must be available and affordable. In the past, basic inputs, like the NPK fertilizer, were imported although key ingredients like urea and limestone are readily available locally. Our local blending plants have been abandoned. Jobs lost and families destroyed. I am pleased to announce today that on 2nd December 2016, Morocco and Nigeria signed an ambitious collaboration agreement to revive the abandoned Nigerian fertilizer blending plants. The agreement focuses on optimizing local materials while only importing items that are not available locally. This program has already commenced and we expect that in the first quarter of 2017, it will create thousands of jobs and save Nigeria US$200 million of foreign exchange and over N60 billion in subsidy.


  1. We must take advantage of current opportunities to export processed agricultural products and manufactured goods. Let it not be lost on anyone that the true drivers of our economic future will be the farmers, small and medium sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups. They are the engine of our imminent economic recovery. And their needs underpin the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.


  1. Let me, Mr. Senate President, Right Hon. Speaker, here acknowledge the concerns expressed by the National Assembly and, in particular, acknowledge your very helpful Resolutions on the State of the Economy, which were sent to me for my consideration. The Resolutions contained many useful suggestions, many of which are in line with my thinking and have already been reflected in our Plan. Let me emphasise that close cooperation between the Executive and the Legislature is vital to the success of our recovery and growth plans.


  1. Permit me to briefly outline a few important features of the Plan. The underlying philosophy of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses. The role of Government must be to facilitate, enable and support the economic activities of the Nigerian businesses as I earlier mentioned. Fiscal, monetary and trade policies will be fully aligned and underpinned by the use of policy instruments to promote import substitution. Government will however at all times ensure the protection of public interest.


  1. First we clearly understand the paradox that to diversify from oil we need oil revenues. You may recall that oil itself was exploited by investment from agricultural surpluses. We will now use oil revenues to revive our agriculture and industries. Though we cannot control the price of crude oil, we are determined to get our production back to at least 2.2 million barrels per day. Consistent with the views which have also been expressed by the National Assembly, we will continue our engagement with the communities in the Niger Delta to ensure that there is minimum disruption to oil production. The National Assembly, State and Local Governments, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society Organisations and Oil Companies must also do their part in this engagement. We must all come together to ensure peace reigns in the Niger Delta.


  1. In addition, we will continue our ongoing reforms to enhance the efficiency of the management of our oil and gas resources. To this effect, from January 2017, the Federal Government will no longer make provision for Joint Venture cash-calls. Going forward, all Joint Venture operations shall be subjected to a new funding mechanism, which will allow for Cost Recovery. This new funding arrangement is expected to boost exploration and production activities, with resultant net positive impact on government revenues which can be allocated to infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing sectors.


  1. I earlier mentioned our ambitions for policy harmonisation. But we all know that one of the peculiar problems of our environment is execution. This phenomenon affects both government carrying out its own functions and the innumerable bureaucratic hurdles in doing business. To this end, I will be issuing some Executive Orders to ensure the facilitation and speeding up of government procurements and approvals. Facilitation of business and commerce must be the major objective of government agencies. Government must not be the bottle neck. Additionally, these Executive Orders will widen the scope of compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act by Federal Government owned entities and promote support for local content in Ministries, Department and Agencies.


  1. The Executive will soon place before the National Assembly proposals for legislation to reduce statutorily mandated minimum times for administrative processes in order to speed up business transactions. In addition, I have established the Presidential Enabling Business Council, chaired by the Vice President with a mandate to make doing business in Nigeria easier and more attractive. Getting approvals for business and procurements will be simplified and made faster.


  1. In 2017, we will focus on the rapid development of infrastructure, especially rail, roads and power. Efforts to fast-track the modernization of our railway system is a priority in the 2017 Budget. In 2016, we made a lot of progress getting the necessary studies updated and financing arrangements completed. We also addressed some of the legacy contractor liabilities inherited to enable us to move forward on a clean slate. Many of these tasks are not visible but are very necessary for sustainability of projects. Nigerians will soon begin to see the tangible benefits in 2017.


  1. We also have an ambitious programme for growing our digital platforms in order to modernise the Nigerian economy, support innovation and improve productivity and competitiveness. We will do this through increased spending on critical information technology infrastructure and also by promoting policies that facilitate investments in this vital sector.


  1. During 2016, we conducted a critical assessment of the power sector value chain, which is experiencing major funding issues. Although Government, through the CBN and other Development Finance Institutions has intervened, it is clear that more capital is needed. We must also resolve the problems of liquidity in the sector. On its part, Government has made provisions in its 2017 Budget to clear its outstanding electricity bills. This we hope, will provide the much needed liquidity injection to support the investors.


  1. In the delivery of critical infrastructure, we have developed specific models to partner with private capital, which recognize the constraints of limited public finances and incorporate learnings from the past. These tailor-made public private partnerships are being customized, in collaboration with some global players, to suit various sectors, and we trust that, the benefits of this new approach will come to fruition in 2017.


  1. Fellow Nigerians, although a lot of problems experienced by this Administration were not created by us, we are determined to deal with them. One of such issues that the Federal Government is committed to dealing with frontally, is the issue of its indebtedness to contractors and other third parties. We are at an advanced stage of collating and verifying these obligations, some of which go back ten years, which we estimate at about N2 trillion. We will continue to negotiate a realistic and viable payment plan to ensure legitimate claims are settled.


2016 Budget Performance

  1. In 2016, the budget was prepared on the principles of zero based budgeting to ensure our resources were prudently managed and utilized solely for the public good. This method was a clear departure from the previous incremental budgeting method. We have adopted the same principles in the 2017 Budget.


  1. Distinguished members of the National Assembly may recall that the 2016 Budget was predicated on a benchmark oil price of US$38 per barrel, oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N197 to the US dollar.


  1. On the basis of these assumptions, aggregate revenue was projected at N3.86 trillion while the expenditure outlay was estimated at N6.06 trillion. The deficit of N2.2 trillion, which was about 2.14% of GDP was expected to be mainly financed through borrowing.


  1. The implementation of the 2016 Budget was hampered by the combination of relatively low oil prices in the first quarter of 2016, and disruptions in crude oil production which led to significant shortfalls in projected revenue. This contributed to the economic slow-down that negatively affected revenue collections by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian Customs Service.


  1. As at 30 September 2016, aggregate revenue inflow was N2.17 trillion or 25% less than pro rated projections. Similarly, N3.58 trillion had been spent by the same date on both recurrent and capital expenditure. This is equivalent to 79% of the pro rated full year expenditure estimate of N4.54 trillion as at the end of September 2016.


  1. In spite of these challenges, we met both our debt service obligations and personnel costs. Similarly, overhead costs have been largely covered.


  1. Although capital expenditure suffered as a result of project formulation delays and revenue shortfalls, in the five months since the 2016 Budget was passed, the amount of N753.6 billion has been released for capital expenditure as at the end of October 2016. It is important to note that this is one of the highest capital releases recorded in the nation’s recent history. In fact, it exceeds the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015.


  1. Consequently, work has resumed on a number of stalled infrastructure projects such as the construction of new terminals at the country’s four major airports; numerous major road projects; key power transmission projects; and the completion of the Kaduna – Abuja railway to mention a few.


  1. We remain resolute in our commitment to the security of life and property nationwide. The courageous efforts and sacrifices of our heroes in the armed forces and para military units are clear for all to see. The gradual return to normality in the North East is a good example of the results. Our resolve to support them is unwavering. Our spending in the 2016 fiscal year focused on ensuring these gallant men and women are properly equipped and supported. We will continue to prioritise defence spending till all our enemies, within and outside, are subdued.


  1. Stabilisation of sub-national government finances remains a key objective in our plans to stimulate the economy. In June 2016, a conditional Budget Support Programme was introduced, which offered State Governments N566 billion to address their funding shortfalls. To participate, State Governments were required to subscribe to certain fiscal reforms centered around transparency, accountability and efficiency. For example, States as part of this program were required to publish audited accounts and introduce biometric payroll systems with the goal of eliminating ghost workers.


  1. Our efforts on cost containment have continued throughout the year. We have restricted travel costs, reduced board members’ sitting allowances, converted forfeited properties to Government offices to save on rent and eliminated thousands of Ghost workers. These, and many other cost reduction measures will lead to savings of close to N180 billion per annum to be applied to critical areas including health, security and education.


2017 Budget Priorities

  1. Let me now turn to 2017 Budget. Government’s priorities in 2017 will be a continuation of our 2016 plans but adjusted to reflect new additions made in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. In order to restore growth, a key objective of the Federal Government will be to bring about stability and greater coherence between monetary, fiscal and trade policies while guaranteeing security for all.


  1. The effort to diversify the economy and create jobs will continue with emphasis on agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals and services. Mid- and Down-stream oil and gas sectors, are also key priority areas. We will prioritise investments in human capital development especially in education and health, as well as wider social inclusion through job creation, public works and social investments.


  1. Our plans also recognise that success in building a dynamic, competitive economy depends on construction of high quality national infrastructure and an improved business environment leveraging locally available resources. To achieve this, we will continue our goal of improving governance by enhancing public service delivery as well as securing life and property.


The 2017 Budget: Assumptions, Revenue Projections and Fiscal Deficit

  1. Distinguished members of the National Assembly, the 2017 Budget is based on a benchmark crude oil price of US$42.5 per barrel; an oil production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day; and an average exchange rate of N305 to the US dollar.


  1. Based on these assumptions, aggregate revenue available to fund the federal budget is N4.94 trillion. This is 28% higher than 2016 full year projections. Oil is projected to contribute N1.985 trillion of this amount.
  2. Non-oil revenues, largely comprising Companies Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies are estimated to contribute N1.373 trillion. We have set a more realistic projection of N807.57 billion for Independent Revenues, while we have projected receipts of N565.1 billion from various Recoveries. Other revenue sources, including mining, amount to N210.9 billion.


  1. With regard to expenditure, we have proposed a budget size of N7.298 trillion which is a nominal 20.4% increase over 2016 estimates. 30.7% of this expenditure will be capital in line with our determination to reflate and pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.


  1. This fiscal plan will result in a deficit of N2.36 trillion for 2017 which is about 2.18% of GDP. The deficit will be financed mainly by borrowing which is projected to be about N2.32 trillion. Our intention is to source N1.067 trillion or about 46% of this borrowing from external sources while, N1.254 trillion will be borrowed from the domestic market.


Expenditure Estimates

  1. The proposed aggregate expenditure of N7.298 trillion will comprise:


  1. Statutory transfers of N419.02 billion;
  2. Debt service of N1.66 trillion;
  • Sinking fund of N177.46 billion to retire certain maturing bonds;
  1. Non-debt recurrent expenditure of N2.98 trillion; and
  2. Capital expenditure of N2.24 trillion (including capital in Statutory Transfers).


Statutory Transfers

  1. We have increased the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary from N70 billion to N100 billion. This increase in funding is further meant to enhance the independence of the judiciary and enable them to perform their functions effectively.


Recurrent Expenditure

  1. A significant portion of recurrent expenditure has been provisioned for the payment of salaries and overheads in institutions that provide critical public services. The budgeted amounts for these items are:
  • 37 billion for the Ministry of Interior;
  • 01 billion for Ministry of Education;
  • 87 billion for Ministry of Defence; and
  • 87 billion for Ministry of Health.


  1. We have maintained personnel costs at about N1.8 trillion. It is important that we complete the work that we have started of ensuring the elimination of all ghost workers from the payroll. Accordingly, adequate provision has been made in the 2017 Budget to ensure all personnel that are not enrolled on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System platform are captured.


  1. We have tasked the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance to cut certain overhead costs by 20%. We must eliminate all non-essential costs so as to free resources to fund our capital expenditure.


Capital Expenditure

  1. The size of the 2017 capital budget of N2.24 trillion (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers), or 30.7% of the total budget, reflects our determination to spur economic growth. These capital provisions are targeted at priority sectors and projects.


  1. Specifically, we have maintained substantially higher allocations for infrastructural projects which will have a multiplier effect on productivity, employment and also promote private sector investments into the country.


  1. Key capital spending provisions in the Budget include the following:
  • Power, Works and Housing: N529 billion;
  • Transportation: N262 billion;
  • Special Intervention Programmes: N150 billion.
  • Defence: N140 billion;
  • Water Resources: N85 billion;
  • Industry, Trade and Investment:       N81 billion;
  • Interior: N63 billion;
  • Education N50 billion
  • Universal Basic Education Commission: N92 billion
  • Health:                                              N51 billion
  • Federal Capital Territory: N37 billion;
  • Niger Delta Ministry:                        N33 billion; and
  • Niger Delta Development Commission: N61 billion;
  1. N100 billion has been provided in the Special Intervention programme as seed money into the N1 trillion Family Homes Fund that will underpin a new social housing programme. This substantial expenditure is expected to stimulate construction activity throughout the country.


  1. Efforts to fast-track the modernization of our railway system will receive further boost through the allocation of N213.14 billion as counterpart funding for the Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri railway, and Kaduna-Abuja railway projects. As I mentioned earlier, in 2016, we invested a lot of time ensuring the paper work is done properly while negotiating the best deal for Nigeria. I must admit this took longer than expected but I am optimistic that these projects will commence in 2017 for all to see.


  1. Given the emphasis placed on industrialization and supporting SMEs, a sum of N50 billion has been set aside as Federal Government’s contribution for the expansion of existing, as well as the development of new, Export Processing and Special Economic Zones. These will be developed in partnership with the private sector as we continue our efforts to promote and protect Nigerian businesses. Furthermore, as the benefits of agriculture and mining are starting to become visible, I have instructed that the Export Expansion Grant be revived in the form of tax credits to companies. This will further enhance the development of some agriculture and mining sector thereby bringing in more investments and creating more jobs. The sum of N20 billion has been voted for the revival of this program.


  1. Our small- and medium-scale businesses continue to face difficulties in accessing longer term and more affordable credit. To address this situation, a sum of N15 billion has been provided for the recapitalization of the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture. In addition, the Development Bank of Nigeria will soon start operations with US$1.3 billion focused exclusively on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.


  1. Agriculture remains at the heart of our efforts to diversify the economy and the proposed allocation to the sector this year is at a historic high of N92 billion. This sum will complement the existing efforts by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and CBN to boost agricultural productivity through increased intervention funding at single digit interest rate under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, commercial agricultural credit scheme and The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending. Accordingly, our agricultural policy will focus on the integrated development of the agricultural sector by facilitating access to inputs, improving market access, providing equipment and storage as well as supporting the development of commodity exchanges.


  1. Government realizes that achieving its goals with regard to job creation, also requires improving the skills of our labour force, especially young people. We have accordingly made provision, including working with the private sector and State Governments, to establish and operate model technical and vocational education institutes.
  1. We propose with regard to healthcare to expand coverage through support to primary healthcare centres and expanding the National Health Insurance Scheme.


  1. The 2017 Budget estimates retains the allocation of N500 billion to the Special Intervention programme consisting of the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme to provide loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and the new Family Homes Fund (social housing scheme). The N-Power Programme has recently taken off with the employment of 200,000 graduates across the country, while the School Feeding Programme has commenced in a few States, where the verification of caterers has been completed


  1. As we pursue economic recovery, we must remain mindful of issues of sustainable and inclusive growth and development. The significant vote for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources reflects the importance attached to integrated water resource management. In this regard, many river-basin projects have been prioritized for completion in 2017. Similarly, the increased vote of N9.52 billion for the Federal Ministry of Environment (an increase of 92% over the 2016 allocation) underscores the greater attention to matters of the environment, including climate change and leveraging private sector funding for the clean-up of the Niger Delta.


  1. Provision has also been made in these estimates for activities that will foster a safe and conducive atmosphere for the pursuit of economic and social activities. In this regard, the allocation for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been increased to N65 billion in the 2017 Budget. Furthermore, N45 billion in funding has been provisioned for the rehabilitation of the North East to complement the funds domiciled at the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative as well as commitments received from the multinational donors.



  1. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, I cannot end without commending the National Assembly for its support in steering our economy on a path of sustained and inclusive growth. This generation has an opportunity to move our country from an unsustainable growth model – one that is largely dependent on oil earnings and imports, to an economy that focuses on using local labour and local raw materials. We cannot afford to let this opportunity slip by. We must all put our differences aside and work together to make this country succeed. The people that voted us into these esteemed positions are looking to us to make a difference. To change the course of this nation. I have no doubt in my mind that by working together, we will put Nigeria back on the path that its founding fathers envisaged


  1. This Budget, therefore, represents a major step in delivering on our desired goals through a strong partnership across the arms of government and between the public and private sectors to create inclusive growth. Implementation will move to centre-stage as we proceed with the process of re-balancing our economy, exiting recession and insulating it from future external and domestic shocks.


  1. I thank you all for your patience and patriotism.

Buhari benchmarks #2017Budget against N305/$1

President Muhammad Buhari has benchmarked the 2017 budget at N305 per dollar, as against N197 to the greenback budgeted in 2016.


The N7.298 trillion budget also sets a benchmark of $42.5 per barrel of oil, as against $38 in 2016.


The budget, which is 20.4 percent bigger than that of 2016, has earmarked 30.7  percent for capital expenditure “to pull the economy out of recession”.


Again, the ministry of power, works and housing has the lion share of the budget, at N520 billion for capital projects.


More to follow…

President Buhari presents #2017Budget, says government will focus on infrastructure

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly, stressing that his administration will focus on infrastructure in the coming year.


Speaking during the presentation, the President said his administration will focus on infrastructure with more attention on road and rail.


He added that, “Though we cannot control the price of crude oil, we are determined to get our production back to at least 2.2million bpd.

“Facilitation of business and commerce must be the major focus of government agencies. Government must not become the bottleneck.


“In 2017, we will focus on the development of infrastructure, especially road and rail.


“During 2016, we conducted a critical assessment of the power sector, which is experiencing funding issues,” Buhari said.


Details Later…

UPDATE: Buhari shifts budget presentation at NASS to 2.00pm

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday failed to keep to the time he had scheduled for the presentation of the 2017 budget to the national assembly.

In a letter to the senate read by Bukola Saraki last Tuesday, the president had said he would present the budget to a joint session of the national assembly at 10 am on Wednesday.

However, the national assembly has now announced that event will now hold at 2pm

Buhari had said that he would use the occasion to speak on his plans to get the  economy out of recession. But as of 10am on Wednesday, he was not at the national assembly.

On Monday, he travelled to The Gambia to mediate in the political impasse in the country, and he was expected to return on Tuesday.

TheCable understands that some principal officers of the national assembly were already on the ground waiting for the president.

A senior national assembly official who spoke to TheCable said some principal officers were already at the national assembly as of 8am.

“Really, we wonder what the priority of the president is? This is like a disregard for the legislature,” he said.

A fortnight ago, the federal? executive council (FEC) approved the 2017 budget, which is estimated to be N7.02trn. The 2016 budget is N6.08trn.

Next year’s budget is predicated on an? oil benchmark of $42.5 per barrel.

Senate seeks to amend Constitution to protect federal, state lawmakers from all criminal, civil cases

Nigeria’s battle to exit the league of corrupt nations will suffer a setback as the Senate plans to amend the 1999 Constitution to protect lawmakers from all criminal and civil cases.

Civil society organisations yesterday warned that the proposal could erode confidence in the law, especially in the eyes of the global community that sees Nigeria’s political class as being ‘fantastically corrupt.’

They expressed the concern that with such immunity for all lawmakers at national and state levels, legislators will now be able to blatantly ask for bribes with impunity.

Immunity for Nigeria’s more than 1200 lawmakers at federal and state levels of government means they will escape criminal and civil prosecution for at least four years if the Senate succeeds in altering any part of the constitution for this purpose.

The Guardian obtained the Senate Bill number 342 yesterday and found that it has already been gazzetted and being given accelerated legislative processing.

The main objective of the amendment is to ensure that leaders and members of the legislature — particularly National and State Assemblies — are not subjected to any form of prosecution or legal persecution on account of their actions or statements in the course of carrying out their legislative functions.

Those opposed to the amendment, however, expressed the fear that it could be misconstrued to mean, “The Bill is simply seeking to give the presiding officers of the Senate protection against being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the Senate rules forgery case.”

It was learnt that the body of Principal Officers of the National Assembly was able to clear the way for the amendment following the withdrawal of the Senate forgery suit by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation last October.

In withdrawing the suit against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu last October, the Ministry of Justice filed an application to amend the charges and attached the amended charges. In the new charges, only the former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Salisu Maikasuwa, and a former deputy clerk, Mr. Ben Efeturi, were listed as accused persons.

Sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the Senate, the constitution amendment bill is aimed at strengthening “our democratic institutions (The Legislature) by guaranteeing the freedom of speech and protection of members of Parliament over words spoken and actions taken in the normal course of legislative business.”

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend Section 56 of the Constitution by adding new Sub-Sections which read: “No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of the Senate or the House of Representatives in respect or words spoken before that House or a Committee thereof or in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any Committee thereof or in any petition, bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein.”

According to Olamilekan’s Bill, the Constitution will be further amended by adding new Subsections (4) and (5) in Section 98 to read:

“No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of a State House of Assembly in respect of words spoken before that House or a committee thereof; or in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any committee thereof or in any petition bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein.”

It was learnt that the earlier disagreement generated within the National Assembly on the matter has been resolved at regular meetings of the body of National Assembly principal officers where it was stated that the amendment was not just to benefit presiding officers but to protect all lawmakers from frivolous political machinations that could manifest through litigations.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) described the proposed amendment as self-serving and an attempt to frustrate democracy in the country.

FLASH: FG sends bill seeking establishment of special anti-corruption courts to NASS

The Federal Government have sent to the National Assembly, a bill seeking the establishment of a special anti-corruption court to try serious crimes, including corruption cases.


The Special Crimes Bill 2016 was drafted by the Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.


The proposed court will exclusively handle corruption cases and other cases including narcotic, human trafficking, kidnapping, cybercrime, money laundering and other related offences.


Details of this bill and more will be passed on as it unfolds…

BREAKING: Buhari to ‘present N7.3 trillion budget for 2017’.

The federal government has proposed a budget of N7.28 trillion for the year 2017.

The proposed budget represents an increase of ?about 19.95 per cent over the 2016 Appropriation of N6.07 trillion.

President Muhammadu Buhari is to present the budget on December 14 to a joint session of the National Assembly.

PREMIUM TIMES sources in the Presidency said details of the proposed appropriation were based on crude oil benchmark price of $42.5 per barrel and a daily crude oil production estimates at about 2.2 million barrels per day.

Besides, the source said the government pegged the exchange rate at N305 to the dollar.

In the 2016 Budget, crude oil benchmark price was put at $38 per barrel, while production level was 2.2 million barrels per day.?

However, following renewed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region by militant groups led by the Niger Delta Avengers, the production estimates were altered, after the level dropped by a third of the capacity, before rising later to about 1.19 million barrels per day.

“The 2017 Budget is ready and has been considered by the Executive council of the Federation. A total spending of N7.28 trillion is being proposed for ?2017,” the official, who asked not to be named, because of the sensitive nature of the information said on Tuesday in Abuja.

“Next year’s budget was also predicated on an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar. The figure was the prevailing exchange rate as at the time the 2016-19 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was prepared in August 2016,” the official said.

The president has a sent a letter informing the National Assembly of his readiness to present the budget.

“We are waiting for the leadership of the National Assembly to communicate back to the President by confirming the date for him to make his presentation to the two houses,” the official said.

A copy of the 2017 Budget? seen by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that government proposed N2.078 trillion as capital expenditure and N2.9 trillion as recurrent expenditure.

The 2017 capital and recurrent expenditures rose by 15.44 per cent ?and 9.43 per cent over the 2016 Appropriation figures of N1.8 trillion and N2.65 trillion respectively.

Further review of the detailed provisions showed was no allocation was made for new minimum wage or salary increment for government workers in the proposed budget for next year.

The government, however?, retained the social intervention programme of N500 billion in the 2017 Budget to cushion the negative impact of the current economic recession.

“I don’t think we should be talking about salary increment or new minimum wage. What will really assist Nigerians and the workers are thee social intervention programmes and investments in infrastructure government is current embarking upon.

“Most of the government policies are targeted at reducing unemployment and poverty, while creating wealth. These are areas of benefits for ?Nigerians and the workers, which are of concern to the government,” the official said.

He however declined requests for more details on government domestic and foreign borrowing plans ?in the 2017 Budget, saying the details would be provided by the President during the budget presentation.

?But, another top official of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning who also asked not to be named, as he was not authorised to speak on the issue, revealed the president would launch a new economic recovery and growth plan for the country before the end of December 2016.

The official said the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, would brief the National Assembly on Tuesday on the new ?economic recovery and growth plan.

“This is a long term economic plan for the nation. It is a more comprehensive economic plan to marshal out roadmap to turn around the economy and reposition Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth and development. It is not just about growth, it encompasses development,” the official explained.

JUST IN: President Buhari picks date to address NASS on budget

President Muhammadu Buhari will address a joint session of the national assembly on the 2017 budget on December 14.


In a letter to the senate read by Bukola Saraki, the president said he would also speak on his plans to get the economy out of recession.


Last week, the federal? executive council (FEC) approved the 2017 budget, which is estimated to be N7.02trn. The 2016 budget is N6.08trn.


Next year’s budget is predicated on an? oil benchmark of $42.5 per barrel.


The senate has already considered the medium term expenditure framework, which is a precusor to the budget.

BREAKING: Obasanjo strikes again, attacks Buhari, NASS, Military.

The honeymoon between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to have ended.

For the one and a half year that Mr. Buhari has been in power, Mr. Obasanjo remained one of his staunchest backers, visiting him repeatedly and publicly defending most of his actions.

But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo served signal that the era of being soft on the administration Mr. Buhari leads is over.

Delivering the keynote at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Mr. Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations together and then accussing them of misgovernance.

He also advised Mr. Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.

“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.

“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”

The former president also criticised plans by Mr. Buhari to take about $30billion loan to fix critical administration.

“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.

“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.

“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.

“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”

The former president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged.


Read full speech below.

Lecture by
His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo
At the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture
Lagos, November 23, 2016


When my sister, ’Toyin Olakunri, phoned to alert me about this Lecture, the telephone connection was poor and I could hardly hear her but I got the name of Mr. Akintola Williams which has always struck reverence and awe in me.

Mr. Akintola Williams has seen active days and has been an active participant in Nigeria of the past, Nigeria of the present and by God’s grace, will be part of Nigeria’s future for some time to come.
’Toyin, who was a tremendous help to me when I was in government as she served as the Executive Chairperson of Education Trust Fund, knows that any request by her is taken as an order by me. But that request being made to honour a great man of Mr. Akintola Williams calibre cannot be refused. And what is more, the topic assigned, “Nigeria Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Governance and Accountability”, is so relevant to the time we are in that it is irresistibly attractive and befitting for an occasion like this where we celebrate an icon, Mr. Akintola Williams, who is a paragon of propriety, rectitude and integrity.

This afternoon, I will reflect with you on this topic which will take us on a time travel into a bit of Nigeria’s past, cruising to the present and with a quick peep into the future.

Looking around the hall, I can see among the audience by age, yesterday, today and future or put in the title of a hymn book, “ancient and modern”, with the future sprinkled within. I hope you will all go along with me on this enchanting journey. But before we embark on our journey, let us do first thing first.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here purposely to celebrate and honour an unusual specimen of human being, Mr. Akintola Williams, a nationally-renowned and globally-acclaimed accountant. He was the first African to qualify in that profession as a Chartered Accountant.

Apart from him being the first African to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, he founded the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa, at the time the accountancy business was dominated by foreign firms. As some clips from his enviable biography goes, Mr. Akintola Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the Association. He was a founding member and first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Let me commend ICAN for establishing Akintola Williams Foundation, in perpetuity, in honour of our celebrant. He deserves this and more.

He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as being Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). He is still actively involved with these organisations even in his resplendent old age. He is a founding member of this prestigious Club hosting this meeting, the Metropolitan Club of Lagos. There is something unique about Mr. Akintola Williams for all his momentous achievements and contributions to nation-building and national development. He has never been in government and yet his contributions surpassed those of many others who passed through portal of government without much positive achievement or contribution to show for it.

I must confess that my interactions with Mr. Akintola Williams were tangential for a number of reasons. When those of us in the military in the province like Kaduna, where I was, came to Lagos in the mid-1960s, we were looking at the likes of Mr. Akintola Williams at a distance with great administration and in awe.

My longstanding friendship and close relationship with one of his junior associates, friends and brothers, who turned ninety earlier this year, provided me with the leeway or the alley through which I managed to tiptoe to the presence of our celebrant. Over the past fifty years, I have directly and indirectly enjoyed his advice and support. In his cucumber-cool, sober and unruffled disposition, he inspires you and warms you to himself. His reflections and piercing insights and insistence for truth and accountability cannot but inspire anyone close to him. I often admire his calm mien and disposition and when I asked a friend, “why is he always so calm, composed and methodical? He answered, “it is because he has strong internal antenna for control!”

Now back to our journey of reflection on the past, present and future of Nigeria, from good governance and accountability point of view. I will gravitate my reflections today on the important subject of accountability in governance. As I begin, it is helpful to say a few words on the terminologies that will ring throughout this address. These are good governance, accountability, transparency and trust. Like the web of a spider, the four concepts are interwoven and intertwined in their dependencies. I intend to touch briefly on democratic underpinning of governance, particularly good governance and I cannot conclude without a word on the economy.

There is no single and exhaustive definition of “governance” and “accountability” nor is there a delimitation of their scopes that command universal acceptance. But I take good governance to mean legitimate, accountable, and effective ways of obtaining and using public power and resources in the pursuit of widely accepted social goals. Good governance is essentially about the adherence to the laid-down processes for making and implementing decisions. Good governance is not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about adherence to the best possible process for making those decisions. In effect, a good decision-making process, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects of government including consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols, role clarification and good working relationships.

The major hallmarks of good governance are:
– Transparency,
– Accountability,
– Adherence to the rule of law,
– Responsiveness to needs and demands of the citizenry.

Good governance, properly nuanced, is highly participatory and as a fall out of that, good governance is equitable and inclusive. That is why good governance is effective and efficient.

Accountability, which is one of the cornerstones of good governance, is the degree to which government has to explain or justify what it has done or failed to do. Accountability ensures that the actions and decisions taken by leaders, public officials or persons in authority are open to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their outlined aims and objectives and respond to the needs of the society. Accountability and transparency are intertwined. They both promote openness, truth, morality, free flow of information and forthrightness in the running of governmental affairs particularly the budget and financial aspects of government affairs.

Let us take the issue of trust. Trust is a crucial element for the existence of good relationship between the governed and the authority. A society that lacks trust between the ruler and the governed is founded on false foundation. A government that is not trusted by its citizens will definitely not get the cooperation and confidence of the generality of the citizens; hence its ability and capability to achieve development will be curtailed. The product of an admixture of good governance, accountability, transparency and trust is development, all round development for all. This mixture ensures that resources are judiciously allocated and expended, that authority is properly exercised in conformity with the rule of law for the benefit of the society.

Let us now begin our time travel with the past. For the purpose of this address, I define the past as the period between 1914 and 1999. The narration of accountability in governance within this 85-year period will take hours but as I hinted in my opening statements, I will only provide brief highlights. I will begin with what I consider to be the most important tool for accountability in governance. This is the Constitution. All previous Constitutions gave a lot of prominence to accountability. For instance, the 1999 Constitution made provisions for separation of powers as a mechanism for checks and balances and as a plank to leverage accountability.

The British parliamentary system, sometimes called cabinet government, operates essentially through elected representatives of the people in parliament. The representatives in parliament exercise sovereign power on behalf of the people, with the actual conduct of the government being in the hands of the leading members of the majority party (Ministers) which form the government, thereby constituting the cabinet. To assist the executive (Ministers) in carrying out their responsibilities to the people through formulation of policies and implementing same, is a group of people called the civil servants whose tenure, unlike the politicians, is permanent and who man the administrative structure called the bureaucracy. Despite the assistance of the bureaucrats, the ministers are still individually and collectively held responsible to the parliament for the activities of the government.

This is the doctrine of ministerial responsibility and accountability, a fundamental part of British parliamentary system. The exclusion of the bureaucrats from this responsibility rests on the assumption that the ministers as heads of their respective ministries are totally in charge and must be abreast of everything happening there. Second, the bureaucrats who are expected to observe the ideals of anonymity, impartiality and political neutrality as enunciated by Max Weber in his conceptualization of the ideal bureaucracy, are not responsible for policy making but only for policy implementation under strict watch and directives of the ministers.

Put differently, the ministers are not expected to lose touch or political control of their ministries. As former prime minister, Harold Wilson puts it in1966, “civil servants, however eminent, remain the confidential advisers of ministers, who alone are answerable to parliament for policy; and we do not envisage any change in this fundamental feature of our parliamentary democracy” (Adamolekun 1986). However, the concepts of accountability and control measures were engineered when it was realized that public servants may need some restraints in their dealings with the public especially during the execution of their official duties.

Thus, the word ‘control’ as used in reference to administration signifies administrative control, measures aimed at restraining and checking the behaviour of civil servants with a view to preventing the abuse or misuse of bureaucratic power. Accountability, on the other hand, “focuses attention upon the sanctions or procedures by which public officials may be held to account for their actions” (Gould and Kolb, 1964). Thus, although, accountability as a concept is broader than administrative control since its scope includes both political and administrative officials, we are using it here as a synonym to administrative control.

The British, therefore, introduced certain systems of controlling the administration which became a legacy that the colonies inherited. The parliamentary control of the administration was effected through such political and devices as question time, letters by members of parliament to the ministers, and parliamentary committees. In addition to these, the British system also employed two other methods which were also inherited by the colonies.

These were internal and judicial controls. The internal control measures refer to certain internal arrangements peculiar to the bureaucracy and which was aimed at preventing the abuse of bureaucratic power by superior on the subordinate. The measures are, therefore, connected with the hierarchical structure of the bureaucracy, and they mediate the kind of relationship between superior and subordinates, career expectations and penalties for contravening rules and regulations governing the conduct of government work. Judicial control was put in place as a form of legal accountability which provided judicial remedies to any citizen who may be adversely affected by administrative actions or inactions contrary to law.

By independence in 1960, the existing colonial “West minster model” and the methods of parliamentary control not only remained unchanged, but there were also no doubts that the indigenous politicians also accepted them as the norm. After all, there were no other alternatives they could choose from, not after being exposed to these methods since the colonial days. Thus, it was a wonder to note that shortly after independence, the methods that had worked for generations in Britain and which had constituted the backbone of British democratic system, suddenly became ineffective in Nigeria, with the politicians who were ‘schooled’ in its use, deliberately thwarting its implementation and effectiveness.

All these could be seen as deliberate and not due to problems accompanying transplantation of models or ideas from one locale to another. For example, the tradition of question time in parliament which had been an effective instrument for turning the searchlight on the public service and for probing the conduct of administration in the inherited British model was the first to be stifled. The reasons for this are as numerous as they were personal to the politicians who were interested in ‘killing’ everything that would have hindered them from their primary preoccupation of self-perpetuation and enrichment.
Consequently, the absence of these parliamentary methods which would have called the civil service to order through the political ministers in charge of them paved the way for the abuse and misuse of bureaucratic power and subsequently corruption.

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, gombeenism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Thus, the link between political and bureaucratic corruption was further concretized. Theoretically, many reasons could be adduced for the abandonment of the question time. The first was that the majority of the questions asked were mainly concerned with the distribution of amenities such as electricity, postal services, water and roads instead of how the service was doing in implementing decisions and their relationship with the citizens. Second was the short duration in which the parliament sat for business. This was because the politicians preferred to be busy looking for opportunities to feather their nests. There was, therefore, no adequate time for serious business to be discussed or searchlight turned on the conduct of the public service. Records have it that between 1960 1965, the Nigerian parliament sat for about 38 days per annum.

When compared with the British equivalent of about 160 days for the same period, there is no doubt that the Nigerian parliamentary members preferred other preoccupation to the one they pledged to and which they were voted for by the citizens. Third was the fact that the question time session took an air of inquisition, an opportunity which the opposition saw to ridicule and castigate the ruling party for inefficiency. Therefore, the majority of the ministers were unfavourably disposed to answering questions such that their continued absence at such sessions eventually led to its abandonment.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), another control method, was rendered ineffective also as a result of almost similar reasons. Between 1960 and 1965, the effective functioning of the PAC was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of the senior public servants, the limited knowledge of the members concerning their responsibilities, the high turnover rate of membership and more importantly the preponderance of pro government members on the committee including the chairman (Adamolekun, 1974).

The Nigerian judicial system operates at three levels, the Federal Courts, State Courts and Customary Courts. There is no public law system. Therefore, the courts have responsibilities for settling conflicts between private individuals and between private individuals and the state. The remedies used in settling disputes include the order of mandamus, prohibition, order of certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, doctrine of ultra vires, natural justice and the rule of law. In Nigeria, this system of judicial control and remedies has persistently proved ineffective in curbing instances of bureaucratic and judicial corruption. A major factor for this was the long time it takes for justice to be done in our courts. It is not impossible for a case in court to drag on for years until the aggrieved party loses all interests in the case or he dies before the final verdict is given. Of more importance is the cost of litigation which in Nigeria, is now not mitigated by a system of legal aid.

The ineffectiveness of all administrative control measures in Nigeria, some have argued, is due to imperfect imitation and transplantation (Adamolekun, 1974). The confusion can be traced to the doorstep of the colonial government. For example, the introduction of a quasi parliamentary system of government in Nigeria in 1952 was not based on the established British model of a government and an opposition. Instead, a national government was formed in Lagos whose composition reflected a search for national consensus that was expected to emerge from the sharing of power by the three broad interests groups represented by the country’s three regions at that time.

However, at the regional level, the political arrangement was that of a government and an opposition. By independence, the national consensus arrangement was jettisoned for the government and an opposition arrangement and without question, this feature proved inappropriate for the Nigerian milieu. This was because at independence, two of the prominent political parties – the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) – formed a coalition national government with the third major party, the Action Group (AG) acting as the opposition party. However, this may not be a sufficient justification as the politicians had enough time to learn and master their workings under the British colonial government.

Rather, it should be seen as more of a deliberate action on the part of the culprits. The politicians’ deliberate move to stifle all possible control measures that may hinder them from realizing their purpose of using their position for self-enrichment also enabled the administration to do likewise. As a matter of fact, the preoccupation of the political class to consolidate their hold on their positions while enriching themselves left the bureaucracy without political direction and monitoring, hence the bureaucrats were able to become a power onto themselves.

Thus, the collapse of every form of political control of the bureaucracy enabled the bureaucrats to hijack power and in most cases acted as a decision-making organ, thereby resulting in the bureaucracy’s unholy romance with politics. This was particularly the case on the incursion of the military into the politics of Nigeria. Bureaucratic power now provides veritable opportunities for self-aggrandizement of the civil servants and this realization had necessitated that the system should frustrate every control measure that may hinder this possibility. The bureaucracy has become a festering ground for corruption and the age long Weberian norms governing administration are no longer respected. Ministers started collecting 10 per cent of the contract sum as money for administration of their political parties. One ugly example of this was a Minister of Communications inviting all contractors wanting to do business in his Ministry and saying to them “To get contracts in this Ministry, there will be 10% for the party and 10% for me and all of these must come through me.” The eras of First and Second Republics witnessed unprecedented level of venality by high-ranking politicians. Corrupt practices were also manifested in the manipulation of the electoral process, politicization of the judiciary and resort to false accusation charges to intimidate political opponents of the government.

Who will guard the guardians? Deriving from the discussion so far, therefore, it becomes very clear that the British colonial elite who supervised the political development of Nigeria did bequeath to the post independent Nigeria certain political cum administrative legacies which the metropolitan dominant elite held sacrosanct and which they had become committed to. These legacies provided the post-independent leaders and politicians the opportunity and a framework within which to operate. As we have been at pains to show, these legacies did not survive the immediate period after independence. The reality was that the interest of the political and bureaucratic elite changed drastically after independence. This change of interest could also be interpreted to imply a change in support of liberal democracy, its institutions and the process of government.

The increasing level of intolerance that has characterized political rule in Nigeria since 1960 and the entry of the military into the political arena are pointers to the abandonment of the values of liberal democratic values and institutions. It is our candid opinion that the abandonment of all values of liberal democracy by the political elite was deliberate and was a prelude to the removal of all administrative checks on excesses. This leads to only one conclusion, that the political elite accepted the liberal form of democracy under British colonial rule mainly because of the constraining effects it had on the colonial administrators. On the other hand, they rejected its continuation after independence precisely because they did not want such constraints on their own rule.

Democracy in the western style, wherever it is being practised, has certain desirous effects. More than any other form of government, liberal democracy of the western type increases the probability that government will follow or be guided by the general interest. This is because, how governments act is affected by the constitutional systems through which they emerge and democracies will ensure that governments pursue policies in the general interest or for the common good (Lively 1975).

In both parliamentary and presidential systems of government, the locus of competition rests with the political parties and normally victory is ensured if a political party can produce good policies that will satisfy the majority of the citizens. This notwithstanding, the dictates of good governance requires that government should submit itself to periodic assessment and renewal of mandate. Within the framework of alternative choices, this implies that the government in power and which wishes to retain power must be responsive to the wish of the governed. Second, the liberal democratic form of government also imposes some restraint on the state. The state’s right is limited by the constitutional provision that it must respect the rights of individuals and groups in the society.

Thus, in this regard, the “temptation of the political leadership to wield absolute power is restricted by the competitive nature of democracy” (Perry, 1969). Thus, by definition, liberal democratic government is a limited government as arbitrary use of power is curtailed. This probably provides us with one of the reasons that endeared liberal democracy to the generality and that it protects them from arbitrary state interference. Third is that competitive democratic system compels attention not just to the form of government but also to the substance of politics in as much as political parties compete on the basis of what they have to offer to the electorate. A fourth one is that democracy provides the citizenry with more opportunities to get involved in political decisions. The literature on mass society and political participation suggests that citizens’ participation in decision can be either as individuals or members of groups. It is only in this sense that representative democracy encourages “a belief by the masses that they exercise an ultimate self determination within the existing social order…a credence in the democratic equality of all citizens in the government of the nation” (Anderson, 1977).

Finally, the primary concern of democracy with the formal political equality of all citizens, majority of whom are economically disadvantaged, provides for the economically advantaged and powerful groups to dominate and often times hijack the system thereby undermining the notion of political equality. Perhaps more than any other reason, this particular advantage made democracy quite attractive to most elite. As Nairn (1977) has rightly observed, the representative mechanism converted real class inequality into the abstract egalitarianism of citizens, individual egoisms into an impersonal collective will, what would otherwise be chaos into a new state legitimacy.

It is right to conclude, therefore, that the Nigerian elite were very interested in restraining the power of the state when they were not part of the state government, but very reluctant to have their power restrained once they became part of the government. Deriving from our analysis, it becomes easy to note that all subversion of democracy, its tenets and institutions have taken the form of elite reluctance to conduct itself within the prescribed rules of the democratic game. These rules are intended to restrain and compel the elite to subject their performance to the judgment of the masses.
This becomes possible in liberal democracies and perhaps impossible in our own democracy because as Mayer et al. (1996) have postulated, democracy seems to require a cultural context within which to operate, a cultural context in which the democratic format has acquired a deep seated legitimacy that exceeds one’s commitment to any given set of political outcomes. Within this cultural context, politics is generally thought of as conflicts of interests rather than conflicts between right and wrong or good and evil.
Politics based on considerations of class and the distribution of material well being leads to greater tolerance of opposition and the propensity to compromise with one’s opponent than does the politics of symbols emanating from such divisions as linguistic, religious, ethnic or cultural cleavages. This seems paradoxical because experience has shown that it is primarily because of these same considerations of class and the distribution of material well being, who gets what and how, that have generated a culture of intolerance thereby causing the political elite to subvert all democratic tenets which the same elite in western liberal democracies hold sacrosanct.

Deriving from this point, it should be realized that accountability is essential for the efficient functioning of the bureaucracy especially as it is the primary and major implementation arm of government. Accountability acts as a quality control device for the public service and so the public as citizens and consumers in the public realm can expect to receive the best service. Accountability also underscores the superiority of the public will over private interests of those expected to serve and ensures that the public servants behave according to the ethics of their profession. The public expects nothing more or less and it is in this regard that the argument has been made that where professional ethics and accountability have been eroded or abandoned, the servants become the master and corruption thrives. On the other hand, the concept of accountability cannot be excised from democracy and the enjoyment of the democratic life by the public. This is basically because democracy implies the supremacy of the public will and the citizens in the governing process. The idea and notion that appointed and elective officials of government be accountable is at the very core and root of democracy. This is very important in the face of the tendency by these officials to abuse and misuse their positions for personal gains and accumulation of wealth (Ekpo, 1979; Reno,1995). As Olowu (2002) has further pointed out, accountability is very necessary now especially in the face of a sharp decline in resources available to most African states and aggravated by the rising expectations of the citizens which has further imposed tremendous pressure on governments to ensure that they give the citizens minimum possible value for their money. Finally, it is pertinent to reiterate that the peculiar character of the Nigerian democracy has made it possible to defy all attempts at instituting control and accountability measures mainly because the dominant groups’ support for democracy, even where it ever existed, was purely instrumental rational in that it continues for as long as the institutions enable them to protect and promote their material or sectional interests.

Their support for democracy and its institutions, especially the control and accountability measures, ceases when the exercise of these measures begin to threaten the basis of their economic and political power and dominance. This may explain partly the reason for the various cover up acts and secret cult like attitude of the elected representatives of the people at the national and state levels when it comes to their various acts of corruption, demands and sharing of illegal money. This may also explain in part the present attitude of the Executive who has discovered that the only way to tackle the problem of corruption at this level is to personally intervene and expose them since the various control and accountability measures instituted in the Constitution have been rendered inoperative or impotent by the same people who are expected to make them work. This was what partly informed the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to combat acts of corruption by both public and elected officials of the state by my Administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The 1999 Constitution that we are operating today, though partially amended, provides for the establishment of some institutions to set the ground rules and promote accountability. These include the Offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation. We also have the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Public Complaints Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Bureau for Public Procurement, the Office of the Ombudsman and several others. With all of these being put in place to ensure checks and balances within the system, little could be achieved. What is starkly and shamefully lacking is compliance.

Let me comment on recent issues concerning corruption and accountability. Three weeks before the first three judges were arrested for corruption, I was talking to a fairly senior retired public officer who put things this way, “The Judiciary is gone, the National Assembly is gone, the military is sunk and the civil service was gone before them; God save Nigeria”. I said a loud Amen. Three weeks later, the process of saving the Judiciary began. And if what I have gathered is anything to go by, there may be not less than two score of judicial officers that may have questions to answer. That will be salutary for the Judiciary and for the Nation.

While one would not feel unconcerned for the method used, one should also ask if there was an alternative. The National Judicial Council, NJC, would not do anything as it was all in-breeding. As now contained in our Constitution, the President of Nigeria cannot influence or make any appointment to the Judiciary at the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court level. He can only transmit the decision of the NJC to the Senate even where Senate confirmation is required. The Constitution which was heavily influenced by the Judiciary ensured that. And yet a drastic disease requires a drastic treatment. When justice is only for sale and can only be purchased by the highest bidder, impunity and anarchy would be the order of the day and no one would be safe.

A drastic action was needed to save the situation, albeit one would have preferred an alternative that would serve the same purpose, if there was one. In the absence of that alternative, we must all thank God for giving the President the wisdom, courage and audacity for giving the security agencies the leeway to act. And where a mistake was made in the action taken, correction must take place with an apology, if necessary. There is virtually no corrupt Judge without being aided by a member of the bar. The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has the responsibility to clean up its own house and help with the cleaning of the Judiciary. It is heartening though that some members of the NBA have recently called for judicial reform. Such reform must be deep, comprehensive and entail constitutional amendments as appointment and disciplines of Judges are concerned. May God continue to imbue the Executive with the necessary wisdom and courage to clean the dirty stable of the Judiciary and the Bar for the progress and the image of our Nation. It must also be said that the good eggs within the Judiciary must be proud of themselves and we must not only be proud of them but also protect them and their integrity.

If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians.

Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of whistle blower is deplorable and undemocratic. What of the so-called constituency projects which is a veritable source of corruption? These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time. Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15 million a month for a Senator and N10 million a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.

Like the Judiciary, the National Assembly cannot clean itself. Look at how re-current budget of the National Assembly with the so-called constituency projects has ballooned since the inception of this democratic dispensation. What were their budgets in the 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015? The revelation was both alarming and scandalous. Once, when I was President, I asked outside auditors, both normal and forensic, to audit the account of the National Assembly, they frustrated it on the basis of separation of power. They claimed they had oversight responsibility for their corruption and misdemeanour and nothing can be done. It is like asking a thief to watch over himself. There must be full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner at all levels.

Budget transparency is a precondition for public participation in budget processes. The combination of budget transparency and public participation in budget processes has the potential to combat corruption, foster public accountability of government agencies and contribute to judicious use of public funds. The National Assembly budget process is not only carried out in opaque and corruptive manner but also in grossly unconstitutional manner. Hence, our lawmakers are lawbreakers. They are the accused, the prosecutor, the defenders and the judge in their own case. Most of them conduct themselves and believe that they are not answerable to anybody. They are blatant in their misbehaviour, cavalier in their misconduct and arrogant in the misuse of parliamentary immunity as a shield against reprisals for their irresponsible acts of malfeasance and/or outright banditry.

We should not continue to live with the impunity and corruption of the National Assembly. Yes, I believe that something can and should be done. The President should ride on the crest of the popularity of what is happening in the Judiciary to set up a highly technical team of incorruptible investigators to look into the so-called constituency projects of the past and the present and bring culprits to book. The President has overall responsibility and accountability for any fund appropriated under his watch. There would be many of such projects and the National Assembly would try to frustrate such necessary investigation. But the project sites are known and magnitude of funds voted for them are known. The investigation will reveal the true situation.

Nigerians will be shocked with what such enquiries would unearth. Measures to be taken should include stopping spurious constituency projects with immediate effect. And if our lawmakers-turned-lawbreakers manage to smuggle any so-called constituency projects into the budget, money should not be released for such scandalous projects. They would, as they tried with me, threaten impeachment. But a clean Judiciary and a cheated Nation should stand with the President. There should be no going back.

By our Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Fiscal and Allocation Commission should be responsible for fixing the remunerations of the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government. Any salary, allowance or perquisite not recommended by the Commission should not be budgeted for; but crooks and crocked that most of the members of the National Assembly are, they will try to find other ways which must be blocked. In the past, they even instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly not to reveal to the Executive details of their remuneration. May God give the President the wisdom, courage and audacity to be able to do with the National Assembly what is being done with the Judiciary. Mr. President must be assured that he will earn the accolade and support of most Nigerians and indeed most friends of Nigeria within and outside Nigeria.

Another means by which the National Assembly embarks on corruption spree is their so-called oversight responsibility. They instigate and collude with Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies to add to their budget outside what was submitted by the President with the purpose of sharing the addition or they threaten such units to reduce what was submitted by the President unless there is a promise of kickback. They can also set up a spurious committee to investigate a project while they call on the contractor to pay them or the executive officer in charge of the project to cough up money, otherwise they would write a bad report.

The National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged. With appropriate measures, the budget of the National Assembly can be brought down to less than 50% of what it is today. God will help Nigeria, but we must begin by helping ourselves.

How I wish that the military has not descended into what it has descended to in the last seven or eight years! It is sickening! When the military is corrupt, it affects its fighting ability in many ways. Poor, used and inappropriate equipment and materials are purchased by the military for the military at the expense of the lives of fighting troops in the warfront. In some cases, nothing at all is purchased. How callous, for a General, an Air Marshall or a Naval Admiral to be so cruel and unpatriotic as to buy such inappropriate weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials for men facing the rigour and ruthlessness of an enemy force like the Boko Haram!

It is more damnable for nothing to be bought and yet the money disappeared into their private personal pockets. I can only say to these officers that I am not proud of them, rather I am ashamed of them. Whether they are alive or dead, their family members should also be ashamed of them. And what is more, the blood of those men who died because of their nefarious and sordid acts and actions would be on their hands. I know what it could be to be poorly equipped or starved of essential weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials to fight a war. Surely, God will deal with such offenders and capital sinners, but, in addition, those who have responsibility for dealing with them here on this side of the veil should not fight shy otherwise they become accomplices.

Finally on the military, the procurement system has to be streamlined and taken back to what it used to be. The military is not a buyer of its own weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials. It is only a recommender and a tester of the weapons and equipment that could perform the role and function assigned to it. The procurement is normally by a Committee which includes defence, finance, legislature, foreign affairs and the military only as observer or adviser to ensure quality and standard. With ridiculous statements and claims that insult the intelligence of Nigerians by immediate past leaders in government and their collaborators and accomplices either outside government or still within the corridor of power, all reports must be made public for Nigerians to know the truth and be able to make up their minds about the past and the future. With some shocking revelations and magnitude of stolen money so far reported, it will be absurd and insensitive to extreme for anybody in charge to claim innocence or show no remorse, especially when the Central Bank was prepared and staffed to bankroll the Presidential campaign of 2015. Such action and reaction is height of insults to this Nation and its citizens. That cannot be the right way to go.

It is heart-warming and certainly encouraging that the President has taken the bull by the horn by taking the first right step. He has ordered thorough investigation. But the next step is the immediate and appropriate actions on the reports no matter who is involved, and this requires greater wisdom, courage and cold decision. May God grant the President all the attributes he will need to clean the augean stable of the military. If not done as it should, it will undermine the fight against corruption and the President will not escape the charge of weakness or leniency towards his former constituency, the military.

Apart from the recovery which is most important, selective and symbolic prosecution should be made to serve as permanent deterrence. Otherwise, it will be a game of denial or litigations in future by shameless culprits. As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home”. The President’s action against offenders in the military should strengthen his hands against offenders in other constituencies, i.e. judicial, political, executive, police, para-military, educational institutions, diplomatic, civil service and parastatals.

The anti-corruption war in the past has landed some Governors in jail while some still have their cases pending in courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. To my surprise, I found out that most State Governments prefer not to always take advantage of funds made available as counterpart fund by Federal Government or what they have access to on the basis of rendering previous accounts. The simple reason is that they do not want to account to the Federal Government for such funds because it will open them up to outside party scrutiny because they don’t want to be transparent and be held accountable. This situation has led to money being available but not being utilised by States in such areas as basic education, UBEC, where the Federal Government provides counterpart funding. UBEC is one example, there are others. Incumbent Governors should be reminded that there will be accountability and judgement after the government house. EFCC and ICPC must buckle up.

If corruption is continued to be fought courageously and relentlessly, there will be substantial recovery from within and from without coupled with plugging the holes of wastes in Ministries, Departments, Educational Institutions and parastatals and we will need less borrowing if we would need borrowing at all, to get us out of recession than we might have thought. Of course, we must be ready to bite the bullet of spending less on luxuries and the unneeded and what we can do without and earning more on production, services and trading. I believe that going for a huge loan under any guise is inadvisable and it will amount to going the line of soft option, which will come to haunt us in future.

We immediately need loans to stabilise our foreign reserve and embark on some infrastructure development but surely not $30 billion over a period of less than three years. That was about the magnitude of cumulative debt of Nigeria which we worked and wiped out ten years ago. Before that debt relief, we were spending almost $3 billion to service our debt annually and the quantum of the debt was not going down. Rather, if we defaulted, we paid penalty which was added on.

The projects listed for borrowing are all necessary in the medium- and long-run for our economy but we have to prioritise. Railway is a necessary service but it is not profit-making anywhere in the world today. We need steady and continuous but manageable funding on the railway project. Mambilla hydro is the same; necessary but it cannot pay itself, especially with the global energy sector of shale revolution, hydrogen fuel and increasingly cheap renewable energy such as solar. OPEC itself has projected that the price of oil will be hovering in the region of $50 per barrel for the next fifteen years or so.

The argument of concessional mixed with commercial does not hold water. When the concessional and the non-concessional borrowings are put together, interests alone will be in the region of 3% to 4%. The bunching of debt service will be a problem to confront other administrations in future. Soft option alone is not the answer, a mixture of soft and hard options is the way to go. Telling us that those projects will pay themselves cannot be the whole truth. We were told there was rainy day when we lavished our reserve and excess crude on frivolities. When we now have the rains beating us, there is no umbrella over our heads.

Again, now we are being told the projects will pay themselves when we know damn well they will not. If we borrow some thirty billion dollars in less than three years, we would have mortgaged the future of Nigeria for well over thirty years to come. There may also be the problem of absorptive capacity which will surely lead to waste. A careful scrutiny of the projects with priotisation and avoidance of waste and taking into account avoiding bunching of debt service in future especially when no one can accurately forecast the global and national economy, will indicate less than thirty per cent of the foreign loan being requested as prudent.

We must not be unmindful of internal borrowing either. It impacts somewhat differently on the economy but it must not be allowed to crowd out the ability of the private sector to borrow to grow the real economy which is to lead us out of the recession.

We must be hard and harsh on those who stay outside, whether they are Nigerians or expatriates, and piece inside our economic house through smuggling, dumping and cheating on duty payment and lying on custom classification. We must make our neighbours realise that encouragement of acts to undermine our economy by allowing their countries to be used a smuggling route and dumping grounds for entries of unwanted commodities into Nigeria will be treated as an act of hostility. We must be ready to close our borders with such neighbours to protect our economy. We must also empower customs to close the shops and factories of cheaters and immigration to deport hostile expatriates within our midst. The act of underpinning and destroying our economy should be regarded as an act of hostility and treated as such.
If we do not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gain in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.

No administration can nor should be comfortable with excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering. I know that President Buhari has always expressed concern for the plight of the common people but that concern must be translated to workable and result-oriented socio-economic policy and programme that will turn the economy round at the shortest time possible. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change. That will be a miracle which normally doesn’t happen in normal national economies. We have people inside and outside who can be brought together to help device the right economic policy and programme to get us out of the pit before we fall over the precipice into a dark cave. Economy requires a great element of trust to get it out of the doldrums let alone out of negativity. That trust and confidence has to be created.

Coming back to the issue of corruption, there is always need for institution reform to go along with recovery to make gains from fight against corruption last. Such reforms may have to be strengthened by legislation like the military procurement I mentioned earlier. But where the guard is the thief like we have seen in recent times, it makes things difficult, if not impossible.

All in all, everybody must be held accountable. There should be no sacred cow or witch-hunting or untenable excuses to let the camel through the needle eye. Those who must be made accountable must be made accountable with stick and carrot. However, I remain optimistic even though the grounds for optimism keep shrinking. Or, how do you explain having to go into any debate at all whether or not a judge found corrupt should be properly and lawfully dealt with or not? Worse still, how do you explain the situation where people are shamelessly protesting in favour of a person being arraigned in court for corruption offences? Whether those protesters are put to it or they put themselves to it, it is the greatest disservice to the Nation. It is shamefully disgraceful for both the culprit and the protesters. And it is an indication of how much our values have been debased. We cannot be a strong, great and respected nation in the world without political stability and cohesion, strong economy, robust and enduring values.

The Media should be more discerning, sensitive and responsible in reporting and commenting on corruption issues. We should realise that the entrenched interests, internally and externally, in corruption, will not go away. We need to discover and find permanent solution, otherwise some will bend, others will lie low while some others will be dormant; but all of them will spring up later and move on with vengeance as if nothing had happened. That has been our experience in the past. We must put an end to that. Part of sustenance of fight against corruption will be moral rearmament and resurgence of core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, hard work and sense of shame, not impunity and indignity.

We must think and act out of the box to put the monster of corruption and impunity behind us permanently. For some unclear reasons, the government at the centre has not been able (I hope not lack of willingness) to present to the Nation the true position of our economy and our finances. For instance, how much did we receive from major revenue earning and collecting points – petroleum and gas, FIRS, maritime, aviation, VAT, etc. And how much should we have received. If there was any discrepancy, why, how and how much? How was the receipt distributed and how was the Federal allocation spent? Such a clear picture will let Nigerians and their friends know where we are.

It will help people to understand exactly the position of government with true economic and financial situation, and what more pains and sacrifices we have to take and make to get us out of recession. Nigerians must know the truth to work our way out of recession. Easy options will not get us there. Blanket cover or cover-up is no accountability. I was shocked to know that the ECOWAS’ money collected out of 0.5 per cent import surcharge for ECOWAS was spent by Nigeria in the last five years or so. How was that for responsibility and accountability and particularly leadership within ECOWAS?

The blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 by the present administration is uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive. Politics apart, I strongly believe that there is a distinction between the three previous administrations that it would be unfair to lump them all together. I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy inherited by him. It was the same reason and situation that brought about cry for change, otherwise there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy.

Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based. I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.

Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved. The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism. Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning. It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.

And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.

There is one aspect of accountability in governance in Nigeria that I consider paramount and which is often overlooked. That is accountability for our unity, cohesion, peace and security. All other issues can be fairly well attended to, addressed and dealt with if our unity, cohesion, peace and security are unassailable. It is normally the responsibility of government to mobilise the citizenry for all hands on deck to ensure good governance and accountability. All men and women of goodwill in Nigeria must be part of the exercise.

The fundamentals to achieving such a situation are justice, fairness, equity, popular participation and equal opportunity. In the last seven to eight years, we have slipped back on these fundamentals. The result is that our country is today more factionised than we were ten years ago. For the purpose of nation-building, it is not a satisfactory situation to be in especially when we need all hands on deck to work and walk our way out of recession. For those at the helm of governance, accountability, for unity, cohesion, peace and security as basis for development, growth and progress is not any less important than accountability for management of resources. It must be seen as the symbol of any political administration and what the welfare and well-being of the people hang on. Accountability in governance is the litmus test of any administration. It is the accountability of institutions which is the hallmark of democracy that promotes both political and economic good governance. Open government must be seen and made to work as partnership in which all have a stake and an interest.

Consistent with the law and policy, government must take appropriate action to disclose information rapidly and timely in form that members of the public can easily access and utilise. With the latest in digital technology, information about government operations and decisions should be readily available online. The public should be solicited for feedback to identify information of greatest and most vital use to the public. When I was President of Nigeria, I adopted regular public discussion on radio and television with questions and answers as one means of achieving this objective. The value of openness in government engagement with citizen to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation and create safer and more secure communities must be upheld.

There must be ‘disciplined nationalism’ to manage resources, internal or foreign, for maximisation of growth and for the benefit of all. A torrent of money in the hands of weak, corrupt and incompetent government is a disastrous waste for a nation. Nigeria has experienced that in the not-too-distant past.
Apart from the reforms necessary in all arms of government, for the immediate and the future, we must embark on very close x-ray of all people seeking elective offices at any level and all political, judicial and legislative appointees.

The x-raying must be open and transparent and the burden of proof must be that of the person seeking elective office and/or any of the public appointments mentioned.

In the past, we have not done enough background checks and enquiries about the past of people seeking elective offices or being appointed to public offices. The same is the case of people being awarded national honours and awards to the extent that national honour and award have been cheapened and debased. I know an officer who was removed from the Army for embezzling N300,000 of troops’ salary and was given national honour under the last administration.

I dare say also that a situation where a person supposed to be screened by the National Assembly for public appointment is told to give a bow without any screening because he or she had been a member of that Assembly amounts to dereliction of duty on the part of the national body. If people know that their total past will be x-rayed and the burden of proof will be theirs, they will be guarded, careful and more circumspect. Public office is public trust of integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and total good conduct and good behaviour. Therefore, anybody with a question mark should be considered ineligible for elective office or for appointment into public office.

Before I conclude, let me commend all the foot soldiers in the war against corruption – the different panels of enquiries, the ICPC but particularly the EFCC which is now showing that it is a bull dog that can bite. It has, of course, continued to get rid of bad eggs within its rank. We must appeal to the Judiciary not to frustrate the efforts of these soldiers through flimsy technicality and interminable adjournments. Corruption is corruption and it cannot be explained as the proceeds of sale of rice and gari by a judge nor can millions of dollars be explained as medical fee or gifts without identified sources by a public officer or spouse of such a public officer.

The foot soldiers in anti-corruption war must be encouraged to soldier on through commendation and appreciation of their efforts. In the final analysis, we must ensure that by law, review of our Constitution, convention, advocacy and awareness-raising, we stamp out brazenness, impunity and utter irresponsibility in governance and ensure accountability in any arm, ministry, department, parastatal or unit of government.

Let me conclude on a note of optimism with caution. Nigeria has shown great resilience and capacity to bounce back from the edge of the precipice in the past and our people, boldly and courageously, went out to seek greener pasture with remarkable success. Events in the world are showing that the opportunities are diminishing. If we do not get it right in good governance and accountability, the fuze of anger of the citizenry particularly the youth may be getting shorter.

Correction must be made while there is still time. If that correction is timely made, Nigeria has the quantity and quality of resources particularly human resources to make it a great nation to be counted among the comity of nations within two generations as the undisputed leader of Africa and the black race in all ramifications.
May God continue to give us what we need in governance at every level and accountability for now and in future.

Thank you for listening.

Rivers rerun: INEC suspends pending polls into NASS, State Assembly seats.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again suspended all action concerning elections into federal and state assembly election in Rivers State pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Monitors on the state of security in the affected constituencies.


The commission also added that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers.


INEC’s Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, in a statement yesterday night said “Pursuant to the Orders of the Court of Appeal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted elections into various seats in both the National and the Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday, the 19th of March, 2016.


“Rather unfortunately, some of these elections witnessed the disruption of the process, including the barricading of some of the INEC Local Government offices and Registration Area Centres (RACs) used for the distribution of Electoral materials which led to the late commencement of the exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off.

“Of more serious concern was the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters by well armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elections in some areas. There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in 8 Local Government Areas.


“Regrettably, such deviant behaviour has continued today. Several permanent and ad hoc staff engaged have been attacked, again resulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted and taken to presently unknown destinations.


“Under such difficult circumstance, the Returning Officers were only able to collate and declare results in 1 Federal and 9 State constituencies where the disruption and malpractices were not so widespread.


“Having reviewed the situation, the Commission is compelled to suspend all further action concerning the exercise in all the other constituencies in the State pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Monitors. For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers.”

#OccupyNASS: Protest against corrupt legislators enter second day

The main entrance of the National Assembly on Wednesday remained shut as youth protest against corrupt politicians enters day two.

This has affected movement of vehicles through the main gate as lawmakers and staff can only access the complex through alternative routes.

The protest, led by a socialite and activist, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, is seeking a downward review of salaries and benefits of politicians in the country by about 70 per cent.

The protesters are also clamouring for the sentencing to death of public officials found guilty of stealing public funds.

They are also seeking a cessation of state and local government joint accounts.

One of the protesters, Miss Joy Amadi, said that the protest is a welcome development.

Amadi said the need for accountability in governance prompted her to join the protest.

She said, “Occupy NASS is a protest against corruption, political criminality, and a long period of bad leadership.

“However, just as the current government stands out to fight corruption, we also want to join hands to make Nigeria a corrupt-free nation.”

According to her, politicians have for a long time continued to extort from Nigerians through fat salaries and frivolous allowances.

Another protester, Mr. Ignatius Adeleke, stated that the campaigners are committed to the protest until the leadership of the National Assembly considers their demands.

He said, “We will not leave this place until our demands are met; we have suffered for too long while our politicians are living in affluence.

“We will not take it anymore; there has to be a change in our attitude.”

Similarly, a staffer of the National Assembly, who prefers to remain anonymous, commended the conveners of the protest and urged more Nigerians to join the campaign.

He said, “I wish the conveners well and I am hopeful that we will have more Nigerians, who will walk the talk and not just grumble on the streets.”

‘National Assembly amendment of CCB, CCT Act will fail’ – Sagay

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, and the immediate past Director-General of Nigerian Law School, Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, have flayed the National Assembly for removing the control of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, from the executive, saying the plan will fail.

According to the two SANs, the action of NASS is informed by the ongoing travails of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Tribunal.

Prof. Sagay, who was optimistic that the amendment to the CCB and CCT Act by NASS would fail, said he didn’t see President Muhammadu Buhari signing the bill.

He said: “It is an attempt to ridicule the whole Code of Conduct set up, and it will definitely fail. It needs an independent body that will neither be the legislature nor executive.

‘’It will fail because I don’t see the President signing such a bill. Of course, the President’s veto can be overridden by two-third majority.

“But at the end of the day, what they will put on paper is going to be scrutinized very carefully to see that it does not in any way contradict what is already in the constitution about the Code of Conduct.

‘’It is a constitutional matter; the provisions are in the constitution. In other words, what they want to do, unless it is clearly an improvement in the tenure of the Act, in the sense that it will be more rigorous and compelling for public officers to obey it, it will fail. If they attempt to weaken it to accommodate a lower moral standard in the public light, it will fail.’’

Prof Mamman, on his part, noted that the speed with which the bill was passed showed the Senate had a special interest in the matter.

According to him, if the amendment sails through, it will not give a good image to the law makers.

“Overall, it is perceived as an exercise by them to take away the role of the executive in the appointment of judges of the body due to the ongoing travails of the Senate President with the tribunal, no more, no less!” he stated.

Mamman explained that though it was within the powers of the National Assembly to amend any existing law in Nigeria on matters it had powers to legislate on, tinkering with existing laws for less than holy motives was ill-informed and a divisive issue to the country.

He added: “Also, in interpreting statutes, interpreters of legislations apply diverse rules to decipher the intention of the lawmakers at the time the law was made.

‘’That is, what was the mischief that the law sought to cure? However, it may not necessarily affect the efficacy of the Tribunal.

“This will essentially depend on the personality and integrity of the officials manning the Tribunal and the overall climate of the country in terms of citizens actively demanding accountability from office holders.”

Jibrin opens fresh can of worms on Reps.

Suspended chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, yesterday, made fresh disclosures on alleged corruption in the House of Representatives.

Jibrin explained why members who had earlier supported his anti-corruption push suddenly became quiet, and how representatives allegedly help themselves to billions of naira under the guise of ‘running costs’.

The lawmaker, who confessed, “I took running cost,” said: “Members collect about N10 million every month. In the past, since I came into the National Assembly, till date, there has been a situation where N10 million has been collected. Sometimes it’s between N10 to about N20 million monthly.

“To make matters worse, there is a kind of arrangement, that ensures that the cumulative of that amount is paid to you upfront. That is why you see someone comes into the National Assembly with nothing, but after swearing-in, he is already buying a car of N20 million.
“There is a fraudulent arrangement. For instance, if what you take is N20 million per month, that brings it to about N900 billion in four years. There is an arrangement that ensures you could get even up to half of that money instantly. It is such a mess.”

According to Jibrin, the leadership of the House, at a meeting, had warned members that many heads could roll if the issue of running costs is revealed.He said: “So, he (Speaker) just said it straight. ‘I won’t go down alone. If you allow these issues to be investigated, of course, we have to open up the running cost issue’. From that meeting, people started backtracking. That was why you even had a peaceful session on the first day of sitting after resumption.

“Everybody was ready for a showdown. But that night, he struck. He put the fear of running cost in the hearts of lawmakers because the running cost issue will send hundreds of members to jail directly. You don’t need to investigate it. It’s a fraud. It’s a huge and massive fraud and I have never pretended or avoided saying it.”

But asked if he would still have challenged the Speaker had he not been removed as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin answered: “The issue is that my removal was just a trigger. It was just an immediate cause. There had been a remote crisis. I have reported in the media that I protested when I saw 2000 projects worth N284 billion in the budget. I confronted the Speaker on it and I said, ‘I cannot allow this to happen’.

“We fought internally when he wanted me to put projects worth N30 billion in the budget. I said this is ridiculous. It has never happened, and I am not going to do it. There has been lots of issues, and that is why I keep explaining to people that I have fought this battle extensively, internally, and they’ve not come out to say no, because I have given out documents to anti-graft agencies and to the Nigeria Police Force, to show that these are the battles I have been fighting internally before now.”

FG to send 2017 budget to NASS next month.

Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Wednesday hinted that barring any interference, the 2017 budget will be sent to the National Assembly for deliberation next month.

Ahmed made the disclosure while addressing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

Speaking on the performance of the 2016 budget, the junior Minister noted that the budget had recorded 50 per cent implementation, especially in the capital expenditure.

According to the Minister, “The 2017 budget preparation is at an advanced stage. The Economic Management Team has reviewed it extensively. The next step is that it is going to be brought into the Federal Executive Council for approval, thereafter, it will be sent to the National Assembly.

“Concerning the borrowing plan that Mr. President has sent to the National Assembly for 2016, indeed included in the borrowing plan is the amount that is required for both local and foreign borrowing to fund the 2016 budget deficit.

“The budget implementation itself is on course; the 2016 budget is fully performing to date in terms of personnel, that is to say we are not owing any salaries at the federal level. Operational expenditure has been disbursed for eight months and the ninth month is just being processed.

“Capital expenditure has been disbursed to the tune of nearly 50 per cent. About N720 billion has been released for the MDAs as at the end of September.”

Meanwhile, the presidency had last week Friday disclosed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will start the implementation of the 2017 budget on January 1.

Legislative aides protest unpaid salaries, allowances.

The lobby of the National Assembly was Wednesday besieged by legislative aides who were protesting the non-payment of their salaries and allowances which they said run into N1.5 billion.

The protesters also lamented that there were being denied training benefits and welfare packages despite assurances by management.

An aide, Mr. Yusuf Modu, said the permanent staff were being regularly paid by the management despite excuses of unavailability of funds.

“I don’t know why this discrimination exists despite the important role we play to senators and members of the House of Representatives. Today’s protest is to tell management that enough is enough, next time we storm this place, we will not allow the Speaker and the Senate President enter the chambers until they address us,” he said.

Another aide, Kingsley Uche, said they were yet to receive their salary for September.

“Our entitlements such as transport allowance for five quarters of the year, this is since last year -has not been paid to us. It’s the same for our 28-day allowance which has not been paid to most of us. We are entitled to training at least one each quota but till date, we have never been sent for training,” he said.

The Director of Information at the National Assembly, Mr. Isyaku Dibal, while reacting to the protest, said it was not deliberate that the aides have not been paid.

“Their monies come along with salaries and allowances of legislators they work with, from the federal government,” he said.

In another development, the main gate of the National Assembly was also besieged by protesters in favour of suspended lawmaker, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin and those against him.

Anti Abdulmumin protesters commenced their protests on Tuesday bearing placards demanding for his recall by his constituency.

They continued on Wednesday morning but were joined by protesters protesting the embattled lawmaker’s suspension.

There was however no clashes between the two groups as security men were at hand to ensure there was no breakdown of order.

Avoid escalation of Niger Delta militancy – NASS tells Buhari

The two chambers of the National Assembly have told President Muhammadu Buhari to engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue with the aggrieved Niger Delta militants to avoid an escalation of the militancy in the region.

The House, in a motion by the Deputy House Leader, Buba Jibrin, concurred with the resolution of the Senate the government to ensure the protection of the nation’s oil and gas assets to facilitate increase in oil production and boost revenue therefrom.

The House, in the motion, also adopted the 25 point resolutions of the Senate Adhoc Committee on the ‘state of economy’ on September 27, 2016.

The House in concurring with Senate resolutions said: “Government must engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue with the aggrieved Niger Delta militants to avoid an escalation of the unrest in the region and ensure protection of our nation’s oil and gas assets to facilitate increase in oil production and boost revenue therefrom.

“To this end, we advise Mr. President to, as a matter of urgency, raise a team that should coordinate the government’s engagement with all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region and the team should include the elected representatives from the zone.”

According to the resolutions, the National Assembly urged the fiscal and monetary authorities to meet a view to “harmonising all policies that lower interest rates for genuine investors in the real sector as well as medium and small scale farmers and processors.

“In order to shore up our foreign reserves, government should explore every avenue to restore the oil production target of 2.2 million barrels per day. Peaceful means should be immediately crafted and adopted to stop the vandalisation of petroleum and gas assets in the Niger Delta region.

“In order to avoid flooding the market with excess liquidity, release of low interest funding under the stimulus package (Special Intervention Funds) should be calibrated, targeted and monitored in favour of specific industries and projects that add immediate value to the economy by way of job creation, cost reduction and import substitution.”

2017 Budget: Buhari Sends MTEF To NASS

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), ahead of the 2017 budget, to the National Assembly.

A letter accompanying the document was read by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, at plenary.

The letter stated that the document would provide the framework for the development of 2017 budget.It said that MTEF and FSP were designed against the backdrop of an adverse global economic environment.

In the letter, Buhari said, “the MTEF and FSP, which would provide the framework for the development of the 2017 budget, were designed against the backdrop of a generally adverse global economic environment.

“It is also to address fiscal challenges in the domestic economy.

“In this regard, the 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP articulates the Federal Government’s economic, social and developmental objectives as well as the strategies for achieving these defined objectives and priorities.

“I hereby forward the 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP to the House of Representatives and trust that it would be kindly considered and expeditiously approved so as to move the 2017 federal budget preparation process forward.”


Nigeria Loses N61trn To Non-passage Of PIB

The country has lost $200 billion, translating to N61.1 trillion, for failing to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a Bill expected to provide the enabling law for the petroleum industry.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which revealed this yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to halt the unending delay in the passage of the Bill.

This was contained in NEITI’s latest policy brief, titled: ‘The Urgency of a New Petroleum Sector Law.”

NEITI attributed some of the losses to projected investments, which it put at $120 billion ($15 billion yearly), that had been deferred due to regulatory uncertainty.

Economically, NEITI stated that the losses incurred due to the non-passage of the Bill had been huge, stressing that it had caused a haemorrhage on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and the value of the Naira as the country imported refined petroleum products worth over $26.4 billion.

According to the report, the Nigerian petroleum industry has continued to deteriorate due to the fact that the laws governing the industry are not sufficient for effective regulation and, in some instances, too outdated to be relevant in today’s global energy environment.

“Though eight years in the National Assembly, the motion around the PIB has been on for all of 16 years. Sadly, there is little about what is going on at the moment to suggest real movement or adequate learning from the past. The PIB ship should be rescued from a start-stop, unhurried and uncoordinated mode and brought swiftly ashore,” the report stated.

It then recommended that, “There is need for President Muhammadu Buhari to take the lead by investing his presidential capital on this all-important legislation, putting in place a mechanism for rallying the stakeholders to a consensus, and using this law as one of the pillars of the bridge to a much needed economic recovery.”

Comparing the situation to that in Ghana, NEITI asked Nigeria to learn from that country.

“The fact that Ghana passed the law for its petroleum sector two years after commencing the process should be a lesson for Nigeria.”

NEITI, however, lamented that there is no evidence that Nigeria has learnt from its past experiences to guarantee that the present journey will be any different.

It noted that the current efforts at reviving the process of enacting the law are already exhibiting disturbingly familiar patterns and have added a new dimension on whether the bill should be taken en bloc or passed piece-meal.

“The process of enacting a new law for Nigeria’s petroleum sector has gone on for far too long, and at enormous costs to the country. More urgency and better coordination are needed on the passage of this very important bill.

“The PIB is one of the most important bills ever to be contemplated in Nigeria’s history, yet the one that has taken the most time and generated the most activity without legislation.”

NEITI asserted that as an agency set up to enthrone transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, it had legitimate interest in a petroleum law for the country.

NEITI, therefore, recommended that an inclusive task team be urgently empanelled, with the president in the lead, and charged with building consensus among stakeholders.

“This task team should draw up a clear and well-communicated roadmap and fast-track the passage of the law in piece-meal rather than an omnibus approach,” it said.

Budget Padding Scandal: Jibrin vows to upturn suspension in court

Following his suspension by the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Wednesday night said he would seek redress in court.

The House on Wednesday afternoon slammed 180 legislative days —a full session— suspension on Mr. Jibrin after being found guilty of violating ethics and privileges of lawmakers.

Mr. Jibrin through his widely publicised allegations of budget fraud against the Speaker of the House and over a dozen other lawmakers had stirred controversies and subjected the House to public scrutiny since July.

But the lawmaker remained defiant, saying he had done nothing wrong and, as such, will not apologise.

“Let me say, I will never ever apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives,” Mr. Jibrin said in a statement. “I did not commit any offence.”

Mr. Jibrin’s allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others stemmed from his ouster as the chair of the much-coveted Committee on Appropriation.

Mr. Dogara announced Mr. Jibrin’s removal shortly before the House proceeded on an eight-week-long recess July 20, citing budget fraud and serial betrayal of trust.

On September 21, barely a day after resuming, Mr. Dogara’s loyalists moved a motion at the plenary seeking disciplinary actions against Mr. Jibrin.

Emmanuel Orker-Jev, a lawmaker from Benue, proposed tough sanctions against Mr. Jibrin for the damage his allegations had wrought on the House.

The image of the House has never been worse than this before. Hon. Jibrin was reckless and the allegations were false. He knew that the allegations were false and scandalous and he had no regards at all to whether the allegations were true or false,” Mr. Orker-Jev said.

The House subsequently assigned the matter to its Ethics and Privileges Committee for further investigation and to report back within a week with its findings and recommendations.

Nicholas Ossai, chairman of the committee, convened the first hearing on the matter September 23, during which Mr. Orker-Jev submitted his evidence against Mr. Jibrin.

Mr. Jibrin received an invitation to appear before the committee on Monday. But he decided to boycott the hearing, even though his demand that the sitting be thrown open to the public was met by Mr. Ossai.

Mr. Jibrin also asked his lawyer, Femi Falana, to seek discontinuation of the committee’s activities saying continuing  would amount to subjudice as the matter was in court.

Mr. Ossai said Mr. Jibrin’s failure to appear before his “properly and constitutionally constituted committee” was, in effect, a defence.

The report of the committee was laid before the House plenary at noon on Wednesday.

By 2:30 p.m., the House voted to adopt the recommendations of the committee as read out by Mr. Ossai on the floor.

The recommendations included a 180-day suspension, a formal letter of apology and a removal of rights to hold position of responsibility through the span of the current 8th National Assembly.

Although analysts said it was draconian and counterproductive, Mr. Jibrin’s, nonetheless, saw a bright spot in his suspension.

“At this point, I must say they freed me up to concentrate on the matter in court,” Mr. Jibrin said. “I know the suspension is not going to stand, secondly, I’m going into a massive alliance with civil society groups, NGOs and well meaning Nigerian to continue to press ahead.”

Analysts also said Mr. Jibrin’s suspension did not resolve the questions of what the House would do about the allegations of budget fraud confronting it.

House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment about this Wednesday night.

A top lawmaker in the House said the lawmakers will not consider Mr. Jibrin’s allegations since he didn’t present anything before them.

“I understand people want his allegations investigated,” the source told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night. “But don’t forget he didn’t present them before us.”

“He had an opportunity to do this last week when someone raised a motion for his suspension, but instead walked out in a show of arrogance.”

Mr. Jibrin is the first lawmaker to be suspended since 2010 when Dino Melaye and 10 others were found guilty of breaching House ethics and privileges.

West Idahosa, Austin Nwachukwu, Gbenga Onigbogi, Doris Uboh, Gbenga Oduaye, Independence Ogunewe, Solomon Achinawhi, Kayode Amusa, Anas Abass, and Bitmus Kaze received indefinite suspension alongside Mr. Melaye on June 22, 2010 under the speakership of Dimeji Bankole.

Mr. Melaye is now a senator representing Kogi West.

In the 4th National Assembly, 1999 -2003, two senators, Arthur Nzeribe and Joseph Waku, were suspended for ethical misconduct.

Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would see him barred from the premises of the National Assembly in the course of the disciplinary action. His office will be sealed and will not receive salaries or allowances.

Jibrin warns House against suspension

Erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Tuesday expressed deep apprehension over his imminent suspension from the House that may follow the outcome of the Ethics and Privileges Committee’s investigative hearing which he shunned.

Jibrin at a press briefing Tuesday, warned the House over his suspension on a matter, which he said was already in court.

The lawmaker who said slamming suspension on him would amount to contempt of court, said he refused to attend the
committee’s sessions as it never communicated to him in his letter of invitation the offences that he was accused of.

He further said the committee was not able to restore his confidence on it as he had severally complained of the meddlesomeness of its chairman, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, on the allegations he raised against Speaker Yakubu Dogara that led to his alleged misconduct.

“I was not served notice of the allegations by the Ethics Committee. I didn’t know what I was to defend myself of. They only told me in their invitation that the House referred a motion to them and that I should come with relevant documents,” Jibrin claimed.

He said he was interested in knowing how he breeched the privileges of members and those he breeched their privileges and not for the House to lump everything together.

Jibrin said he was giving the committee till the end of this week to investigate the allegations he raised against Dogara and others, otherwise, he would go out of his way to expose the shoddy deal of each member of the committee.

He said he was not ready to stop the anti-corruption struggle and would never lobby any member to join him if that is what they are waiting for, adding that he is ready to stand alone to the end.

He was however of the opinion that the support Dogara was enjoying presently was cosmetics, as he allegedly blackmailed members into it, assuring that he would expose the blackmail soon.

Hon. Jibrin Suspended From House of Reps

Whistle-blower lawmaker, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has been suspended by the House of Representatives.


The lawmaker from Kano at the centre of the unfolding budget padding scandal was on Wednesday suspended fron the house for 180 legislative days.


The House seats three days in a week and this consequently means that Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would last more than a year.


In a motion recommended by House Ethics Committee chairman, Nicholas Ossai, and adopted by the whole House, Jibrin will also not be able to hold any position of responsibility for the span of the current National Assembly.


On 21st July, the former Appropriations Committee Chairman raised the alarm about illegal insertions into the 2016 budget by the leadership of the House.


The scandal has been regarded by many as Africa’s biggest parliamentary scandals in recent memory.

Jibrin explains why he shunned Ethics Committee hearing

The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin has given reason for his absence at a hearing on his alleged breach of House Rules by the Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

Jibrin told newsmen on Tuesday that he shunned the panel because the Chairman, Nicholas Ossai had demonstrated bias in words and action.

His words: “Ahead of the resumption of the House I wrote a 17-page letter to all members and one of the issues I raised is that I was finding it difficult to write to the committee on Ethics and Privileges because I do not believe that he has the ability of being impartial.

“He has made a couple of public statements that show clearly that he has become an interested party in the matter.

“I cited the instance where clearly he made a public statement that budget fraud (also known as padding) is not an offence. And of course, there are instances where he mentioned me as a person that in the whole of this matter, I am wrong.

“Right from the beginning, I have my doubt. After the House referred the matter to the Ethics Committee, he called me. And when he called me, I told him that I will appear on the condition that the proceedings would be made public. And I was clear to him that the media will be there, both print and electronic.”

Jibrin said Ossai called him again and agreed that he will do as he requested and will even put it in writing.

He said contrary to his request, he got only a 2-paragraph letter devoid of their agreement and did not itemize how he breached the privileges of members.

Jibrin said that legislative privileges does not include corruption, and that exposing corruption does not constitute breach of privileges.

“In the next few days, if the chairman of the Ethics and Privileges does not concentrate on the issues of allegations I raised against the Speaker and three other principal officers, and the abuse of the privileges of Nigerians, I will take it upon myself to expose how some members have abuse their privileges. I will do it.

“If I’m suspended, it’s illegal. But if they insist they will suspend me, it’s fine. I will step out of the House and continue my crusade and of course, the court will take a position on the contempt that has been done.

“I will contest it if I am suspended because the case is before the court, but if they insisted, I will remain suspended.

“As matter of fact, that will afford me ample time to concentrate on activism especially on fighting corruption in the House from outside.

“It means that I will then have enough time to collaborate with civil society organizations and other like-minds”, he added.

Reps begin investigation into Jibrin’s budget padding allegations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Friday in Abuja, commenced public investigation into allegations of fraud made by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin against the House.

This followed Wednesday’s resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate the allegations, bordering on breach of privileges of members.

It would be recalled that the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, accused the leadership of the National Assembly of padding the 2016 budget.

In his allegation, Jibrin alluded that the corruption in the House of Representatives outweighed that of the Executive and Judiciary combined, and urged anti-graft agencies to investigate.

Testifying before Ethics and Privileges Committee, however, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev, described Jibrin’s action as sundry act of misconduct against the House.

Orker-Jev, who tendered newspaper copies and video materials as evidence, prayed the committee to apply necessary sanctions against any member guilty of misconduct in accordance with the House rules.

He said that the allegations made by Jibrin were false, scandalous and had impinged on the image of the National Assembly.

According to him, the allegations have lowered the National Assembly in the estimation of the public as Nigerians now express disgust at the lawmakers.

“There are internal mechanisms of addressing such grievances.

“We need to redeem our image against allegations that oversight and public hearings conducted in the House of Representatives are riddled with corruption,’’ Orker-Jev said.

While adopting Orker-Jev’s evidences, the Committee on Ethics and Privileges expressed commitment to be fair and objective in the investigation.

It adjourned sitting on the matter to Sept. 26, 201 when Jibrin is scheduled to appear before the committee.

National Assembly probes alleged $29b fraud cases

The National Assembly is set to probe two alleged fraud cases involving $29 billion.

While the Senate yesterday resolved to investigate an alleged fraudulent movement of $12 billion from Nigeria by some key government officials in collaboration with a telecommunications outfit, the House of Representatives is probing over $17 billion allegedly stolen from undeclared crude oil and liquidity natural gas exports to global destinations.

The upper chamber gave approval to Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) to put together a substantive motion and present it to the Senate for a more comprehensive debate on Tuesday as a step to conducting an investigation into the allegation.

Citing order 42 of Senate Standing Rule, Melaye had upon the commencement of legislative sitting yesterday, informed his colleagues that high-level corruption was committed by a particular telecommunications firm in connivance with some officials of government, including a serving minister.

When he was granted an opportunity to provide the synopsis of the motion he wanted to move, Melaye said: “I seek the indulgence of this house to move that after this short presentation, this matter be allowed to be taken on the next legislative day. My respected colleagues, MTN Nigeria paid $284.9 million dollars on the 6th of February, 2001 to purchase their license of operations in this country.

“I want to say with facts which by the grace of God I will make available on the next legislative day if this motion is allowed for all senators to see evidence that between 2006 and 2016 through four Nigerian banks and indeed a serving minister and some other fraudulent Nigerians, MTN has moved over $12 billion out of Nigeria and that is about half of our external reserves. If I get the nod of the Senate, I will want to bring a substantive motion on Tuesday the next legislative day with substantiated facts to buttress this position.”

When the matter was put to question by Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the lawmakers unanimously agreed that the motion be presented on Tuesday.

The decision of the House of Representatives to probe the allegedly stolen $17 billion followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance initiated by Agbonayinman Johnson Ehiozwa (Egor Ikpoba/Okha: PDP, Edo) at the plenary session with Speaker Yakubu Dogara presiding.

The lawmaker claimed the deal involved 20 companies, two agencies of government, two law firms and the consultant appointed by the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.

He said his motion was premised on the findings of Molecular Power System (Nigeria) Limited which probed the issue at the behest of Jonathan.

He claimed that it was discovered that from the period 2011 to December 2014 there were undeclared 57,830,000 barrels of Nigeria crude oil . Some of these barrels worth over $12 billion were exported to the United States, others worth over $3 billion went to China and the others worth $839,522,600 went to Norway.

Meanwhile, senators have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to balance the anti-graft war with the need to facilitate free flow of investments and businesses into the country.

Many of the lawmakers said the strategy of simply clamping people into detention without prior proper investigation, ignoring orders of court as well as adopting unorthodox tactics in the fight against corruption have seriously terrified and scared investors away.

Others also condemned what they called policy inconsistency which they said discouraged serious and genuine businesses.

In his contribution to the debate, Senator Ben Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa East) declared: “Buhari’s approach to anti-corruption war is wrong. Let us forget the foreign investors, what about the local investors? Nobody is investing anything anymore because nobody is buying anything, everybody is terrified to spend money. If people are afraid, they will not invest, fear will not be a policy to grow the economy.”

He continued: “Money is a coward; it only goes to places where there is peace and tranquility. We cannot be afraid to be Nigerians, we cannot be afraid to live in our country.

Obasanjo fought corruption and got some money back but nobody was terrified. I support Buhari’s policy, but let us change the approach, if we do not want to invest in our country, foreigners will not invest in our country.”

Senator Sunny Ugoji (Ebonyi South), was of the notion that government got things wrong when it portrayed Nigerians as thieves to the international community, a development which he noted discouraged investors from coming into the country to do business.

“If we do not cure the systemic corruption, we would not go anywhere but we should not be portrayed as thieves. Corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria, infact it was imported into Nigeria: there is corruption everywhere in the world, they only manage their corruption,” he said.

The struggle has just begun – Jibrin tells Dogara

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has stated that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, used legislative tricks to save himself by not allowing the budget padding allegations to be debated by members.

Declaring that he would not appear before any House committee except its hearing is made public; he asserted that “the struggle has just begun”.

Recall that the House had on Wednesday descended into a rowdy session where it passed a motion to investigate the breach of members’ privileges as a result of recent allegations made by the ousted chairman.

The motion, moved by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, said the lower chamber had come under “heavy attack” following the allegations.

Jibrin is to appear before the Ethics and Privileges committee, which would investigate him and make recommendations to the House; if found guilty by the committee, the embattled lawmaker risks six months suspension.

He said in a statement, “Rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.

“In a move that smacks of abuse of process, Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the chairman of business and rules committee, who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege — a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the house rule.

“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed.

“But what happened on the floor of the House today is just the end of another beginning. I have never lived with the illusion that this matter will be a sprint, knowing the deeply-rooted corrupt interest of a few cabal in the House, headed by Speaker Dogara.

“I have all the stamina and agility to go the marathon and ensure justice is served. Despite all these and since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public and will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.

“Predictably, in his speech, Mr. Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth times that the allegations I raised are against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members — not the honourable house as an institution.

“The bad news for Nigerians is that in the face of such grievous allegations against the Speaker, which members are aware of, and his decision to sit tight, he has become a lame duck Speaker. But even more painfully is the fact that we will continue to call, though in the short run, such fraudulent and corrupt persons in Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor number 4 citizen and principal officers of the House respectively.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the struggle has just begun.”

Budget padding: Jibrin’s allegations destroyed NASS integrity, image – Dogara

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said budget padding allegations in the house impacted negatively on the integrity of the National Assembly.

The speaker said this in his remarks while welcoming members back to plenary after their eight-week recess.

A member of the house, who was removed as Chairman, Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, made the allegations against Dogora and some principal officers of the lower chamber.

Dogara said that the scandal orchestrated by the member posed a threat to the corporate integrity and image of the house as a democratic institution.

“Shortly after we adjourned for the recess, the erstwhile Chairman, Appropriations Committee, embarked on strange propaganda clearly aimed not only at the destruction of the image of some members.

“It was also a systematic destruction of the institution of the House of Representatives and indeed, the legislature, by portraying it to the public as an irredeemably corrupt institution.

“The motivation for his actions as he has said severally and repeatedly, is to have the four principal officers removed from their positions and not that the truth should be known.

“These wild allegations which were initially directed at four members of the House leadership progressively engulfed the entire membership of the House and then, the institution,’’ he said.

According to Dogara, the house leadership chose the part of maturity by maintaining great restraint, fully conscious of the fact that at the appropriate time, the truth will prevail.

He said, “I have bad news for those who think they can pull down this institution of the people.

“If history is any guide, no one, in a democracy has ever succeeded in destroying a democratic institution such as the House of Representatives.’’

While assuring that the House was fully conscious of its watchdog role, the speaker asserted that the lawmakers would not be distracted by insidious antics to confuse Nigerians.

He described the modus operandi adopted by Jibrin to address his allegations as inappropriate, saying there were constitutional avenues to address them considering the criminal nature of some of the allegations.

“It is, however, important to briefly say that nothing warrants the deliberate attempt at destructive public misinformation aimed at discrediting the house as an institution”, he added.

The speaker promised that reforms in the budgeting process would be initiated by the National Assembly to guard against abuses.

He revealed that he had directed the various committees to conduct fact-finding on the level of implementation of the 2016 budget by various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“We must take our oversight responsibilities seriously and report back to the house.

“It is the report of the committees that will determine the level of appropriation to any MDA in 2017,’’ he stated.

Adewale Oluwatayo’s Death: NASS Adjourns Sitting

Resumption of plenary by the National Assembly after eights week recess failed on Tuesday following announcement of the death of a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Elijah Oluwatayo (APC-Lagos).

Reports that the aborted resumption was to mark the beginning of the second legislative year of the 8th assembly.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, while reading a letter from the family of the deceased, said that Oluwatayo died on July 20, 2016, at the age of 66.

Dogara also announced the death of three former members of the House – Muhammed Useni, Alex Eze and Etim Atakpa.

He said that Useni represented Makarfi Federal Constituency of Kaduna state from 1999 to 2003, while Eze represented Nsukka/Igboeze Constituency of Enugu state within the same period.

He said Atakpa represented Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal constituency of Akwa Ibom from 1992 to 1993 on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention.

“As a serving member is involved, and as the tradition of the House demands, we have to adjourn sitting till Wednesday to honour the deceased,’’ Dogara said.
The House of Representatives in the 8th National Assembly has recorded four deaths of members since inauguration in June, 2015.

Budget Padding: I am ready to be suspended – Jibrin

A former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Appropriations Abdulmumin Jibrin says he is ready to pay the price of being suspended to rid Nigeria of corruption.


Jibrin made the remark as a guest of Channels Telesivion’s live programme ‘Politics Today’


He said, “On the issue of suspension I am less bothered. Perhaps that is the sacrifice I will have to make for the country and for us to be able to deal with the issues of corruption in the House but I doubt very much that the 360 members, having followed the events of last two months, and of course the letter I wrote to each member last week, I doubt very much if they will go on the floor of the House and start talking about suspending me.”

The Kano born lawmaker reiterated his commitment to follow to the latter his allegation of budget padding against speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers regardless of if he was suspended or not.


Jibrin said, “Whatever happens on Tuesday and the rest of the days we want to spend in the House before the end of the year, one thing is certain and I say this without any element of contradiction; I will continue to pursue this issue until justice is served on Speaker Dogara and other principal officers whether I am suspended or not.”

Part-time NASS Requires Constitutional Amendment- Osinbajo

As more Nigerians continue calls for membership of the National Assembly-the Senate and House of Representative- to be made part-time due to the huge cost of running the two chambers, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said such move would require a constitutional amendment.

The Vice President, who was responding to comments from members during the 90th Anniversary of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Lagos yesterday, stressed that such change would “go through the National Assembly”, thereby making it the prerogative of the lawmakers to either adopt it or not.

On the call for the autonomy of Federal Universities, Osinbajo said that would only be feasible if the institutions could finance themselves in all aspects.“ But as long as the government continues doing that, attainment of complete autonomy would be difficult,” he said.

Earlier, the Vice President, who was the guest speaker at the event, delivered a lecture titled: Revitalizing the Nigerian Economy: The Challenges and the Opportunities, in which he stated: “We have been talking about diversification for about 40 years, but we have not been able to achieve this due to lack of discipline,” stressing that the call only intensifies whenever there is crises in the oil sector.

Osinbajo who said that Nigeria is facing the “most challenging period” economically, which has plunged the country into a recession, said the government was doing its best to revive the economy with one of the ways being “Social Housing Initiative” which would be launched by the end of the year.

He stressed that the idea was not just for job creation, but to also create an avenue where young Nigerians could own houses.

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Nigeria: Rethinking Part-Time Legislature

The greatest bane of institutional development in Nigeria is the hurried approach to dealing with national challenges. Preference for adhoc and hybrid measures has always robbed the nation the opportunity to have defined and consistent system of building institutions that support real growth and development.


For some reasons devoid of rational thinking, some of the elites are complicit in misleading people by driving critical national conversation from jaundiced and myopic perspective.


At a time the issue on the table is how best to address the current recession in the economy deploying effective monetary and economic policies supported by strong institutions of government, some analysts and commentators went wild with emotion by suggesting that the country should have a part-time legislature.


Most of the interventions in the conversation unfortunately, were championed by individuals one ordinarily assumes have the learning and exposure to know better. In the first instance, what can be said to be the nexus or connect between having a full-time legislature and resolving the policy gaps and functional ineptitude that resulted in the parlous state of the economy. If the intention were altruistic and well thought out, the present situation of things demand a robust legislative input to strengthen institutions of state to deliver on strong policies and programme and ensure a paradigm shift.


Why then, of all times, would anyone who lays claim to being a good student of public policy and resource management, suggest that the solution to the country’s problems can be found in embracing the idea of part-time legislature. Perhaps, the long period of military governance in the country and the fact that the legislature has been denied the opportunity of having unabridged operational life, accounts for the perception that governance even in a democracy can be driven without a virile legislature.


Over the years, the legislature has refused to assert itself or even acquit the institution creditably because some of the legislators are simply ill-equipped, poorly informed, understandably lack the capacity to perform legislative functions and above all, create wrong impression about the place of the legislature in democratic setting. The timing of the calls for part time legislature and the coincidences around same, are simply suggestive but suffice it to state that those that clamour for a weak legislature must realize that there would be governments after the ‘strong man’, President Buhari.

Good laws are predicated on the principles that precedents are for all persons and we must as a people, resist the temptation of looking at individuals when making laws or drawing up policies that would endure. It’s even inconceivable to tinker with the idea of settling for a part-time legislature, if we really appreciate the volume of work expected to be done in creating the requisite legislative environment given the structural changes that must be made to draw the country out of economic recession.


Have the proponents of part time legislature paused for a moment to look at the constitutional role of the legislature at all levels. Except we are soaked in to the sentiment that all that the legislature does in Nigeria is to sit down and joke, there cannot be any justification for such ill-informed calls.


For freshers, it is apposite to state that the business of legislation involves more than what transpires on the floor of the chambers during plenary. Committee work takes more than sixty (60%) percent of the time of legislators and we cannot afford the luxury of inviting distractions in the name of part-time legislature or however described. We may not be comfortable with the character or faces of the members of the legislature as currently constituted at the Federal, State and Local governments, but that cannot be a strong reason for the clamour to destroy the institution that represents the heartbeat and soul of democratic practice.


The advocacy should be for all to be involved in mobilizing towards ensuring that persons to be elected as legislators must be men and women of character, sound education, knowledge, discipline and embodiment of the right values and gravitas to deliver on mandate. When once the process and benchmarks are right, the institution would definitely be strengthened for performance assurance.


Agreed that the legislature as presently constituted at all levels of government habours the good, the bad and the ugly, yet, that does not diminish its importance in driving a virile democracy anchored on the finite principles of separation of powers and the attendant checks and balances. The beauty of building a democratic order on the terms of internationally accepted best practices, which envisages a governmental system piloted by a thinking executive, an impartial judiciary and a strong legislature, is that governance becomes seamless and the government, responsive, sensitive, accountable and pro-people in every material particular.If any arm is weakened and forced to be unable to perform its constitutional role, the governance gaps would implode on the system and the society.


Nations of the world rise up to challenges through reasoned and measured approach and not by taking irrational and precipitate actions that compound the problem instead of providing solution.

Group Urges EFCC To Probe NASS Over Budget Padding

A group named ‘Conscience Nigeria’, on Monday in Lagos, urged the EFCC to investigate the leadership of the House of Representatives over alleged N40 billion budget padding.


The Executive Director of Conscience Nigeria, Mr Tosin Adeyanju, made the plea during a peaceful protest at the Lagos office of the EFCC.


He called for the immediate interrogation of the principal officers of the House fingered in the allegation.


The former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, had named himself and some Principal Officers of the House as beneficiaries of illegal running costs amounting to billions of naira.
Till date, none of the Principal Officers directly fingered in the budget padding scandal has been invited, investigated or prosecuted.


“For the ongoing anti-corruption war to be successful, our nation must ensure that there are no sacred cows and no stone is left unturned in the fight against corruption.


“We call on the commission to immediately commence investigation into the allegation of padding of the 2016 Budget by the leadership of the Federal House of Representatives,’’ Adeyanju said.


He said that the consequences of the lawmakers’ actions would become a burden on the average Nigerian, “hence our opposition against making the issue a family affair’’.


The EFCC Deputy Director (Operations), Mr Iliyasu Kwarbai, who received a petition on behalf of the commission, commended the group for the peaceful protest.


“We have received petitions from some other persons on this same issue of budget padding. Our men are on ground already for the investigation.


“EFCC has no sacred cows. Whoever is involved in budget padding will be prosecuted.


“The President has said so before that no corrupt person will go unpunished. We call on all with facts that would help us prosecute the case to come to us,’’ Kwarbai said.

Nigeria Can No Longer Afford Paying Full-Time Lawmakers – Junaid Mohammed

Dr. Junaid Mohammed, a second republic politician, has advised the country to consider electing legislators on full time because the country cannot afford to pay them.

The idea of electing legislators on part time basis was brought into the front burner some years ago when it was discovered that Nigeria is among few countries that spend huge amount of money to maintain its lawmakers.

However, Mohammed said that it is longer feasible for the country to continue engaging members of the National Assembly on full time.

He said, “I have said it before and I will continue to say it that Nigeria cannot afford the luxury of electing legislators on full time basis.”

Mohammed, who stated that the National Assembly in the Second Republic is different from what we have today, described the allegation of corruption by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as a manifestation of the level of indiscipline among lawmakers.

“I am proud to be associated with the National Assembly in the second republic because throughout our time between 1979 to December 1983, no serious allegation of corruption was leveled against any member.

“The only case we had that time was the one that involved one Ibrahim Barau which we later discovered to be a political vendetta.

“I don’t know what Jibrin has against Dogara but the important thing is that members should emulate Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila and subject themselves for investigation.”

Mohammed stressed that the allegation of corruption in the National Assembly can only be referred to the present members.

“When I heard of several allegation of corruption going on in the National Assembly, I expressed gratitude to God that I am no longer there.”

Budget Padding: Jibrin Files Suit Against Dogara, Others.

Former Chairman, Appropriation Committee, House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has sued the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun, and other principal officers of the lower chamber over an alleged plan to suspend him.


In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/595/2016, commenced by way of writ of summons and filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja on August 9, 2016, Jibrin  seeks principally to restrain the House of Representatives and its principal officers from giving effect to their alleged plot to suspend him as member of the House.


Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress (APC) legislator representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, has also filed an ex-parte motion seeking, among others, an other restraining the defendants from taking steps to suspend him pending the determination of the substantive suit.


Listed as defendants in the suit are: The House of Representatives, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Yusuf Lasun, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Leo Ogor, Herman Hembe, Umar Mohammed Bago, Zakari Mohammed, Chike Okafor, Dan Asuquo, Jagaba Adms, Haliru Jika and Uzoma Abonta.


Jibrin, in the substantive suit, seeks a declaration that the defendants are bound to comply with the provisions of Sections 49, 54, 56 and 60 of the 1999 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House of Reps, regulating its sitting, procedure and other matters in the conduct of its legislative functions as provided in the Constitution and the Standing Orders made pursuant to the Constitution.


He also wants the court to make a declaration that the decision taken by the defendants at a meeting held on August 3, 2016 to suspend the plaintiff as a member of the House of Reps without granting him the right to fair hearing is unlawful.


The plaintiff stated, in a supporting affidavit, that Immediately the 3rd to 14 defendants (Dogara and other principal officers)  got wind of the petitions presented against them by the plaintiff to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and others, they held a meeting on August 3, 2016, where they allegedly resolved to suspend him immediately as member of the House of Reps.


He said that the defendants also agreed to urgently reconvene the House from its current recess “with a desperate agenda to suspend the plaintiff contrary to the Rules of the House”.


“That one of such meetings was held by the 3rd to 14 defendants at the residence of the 3rd defendant (Dogara) in Apo, Abuja on August 3, 2016.


If the reliefs of the plaintiff are not granted, the plaintiff will be suspended as a member of the House of Reps, and this will greatly prejudice him and thousands of his constituents, who rely on him to afford them their due representations in the Federal Legislature,” Jibrin said.


It could not be confirmed when filing this story yesterday whether any proceedings had been conducted in court in relation to the motion ex-parte or whether a date had been set for hearing by the court’s current vacation judge, Justice Okon Abang.

Jibrin Challenges Dogara To Public Debate On Budget Padding Scandal

Embattled former chairman of Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has challenged the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to a public debate on the allegations of padding if the 2016 budget.


In yet another statement he issued yesterday, Hon. Abdulmumin said rather than defend himself against allegations of corruption levelled against him, the Speaker was embarking on “diversionary plan to mislead the public, avoid the anti-corruption agencies and buy time to cover up their dirty mess.


He said what the leadership and some committee chairman did amounted to “appropriation fraud.


“For instance, let’s say an item in a budget proposed by the executive under Power for the purchase of a transformer cost N2million and same amount was budgeted, If the Chairman House Committee on power because he has the “powers” to appropriate decides to add N3million naira to jack up the allocation to 5million naira when it is a public knowledge that the transformer cannot cost more than 2million naira, what do you call that? That essentially means appropriation fraud.

On the other hand, let’s say he decides to irrationally reduce the amount to 500,000 thousand naira knowing fully well that, the said amount cannot buy the transformer, what do you call that? Appropriation Sabotage and such a chairman is a Saboteur. I have no apology for saying this!Little by little, I will be providing more in-depth details,” the statement said.


I challenge Speaker Dogara and his cabal to a public debate on their claim that the fraudulent insertions they made in the budget is not an offense that can be prosecuted under the laws of Nigeria. Rather than continue their futile effort to blackmail the entire country or continue their begging mission to the Party, Transparency and Integrity Group, Speaker Dogara and his gang should submit themselves to the anti-corruption agencies and answer thousands of questions waiting for them” he said.

“Don’t Drag Buhari Into Budget Padding Allegations” – Hon. Ajibola Famurewa

The member, representing Atakumosa West/Atakumosa East/Ilesa East and Ilesa West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Ajibola Famurewa, has cautioned his colleagues in the House of Representatives not to drag President Buhari into the ongoing padding crises rocking the National Assembly but allow him to concentrate on tackling various challenges facing the country at the moment.


He made this statement while reacting to insinuations in some quarters that the presidency signed a padded budget as well.

Famurewa said it is so painful that counter accusation of budget padding could be going on at a period when Nigerians are expecting so much from the political class.


He, however, urged President Buhari to remain focused in fulfilling the campaign promises of the All Progressives Congress to Nigerians.


The House of Representatives member further reiterated his support for the corruption fight of President Buhari’s administration and pleaded with Nigerians not to lose hope in the National Assembly

We Are Elected To Pad Budget – Honourable Abiodun Olasupo

The Chairman House of Representative Committee on Legislative Compliance, Abiodun Olasupo, has insisted that ‘budget padding’ remains a constitutional responsibility of the legislative arm of government and as such the House of Representatives did not err in the current ‘budget padding’ controversy.


Olasupo, representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/ Iwajowa federal constituency, stated this during the inspection of some his zonal intervention projects and federal government projects within his constituency on Wednesday in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.


He said Sections 80 and 81 the Nigeria constitution,guarantees the lawmakers the Powers to alter the Budget Proposals?.


The lawmaker argued that budgets presented by the executive arm of government do not often reflect true federal character hence the need for ‘padding’?.


”If you look at the Nigeria Constitution, what Honourable AbdulMuminin Jibrin refer to as padding is tantamount to what the constitution defines as the function of a member of House of Representative because the constitution guarantees the three major function of making law, appropriation, and over sight.


“In appropriation it is either for us to add, subtract or change and what Hon Jibrin has been trying to say is that we are changing, inserting and adding, so if that is what he calls padding then that is what the constitution expects the house of representative to do.

“In my own opinion been an active member during the budget defence, I was involved in the budgeting system of up to six ministries, I participated in FERMA, NAVY, health institutions, governmental agencies and a whole lot of them. The entire budgeting system make it possible that if you are elected as a member of national assembly and you are not ready to do what Muminin Jibrin calls padding then you are a failure, because basically the budget that is been brought to the national assembly does not reflect the principle of federal character as guaranteed by the constitution,” he said


Olasupo said all projects and employments from the executive should be done in a way that it reflects all parts of Nigeria, adding that: ”but what do we get in the budget, you will see a disapprotionate distribution of projects and basically if you look at it reflects mostly on where the minister is coming from since it is the executive that brings in the budget.”


The lawmaker went further that: ”When the executive are bringing the budget they are not considering my constituency, so they will bring a budget to me and I am expected to approve it, and if it doesn’t have the interest of my constituency you want me to keep quite, no I won’t, what I will also do is to insert what will favour the people of my constituency which is what Jibrin calls padding.


“I am not saying somebody is wrong or right but I do not see what is bad in attracting projects to my constituency. For the first time in the history of this country a budget presented by the executive was reduced when a president personally presented the budget to the national assembly personally. It means that we are shifting away from impunity, and corruption that has characterised the government of the past.”


Olasupo noted that the legislature have only had an unhindered experience of 16 years when compared with the executive, appealing to Nigerians to be patient with the national assembly to get right all their lapses in no time.

NASS Alone Cannot Pad Budgets, Na’Abba Accuses Executive Arm

The former Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt Hon Ghali Na’Abba, has declared that there can be no padding of the national budget without the connivance of the executive arm of government.

Na’Abba made this revelation while fielding questions from journalists in Kaduna, yesterday.

He also noted that it was the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to make appropriations on the budget submitted to it by the executive.

“I expect that after 16 years of the return to democracy, Nigerians would understand the responsibilities of the National Assembly.

“For some weeks now, there has been controversy over what is called padding. As far as I am concerned, the National Assembly has the responsibility to pass the budget, approve it and allow the executive arm to execute it.

“To my understanding, where the issue being referred to as padding comes into play is a situation where some members go behind and add items of expenditure to what had already been agreed upon, for either stealing the funds or doing whatever they feel like doing with it.

“But this stealing of fund is not possible without the active connivance of some members of the executive arm,” he stated.

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250 HOR Members Want Dogara Removed.

The former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin claims 250 members of the Green Chambers have signed a petition calling for the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to resign.

This is despite the instruction from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Jibrin asking him to desist from commenting on the budget padding scandal.

The former chairman, while speaking on African Independent Televison (AIT), said the Reps have also demanded that the House be reconvened so the issue can be ironed out.

He also revealed that the Department of State Services (DSS) has beefed up security around him.

According to Jibrin, “I am not alone, I am with many members. Yesterday (Wednesday), a lot of them said they wanted to go to the secretariat with me, but I said no. I didn’t want us to make the thing to look like a movie.

“We have the transparency group and it did not just start now; so no one can say Jibrin initiated it. It was formed even before we went on holiday. Anyone that says we are lying must be a joker because there were about 200 signatures before we left for holiday.

“Now, they have increased to about 250. Another group has emerged aside the integrity group and these groups have come together and all they are asking Mr. Speaker to do is to reconvene the House immediately and step down, but the body language of Mr. Speaker and a few corrupt people around him is that the issue would have died down when we resume in September and Nigerians would have forgotten.

“You are corrupt and you are talking about September. What we are asking for is that Mr. Speaker should reconvene the House immediately and step down so that internal and external investigations can go on concurrently.”

Meanwhile, The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that Dogara is innocent until proven guilty.

Budget Padding Scandal: Police Invite Dogara, Others.

Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has raised a five-man special team to probe the alleged padding of the budget by House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some of his principal officers.


The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Amodu Ali-led Special Investigative Panel (SIP) has invited Dogara, his deputy Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor to appear before it on Friday.


The panel Tuesday had what was called “a preliminary session” with ousted House Committee on Appropriations chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin, who accused Dogara and others of padding the budget with N284 billion.


Last Monday, Jibrin petitioned the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies over the matter.


Jibrin was said to have “furnished the SIP with vital information and a heap of documents” at their meeting yesterday.


A highly-placed police source, who spoke in confidence, said Ibrahim has directed the SIP to conduct a “comprehensive investigation into Jibrin’s petition.”


We have commenced full investigation into the N284billion budget padding in the House of Representatives based on a petition from Hon. Jibrin.


A Special Investigative Panel (SIP), with a crack detective, AIG Amodu Ali as the chairman, is the one saddled with the responsibility of looking into the allegations in the petition.


The same Ali uncovered the lid on the $620,000 bribery scam in the House for which a former Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mallam Farouk Lawan, and the Clerk of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo were indicted. The case is in court.


You will recall that Ali was deeply involved in the investigation of the $180million Halliburton scam. So, the SIP is led by an officer who is tested.


Asked of the preliminary work done by the SIP, the source added: “As I am talking to you (4pm yesterday), a letter of invitation has been addressed and sent to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip and the Minority Leader.


“They will be interrogated by the SIP on Friday. As a prelude to the invitation of the principal officers, the SIP chairman and members had a session with Jibrin on Tuesday.


“It was not a grilling session. But Jibrin furnished the team with vital information and a heap of documents to back up the petition he submitted on Monday.


We are going into the merit or otherwise of the petition on Friday by inviting Dogara and three others. It is going to be a gradual thing but we will crack the padding controversy.


Jibrin confirmed on Tuesday that security has been beefed up around him by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the police.


He also asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to prevail on Dogara to reconvene the House and step aside to face prosecution for alleged budget padding.


Jibrin, in a message on his Twitter handle, said: “My attention has been drawn to media reports that I have been summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee of our great party.


That I received a letter yesterday evening (Monday) inviting me to a meeting in respect of the crisis in the House on Tuesday (yesterday) by 2pm at the party’s office.”


“The letter did not in any way indicate it as a disciplinary committee. And I have responded that I will attend the meeting despite my tight schedules shuttling between security and anti-corruption agencies to provide support and evidence against Speaker Dogara and nine others.”


I am confident that the party will do the right thing by throwing its weight to support our resolve to wipe out corruption in the House and direct Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Ogor to reconvene the House immediately and step down to face imminent prosecution and save the party and our dear country from further embarrassment.

Budget Padding: Why I Revealed The Secret Late – Jibrin

Erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, yesterday admitted that his revelations over the alleged padding of the 2016 budget were late.


Jibrin explained that he could not expose the budget padding in good time, as it was difficult for him to stand against the institutionalised corruption in the House of Representatives.


He also said that allegation of corruption levied against the National Assembly by former president Olusegun Obasanjo could not be totally.


Jibrin, while speaking on the controversial insertions into the 2016 budget, on a Channels Television weekly programme, ‘Sunday Politics’ said although this revelations were coming late late, but as the chairman of the committee, he was made to believe that certain information were not to be disclosed.


“I fought the battle of my life, I didn’t help myself, I started speaking late,” he said.


He added that; “I am a product of the establishment, and now my mentors will now realize that I have gone out of the cycle. I am so glad that I am breaking away from the cycle.”


He however explained that the insertions did not affect the size of the budget, noting that the harmonisations committee chaired by the deputy speaker Yusuf Lasun took advantage of the committee to insert more items for personal aggrandizement.


Abdulmumini stated further that just 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees posted 200 projects which amounted to N284 billion were inserted into the budget.


“After collecting the reports of the various committees, we did the statistics and shockingly, I discovered that just about 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees of the House posted about 2000 projects, totaling about N284 billion,” he stated.


Although, he admitted that the insertions were constitutional that the insertions into the budget by the principal officers of the House were constitutional, and it is a usual practice in the national assembly, he maintained that the insertions were outrageous and above the limit.

“There is that unanimity in the national assembly, we all do not agree with the word padding, of course as I have explained that there are so many insertions from the angle of the National Assembly, even though the law allows it, internally, I raised an observation, of course, I discussed the matter with the speaker, that personally I believe that the insertions were too much. And it is also very important that the constitution gave us the power to appropriate, but the intention is what I question, those were the issues I fought until eventually I left,” he said.


He stated further that; There have been insertions in past budgets; I saw the insertions in budgets of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The only difference is that in 2016, the insertions went completely above the board.”


Abdulmumini maintained that there is Institutionalised corruption in the House, but members are quick to deny the fact.


“There is institutionalised corruption in the House, but we keep living in denial, it is my fifth year in the National Assembly, I have never been involved in corruption, I have never shared money.”


According to Abdulmumini, the size and quantity of insertions would always cause a rift between the executive and legislative arm of government. If the insertion into the budget is done from the executive arm of government, members of the national assembly refer to such insertion as padding, and when it is done by the National Assembly members, the executive arm of government also refer to it as padding.


When pointedly asked to explain the role of ministries, departments and agencies in the conspiracy, Jibrin said; “I don’t want to involve the executive arm of government in this, because the matter is already controversial, of course a lot transpired between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Budget office on one hand and the Ministry of Budget and the Budget Office on the other hand.”


He noted that his mission was to force a revolution in the House of Representatives and a lot of issues ranging from corruption and conduct of members will be raised.

We Will Not Intervene In The Budget Padding Scandal – APC Governors

The governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have said they would not intervene in the current budget-padding scandal rocking the House of Representatives.


The governors had last week met President Muhammadu Buhari and obtained permission from the president to mediate in the crisis.


Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State stated this during a chat with journalists in Abuja.


“I assure you that we are not going to delve into cases that are before the courts or tribunal. We are not going to delve into the current issue of the moment. We are only going to touch on the political issues pertaining to the National Assembly.


“What is before the court, those of us who are lawyers, know that it is subjudice and the current issue is just coming up and it is not politics.


“As far as I am concerned, if any proof is found to any of the allegations, these are criminal offences. So, there is no way any committee of governors can delve into that, I assure you,” he stated.

Behind The Trouble Maker: Meet The Other Abdulmumin Jibrin

Since his decision to resign as Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin has been in the media limelight for his crusade against what he calls institutionalized corruption in the House. At 39, he is one of the youngest lawmakers in Nigeria country. But who exactly is Abdulmumin Jibrin?
Born on September 9th 1976, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin represents Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State in House or Representatives under the aegis of ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC). He was educated at the University of Abuja and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Jibrin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, obtained from the University of Abuja in 1999. He followed up with a Master of Science degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2003. He then returned to the University of Abuja to obtain PhD in International Relations in 2009.
In 2009 he attended London Business School, UK, where he obtained certificates in General Management and Global Economy Crisis. He then proceeded to the prestigious Harvard Business School, USA, for certificates in Negotiation, Competitive Decision and Deal Process, and Comprehensive Leadership Development. Between 2012 and 2014, he got an MBA from the Swiss Business School Zurich, Switzerland. He also has certificates in Telecommunications Strategy and Marketing European Institute of Business Administration INSEAD, France and also attended the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Oxford University, UK.
Jibrin started work and business in the media and construction industry at 19 before establishing his own company Green Forest Investment Limited. He later became Chairman/CEO of Green Forest Group with subsidiaries in investments, construction & engineering, property development, petroleum and gas and agriculture. Between 2010 and 2011 he was Chairman (Nigeria) of Turkish construction giant, TASYAPI, as well as Chairman of the Abuja branch of Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce.
In 2011, he resigned as Chairman of Green Forest Group Limited to join politics. The same year he contested and won election into the House of Representatives under the PDP. In his first stint in the House he was Chairman of Committee on Finance. He was also head of a joint ad-hoc committee on Finance, Petroleum Upstream, Petroleum Downstream and Gas Resources. In 2015 he was re-elected into the House of Representatives under the APC and served as Chairman of Appropriation Committee until his resignation.
Jibrin has a passion for teaching and has lectured as several universities mostly pro bono, including the Nasarawa State University where he taught International Relations. He has written several books and papers including the celebrated book on Obasanjo’s foreign policy.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin is a fellow of several professional bodies and has won several awards both home and abroad. He was the third Nigerian recipient of the French International Visitors Leadership Program since 1989. Jibrin was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow in 2010 for his philanthropy work and sits on the board of and supports several charity organizations.

Bomb Shell: Dogara Gave Appropriation Committee Members $20,000 Bribe Each To Lie At Press Conference – Jibrin

All the accusations they leveled against me are not in any way different from the bunch of lies contained in the shameless statement released by Speaker Dogara and the 3 other principal officers through Hon Namdas which I have fully provided response to. But to prove my innocence, I have resolved that I will respond to any accusation or allegation leveled against me, unlike the corrupt Speaker Dogara, who rather than respond to the 25 allegations I leveled against him and others, has resorted to use legal gimmicks to stall the allegations. Mr Speaker, you cannot sweep such hefty allegations under the carpet. You think Nigerians are not watching?
First, only 9 out of the 40 appropriation committee members agreed to participate in such a dishonorable press conference after shamelessly collecting $20,000 each distributed to them two days ago at the Speaker’s residence by his Deputy Chief of staff Hon CID Maduabum. My same Deputy Hon Chris Azubogu (you will remember his history with Hon Hembe in the 7th Assembly) who was used to organize the press conference was clearly on camera almost crying at the press conference where I announced my resignation. It took a couple of minutes before I could calm him down, get him seated for me to commence the event. See attached documents showing his greedy demands for insertions 111 projects into the budget which I turned down. You can imagine the pressure I went through. The 9 of them are a disgrace to their constituents.
On the lies that I never conferred with committee members or excluded them, here is the fact. The members of appropriation committee were fully carried along except those periods that the Quartet of Speaker Dogara and others took away the entire secretariat from me. When the appropriation bill passes second reading and is referred to the appropriation committee, a meeting with standing committee chairmen, their deputies and principal officers is usually held to discuss the guidelines for the committee work. We held that meeting on Wednesday January 27th 2016 With Mr Speaker in attendance. (see attached for document showing agenda of meeting and guide lines provided to standing committees).
The 40 members of the appropriation committee are grouped into sub-committees and allocated a number of standing committees to supervise. Their role is so important such that they must first agree with the report of the various standing committees they supervised before the report of such committees are considered, deliberated and adopted by the appropriation committee. The implication of that process is that every member participated and endorsed the reports. God so kind, the entire session was recorded publicly. I will release the videos so that my Hon colleagues and the general public will see videos of appropriation members in action. And the 9 members of the appropriation committee with short memory will be reminded.
No report of a standing committee of the house was received without the approval of members of appropriation committee. See attached for document showing full list of members of appropriation committee, distribution into sub committees, secretary of each subcommittee, contacts and meeting rooms. Interestingly, the distribution and allocations was done by this same Deputy chairman of mine! Where is his honour?
Again they tried to drag the entire house and body of principal officers into this matter. I have stated categorically clear several times that my allegations are not against the House as an institution or the entire body of principal officers but specifically on Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members.
It is also a blatant lie that I disappeared. I was always at home since we were on a short break. Even more shocking is the fact that my Deputy Hon Chris Azubogu who was regularly at my home during that period can go on national TV for a price of $20,000 to tell such shameful lies. Well, CCTV don’t tell lies. The period that my colleagues didn’t see me was the two occasions that Speaker Dogara and the others took away my secretariat. At least, now you know that your budget was with Mr Speaker not me.
On the issue of pressure by members against me, I have explained that countless times. Who can blame them when they do not have the facts of the matter. All they know and hear is Hon Jibrin. This is in addition to a well-orchestrated blackmail by Speaker Dogara and his cohorts to spread false hood and effectively block me from briefing members. The conspiracy of silence by the few committee chairmen who are culprits didn’t help my case. Well, now the whole members are getting to know what transpired.
The contradictions in all your statements are too much. Here you are talking about sack. What do we believe after the Speaker first admitted that I resigned? Again, on one hand you say Hon Jibrin padded the budget, on the other hand you say nothing like padding in the entire budget. Which do you want us to believe? Yes we have complete powers of appropriation but the intention of the constitution is not to say you should exercise that power in a senseless manner, okay?
The mother of all contradiction, is when you said no breach was committed so there must not be any external probe but internal. So if there has been no breach what so ever in the budget process, why are you accusing me of committing so many offence in that regard? And what do you intend to probe internally?
My dear colleagues, you all know me very well and my bluntness and anti-corruption stance in the House. We will all die and meet our God. Feel free to play politics but remember posterity will judge.
I urge you all to join hands and do the Honourable thing by asking Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the 3 other principal officers to reconvene the House and step down with immediate effect to face prosecution. They have all lost the moral grounds to call themselves presiding and principal officers of the House. The more they cling on to power, the further the image of the House will be battered.
I wish to inform you that I have officially approached the EFFC and the ICPC to come in and decisively deal with this matter and other corruption cases in the House. Kindly note that the allegations must be externally investigated.
This is a defining moment for the House of Representatives. It will never be business as usual.
Thank you
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin PhD MBA
Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency
Kano (APC)

Budget Padding: EFCC, ICPC Must Investigate Allegations Against Dogara, Others – Jibrin

Former chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Appropriation, Honourable Jibrin on Friday insisted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) must probe the allegation of budget padding he levelled against the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers.


He said that, “This is a defining moment for the House of Representatives. It will never be business as usual”.


To this end, he urged members “to join hands and do the honourable thing by asking Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the three other principal officers to reconvene the House and step down with immediate effect to face prosecution.


According to him, “They have all lost the moral grounds to call themselves presiding and principal officers of the House. The more they cling on to power, the further the image of the House will be battered.”


The statement reads in part: “I wish to inform you that I have officially approached the EFFC and the ICPC to come in and decisively deal with this matter and other corruption cases in the House. Kindly note that the allegations must be externally investigated.


He also questioned the rationale behind his former deputy, Honourable Chris Azibogu and few others’ decosopm to address a press conference where they claimed there was no budget padding.


He wondered why “only 9 out of the 40 appropriation committee members agreed to participate in such a dishonorable press conference after  shamelessly collecting $20,000 each distributed to them yesterday at the Speaker’s residence by his Deputy Chief of staff, Hon CID Maduabum.


“My same Deputy Hon Chris Azubogu ( you will remember his history with Hon Hembe in the 7th Assembly) who was used to organize the press conference was clearly on camera almost crying at the press conference where I announced my resignation.”

Budget Padding: “Audit Constituency Projects Allocations” – Pro-Democracy Group

A pro-democracy body, the Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has called for an independent audit of all previous constituency project allocations to members of the National Assembly (NASS) to determine to make sure spending practices are held accountable to the Nigerian people. The statement was made in a press released signed by Auwal Musa Ibrahim, CISLAC’s Executive Director.


According to the statement, the recent revelations by the former Chairman of the Appropriations Committee for the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, amounts to a further proof of the waste that has characterized the federal legislature over the years.


“We note that such practices have been going on for a long time as the NASS has been known, in the past to, in addition to padding the budget at the point of defence, make dubious allocations for constituency projects as well as have demanded and received inducement for sectoral allocations,” CISLAC said.


CISLAC added that federal legislators are known to have received or demanded gratifications in exchange for ministerial confirmation and extorted money from Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) under the guise of oversight functions, stating that the current scandal endangers the integrity of the National Assembly.


“The reference to occupants as Honourable and Distinguished is gradually becoming a mere appellation that is stripped of the attendant respect,” CISLAC noted.


It expressed disappointment at the revelations and allegations made by Mr. Jibrin, describing them as an afterthought and provoked by the fact that he has lost out from benefiting from the process.


CISLAC noted that Mr. Jibrin strongly defended the House when the allegations of budget padding were first made. This, they added, places a big question mark on his credibility and loyalty to the Nigerian people.


The pro-democracy body said it finds the culture of constituency projects needless, arguing that it is at variance with the principle of separation of powers. CISLAC further argued that the practice of constituency projects is a channel for legislative corruption and distraction, which are avoidable by simply strengthening relevant institutions and systems for project implementation and service delivery.


CISLAC also requested the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to undertake further inquest into the allegations, with a view to getting to the root of the matter and punish culprits where necessary. It expressed doubts that the National Assembly can find the moral courage to investigate itself and sanction erring members.


To forestall a repeat of such financial scandals in the federal legislature, CISLAC recommended the introduction of a framework for constituency accountability for public participation and cooperation with the executive arm to establish a participatory budgetary process based on actual needs assessment and citizens’ input.


“We call on political parties to reorganize and commence a process for leadership recruitment and internal party democracy that will facilitate the emergence of persons with integrity, patriotism and a mind-set of service, who will be adequately prepared to occupy leadership positions and lead Nigeria to meet the aspirations of her people and occupy her place among the comity of nations,” the body said.


The body recalled that despite repeated promises and commitments by Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is the Chairman of the National Assembly, to disclose the details of the budget of the legislature, Nigerians are yet to have access to this information.


“We find it ironic that elected representatives are unwilling to make information on how funds appropriated from tax payers’ money are allocated and spent, are made available to the citizens who elected them into office.


“We note that these events are a product of failed recruitment process and flawed party processes that have resulted in the emergence of leaders who are unprepared to undertake the challenging art of governance in a diverse environment,” it submitted.


CISLAC lamented that fraudulent occurrences in the budget processes have been made possible by the country’s abandonment of the practice of developing viable plans to underpin the budget process and the zero-budget approach. It also blamed the situation on the ineffectiveness of the Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF) process envisaged under the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. This, it noted, has created avenues for corrupt practices.


“We call on the National Assembly to take advantage of this latest revelation to undertake self-introspection and urgently rise up to cleanse itself and make efforts to redeem its image and reputation which is presently in its lowest ebb.


“We also call on them to revisit the issue of having members adhere to the Code of Conduct for members as a means of self-regulation of behaviour within their ranks,” CISLAC concluded.

“Dogara Tried Breaking Into My Office To Discard Evidence” – Jibrin

A former chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Thursday said unnamed individuals acting on the orders of Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, had moved computers used by officials of the committee.


Mr. Jibrin has accused the speaker of budget fraud, an allegation Mr. Dogara denies.


In a statement Thursday, Mr. Jibrin said there was also an attempt to burgle his office, saying all the systems were shut down.


“Speaker Dogara has ordered that all the computers in the appropriation secretariat be shut down and moved to his office as if that is the answer to the allegations I raised,” he said. “The secretariat staff are being harassed to keep quite and suppress facts. There has also been an attempt to break into my office at the House.”


Mr. Jibrin said Mr. Dogara’s action was calculated at manipulating documents crucial to the unfolding budget padding scandal involving him, the speaker, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.


He said the plan would not work because he was in possession of “enough evidence” already.”


“I know he wants to tamper with documents critical to his and the three others future investigation and prosecution but unfortunately for him we already have enough evidence in our possession,” he said.


He urged Mr. Dogara to allow an independent investigations into the allegations.

Budget Padding: 100 Reps Want Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, And Leo Ogor Prosecuted.

Members of the House of Representatives, under aegis of Transparency Group, yesterday, told the anti-graft agencies to wade into alleged padding of the 2016 budget by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, and ensure credible investigation.


The group also claimed that it had collected signatures from about 100 members of the House, cutting across the six geopolitical zones of the country and from different political parties, dissociating themselves from the media briefing by the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, saying the allegations had nothing to do with the entire House.

Obasanjo Should Apologise For Calling Us Thieves, Rogues – Senate

Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, has lashed out at former President, Olusegun Obasanjo for saying the National Assembly was made up of “armed robbers and rogues.”


Obasanjo while addressing State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the padding scandal rocking the National Assembly confirmed his earlier notion about the current federal lawmakers he described as thieves and rogues.


Urhoghide, in his reaction said the lawmakers deserved an unreserved apology from the former President.


According to the senator, “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.”

NASS Should Expect 2017 Budget By October, Says Udo-Udoma

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo-Udoma said the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework would be ready and submitted to the National Assembly for consideration by October

Udo-Udoma said this in Abuja on Monday at a Stakeholders Consultative Forum with Civil Society Groups and organised private sector on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

He also said the Federal Government had expended N2.1 trillion out of the N6.06 trillion approved budget for 2016 while only N253 billion of the N1.8 trillion earmarked capital projects had been spent so far.

“Demand and supply factors are expected to keep crude oil prices low in the medium term compared to the period prior to mid 2014.

“We are considering a conservative oil price benchmark of 42.5 dollar per barrel for 2017, 45 dollar per barrel in 2018 and 50 dollar per barrel in 2019.

“We estimate oil production to be 2.2 million barrel per day for 2017; 2.3 million barrel per day in 2018 and 2.4 million barrel per day for 2019.

“We have pegged exchange rate for 2017, 2018 and 2019 at N290 to a dollar,” he said.


Even though he did not give the projected total expenditure for the government, he talked about the revenue projection for the 2017-2019 MTEF.

“A significant increase in non-oil revenue receipts is projected due to a gradually recovering domestic economy and government’s expected improvement in FIRS tax collection efforts.

“Company Income Tax is projected to increase from N1.79 trillion in 2016 to over N1.86 trillion in 2017 and beyond.

“VAT collections to increase by about 42.4 per cent 2017. Operating surpluses projection have been moderated downwards for 2017 and thereafter a modest growth.

“Customs collections are projected to moderated downwards for 2017 and thereafter a modest growth,” he said.

Udo-Udoma said that recoveries of misappropriated and looted funds would also form part of their anticipated revenue for the years to come.


Meanwhile, The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyepere, said government should learn and build on the mistakes of the 2016 budget.

“We should draw lessons from the mistakes of the last budget. We have all seen that the revenue projections for 2016 were over optimistic.

“This is why we are finding it difficult to get money to fund the budget especially the capital expenditure.

“In 2017 onwards, we should be more empirical in our revenue forecast. Let it be more realistic so that there won’t be a deviation of more than minus or plus five percent.

“This is because if we have more money, we can do supplementary budgets rather than have an overly optimistic revenue projections and at the end of the day we are not able to fund our budget,” he said.


Also, the Governance Programme Manager, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr Obo Effanga, reminded the government of the limited time it had to fulfill its promises.

“This administration is a four-year period and one year has gone already and even the government had admitted that the last year will be given to politics, so effectively they have just two years left.

“And we are preparing the budget for one of the two years remaining so if we don’t make sure that this works very well, it means that we can only look up to 2018,” he said.


Effang commended the Federal Government for its decision to actively involve the civil society in the process leading to the preparation of the budget.

He said it was the first time in many years.

Kogi Sues National Assembly, AGF Over Assembly Takeover

The Kogi State Government has sued the National Assembly and the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court, asking for an order nullifying the House of Representatives resolution to take over the legislative functions of the state’s House of Assembly.

The House of Representatives had, on March 9, 2016, passed a resolution to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

The House passed the resolution following the crisis that broke out as a result of the tussle for the speakership of the House between two factions of the Assembly.

In the said resolution, the Reps directed the Inspector-General of Police to seal off the House of Assembly until the crisis was resolved.

But the Kogi State Government, represented by the state’s Attorney General and the House of Assembly, filed its suit on April 29, 2016, before the Supreme Court to challenge the House of Representatives resolution.

The National Assembly and the AGF are the two defendants in the suit.

The plaintiffs in the suit number SC.340/2016, filed under Order 3 Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, asked the apex court to declare that the House resolution was passed in breach of Section 11(4) of the Constitution.

They also urged the apex court to nullify the resolution.

They contended in their statement of claim that “the factional disagreement” between members of the House of Assembly was normal in a democracy.

According to them, the crisis started on February 16, 2016, following a disagreement between two factions in the House of Assembly on the position of the Speaker of the Assembly.

They claimed that following the disagreement, a faction of the members of the House of Assembly filed the suit, FHC/LKJ/CS/16/16 (Kogi State House of Assembly & 3 Ors V National Assembly& 2 Ors.

They said while the suit was pending, the House of Representatives invoked its power under Section 11(4) of the Constitution to take over the functions of the House of Assembly.

The plaintiffs said the House of Representatives declared the impeachment proceedings embarked upon by five members of the House of Assembly for the removal of the Speaker, as clearly violating Section 92(c) of the Constitution.

But the plaintiffs claimed that the said “disagreement” between the factions in the House of Assembly did not create any “adverse security situation” in the state.

Their statement of claim, accompanying the suit, added, “There is no security report by the Governor of Kogi State, the police or any security agency in Nigeria that the disagreement among members of the Kogi State House of Assembly caused insecurity and danger to public safety in the state.

“At all times material to the passage of the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the Kogi State House of Assembly, Kogi State was and is calm and peaceful as citizens go about their lawful business.”

The plaintiffs therefore sought the following two prayers, “A declaration that the resolution of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, which purportedly took over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly, is passed in breach of Section 11(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”


NASS To Host Roundtable Session On Economy

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, disclosed yesterday that the National Assembly would host a round table session on the economy today.


According to Saraki, the inaugural National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, NASSBER, would hold in Abuja with key stakeholders drawn from the executive, legislature and the private sector to seek workable solutions to the nation’s economic problems.


Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the session would deliberate on the recommendations of the Business Environment Legislation Review Report which was submitted by a team of experts on February 29.


He said: “As part of the activities leading up to the inaugural NASSBER, a Business Environment Legislative Review was conducted and the final peer-reviewed report was submitted to the National Assembly on February 29, 2016; which identified institutional, regulatory and legal instruments currently constraining and impeding business activity in Nigeria.” The findings and recommendations of the Business Environment Legislative Review Report, according to him, “provides a framework for the assessment and improvement of legislation and policy affecting businesses in Nigeria and will direct the deliberations at the first NASSBER event.” “The discussions will cover competition; doing business; infrastructure (Public-Private Partnerships, Rail, Maritime and Roads); finance and investment; intellectual property and e-business; and taxation, among others.’’


Saraki, who further explained that the aim of the NASSBER would be to ensure that the private sector played an active and effective role in the formulation of public policy, said: “The National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable is a platform designed to ensure that through research and advocacy, the private sector, legislature and executive engage to promote relevant and sound public policy.


“The National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable hopes to achieve a number of specific objectives, including: Legislative reform as it pertains to improving the business environment in Nigeria; Strengthening the foundation of the Nigerian Economy by ensuring smart and effective regulation. “Increasing competitiveness and private sector investment; Opening and expanding markets through infrastructure development; and, Creating Engagement, Advocacy and Consultation across key stakeholders.”


He said the roundtable would play host to top government and business leaders, adding that the keynote addresses would be presented by him and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.


He added that the roundtable event would be the first in a series of similar events aimed at driving forward the reforms in the national economy. “The National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) is the platform that will lead to the engagement of the private sector, legislature and executive to promote relevant and sound public policy.


‘’Through research, the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable would convene to advocate and promote policies that strengthen the Nigerian economy and guarantee private sector investment,” the senate president said.


Credit : Vanguard

Ekiti Lawmakers Storm Abuja, Want Arrested Members Released

Members of the Ekiti state House of Assembly yesterday stormed Abuja the federal capital territory and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Department of State Services (DSS) to release four of their members detained by the service since last Friday.


The DSS operatives had reportedly invaded the state House of Assembly complex in Ado Ekiti and whisked away the four members to Abuja and said to be acting on the order from above.


Briefing newsmen at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the Chairman, Ekiti House Committee on Information, Honourable Gboyega Aribisogan, said the call for the president to direct the release of the detained legislators has become imperative because the DSS would not embark on such action without presidential approval.


According to him, “Like we have maintained plotters of evil against the government of Ayodele Fayose and by extension the people of Ekiti State will not get our support.


Credit: Vanguard

Kogi Assembly To File Contempt Charges Against NASS

The Kogi House of Assembly on Thursday in Lokoja resolved to file contempt charges against the leadership of the House of Representatives for disobeying a subsisting court injunction.


The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by the Majority Leader, Friday Sani (PDP-Igalamela-Odolu) at plenary.


Sani said that he agreed with the position of the House of Representatives on the provision of Section 11(4) of the Constitution.
The section empowers the National Assembly to make laws for a state when the state House of Assembly is unable to perform its functions.


He, however, contended that the House of Representatives was hasty in its decision to seal up and take over the functions of the Assembly without considering sub-section 5 of the section.

The Section 11(5) according to him, states: “For the purpose of Section 4 of this section, a House of Assembly shall not be deemed to be unable to perform its function so long as the House of Assembly can hold meeting and transact the Assembly business.”

The legislators held that the House had been performing its functions, having sat on Dec. 16 and 29, 2015 as well as March 2 and 11.

“It may interest this House to note that State Assembly does not fall into the category of either Section 11(1), (2), (3) and (4) as anticipated by the House of Representatives.

“This is in addition to the matter filed by the leadership of this House at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, which the hearing notice was granted by the court dated March 1st, to April 6th”, he said.

Adoke Bello (PDP-Adavi) seconded the motion which was supported by all the members at plenary.

In his contribution, Bello Hassan (APC-Ajaokuta) said the action of the National Assembly to seal up and take over the state assembly was “ill-motivated, bias and unconstitutional.”

The new speaker, Umar Imam (APC-Lokoja 1), in his contribution called on the Senate to discountenance the concurrence being sought by the House of Representatives and direct the re-examination of the prevailing situation.



NASS To Pass 2016 Appropriation Bill On March 17 – Jibrin

The House of Representatives says the National Assembly will on March 17, pass the 2016 Appropriation Bill totalling N6.08 trillion.


The House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Abdulmumini Jibrin, told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that the Appropriation Committees of both the chambers of the National Assembly had received the reports of budget defences of ministries, departments, and agencies from all the standing committees.


According to him, the Senate and the House of Representatives will harmonise the positions after going through their checklists to ensure that all the reports were in line with the guidelines provided by both the arms.


“We can confirm to you that all things being equal we should be able to lay our report of 2016 Appropriation Bill before the House and the Senate before the 16th of March 2016.

“And of course the consideration should be done on 17th of March 2017.

“So it is safe for us to conclude that the 2016 Appropriation Bill will be passed on the 17th of
March 2016.’’


He said that the committee would meet with the ministers of finance, budget and national planning, the central bank governor, the accountant-general of the federation and the director-general of the budget office “to start the process of ironing out whatever grey areas that are still left behind in order for us to get the job done’’.




2016 Budget Passage Not Possible In February– NASS

The National Assembly says its proposed date of February 25 for the passage of the 2016 budget is not feasible.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje and Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin said the February 25 target for the passage of the 2016 budget is no longer realistic.

The two lawmakers said that the National Assembly observed during the ongoing budget defence that government ministries have padded their budgets and because of this, lawmakers require more time to thoroughly work on the budget.

In the last two weeks, government ministries, departments and agencies have been visiting the National Assembly to defend their 2016 budget proposals.

But one common trend in almost all the budget defence sessions is that the agencies are complaining of insufficient funds appropriated to them and are asking for more money.

Credit: ChannelsTv

NASS Plans Petroleum Industry Bill – Dogara

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, says National Assembly (NASS) is working on its own version of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to reform the nation’s oil and gas sector.


The speaker announced this when he received the former Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr Fredrick Reinfieldt in Abuja on Monday.

Dogara explained that the decision of NASS to draw up its own bill was reached because of the urgent need to reform the oil and gas sector.


He said the House was willing to cooperate with the executive arm of government in bringing about the necessary reform in the oil and gas industry.


Dogara expressed optimism that the planned version of the bill, when passed and assented to, would reform the oil sector and amend necessary laws guiding its operations.


The speaker added that if the executive comes up with its own version in the process of considering the bill, “there are enough instruments within NASS to merge the two.


‘’We hope to introduce it in both chambers of the National Assembly, if it happens that the executive transmits its own version, we have provision in House rules to merge the two’’, he said.


He said the need for oil and gas reform Bill became pertinent with the challenges facing the sector and Nigeria’s dependence on revenue accruing from it to fund its budget.

“We have repeatedly called on the executive to present reform proposals in the petroleum sector. However, we may not continue to wait for an executive bill on this subject matter as we are prepared to introduce the National Assembly’s version.

“We cannot continue to take the blame for non-passage of the petroleum reform legislation in Nigeria, as I speak to you, work on our own version has reached advanced stage.


Dogara said the House would partner with Exractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) first quarter of 2016, to consider and debate the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit report.


He, therefore, directed the committees on Petroleum (Upstream) and Rules and Business to introduce and reschedule report for debate before the end of the first quarter.


Earlier, Reinfieldt commended Nigeria for being one of the first African nations to key into EITI.


He stressed the need for transparency and prudent use of natural resources and the country’s early acceptance of Transparency Initiative principles in its extractive industries and also backing it by law.


He urged other African countries to take a cue from Nigeria by establishing and empowering local chapters of EITI.


Mr Ogbonnaya Orji, Acting Executive Secretary, NEITI, who accompanied Reinfieldt, stressed the need to fight major challenges in the oil sector.


Reinfieldt is in-coming Chairman, the International Board of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.



Credit : NAN

Sen. Oluremi Tinubu Picks Holes In 2016 Budget

The senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu (APC) yesterday faulted the allocation to the Ministry of Women Affairs in the 2016 budget.


Contributing to the debate on the proposal, Mrs. Tinubu said the allocation of N4billion to the ministry has shown that the Nigerian women have been used and dumped by the APC.

According to her, the party would incur the wrath of women in the country, “if the allocations in the budget was not jerked up.


“The allocation to women in this budget is the least ever. Less than N4bn was allocated to women when Capital projects alone are N3billion. This is not going to go down well. I think the women have been used and dumped after elections,” she said.

Mrs Tinubu who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to look into the allocation to women during budget defence.


Also speaking, Senator Aliyu Wammako (APC, Sokoto North) said the budget was realistic noting that “The 2016 budget is not only budget of change but it is budget of hope.”



Credit : Daily Trust

PDP Urges NASS To Impeach Buhari Over Missing Budget Saga

The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday asked the National Assembly to commence impeachment process of President Muhammedu Buhari for allegedly breaching the constitutional by submitting two version of the 2006 budget.

The party said the National Assembly should thoroughly investigate the shameful act, including the distortion and bandying of figures to accommodate their personal interest and ensure that appropriate sanctions is meted to whoever has a hand in the dubious action that has brought embarrassment to the legislative body.

According to a statement by the acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, the opposition party arrived at this decision after rising from an meeting on Thursday.

The party also asked the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning to resign “having failed to provide the much needed capacity in the management of the nation’s economy resulting in the embarrassing crashing of the nation’s currency to as low as N305 to a dollar.”

Also the party asked the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to resign for “plunging the country’s currency policy into chaos an action that has thrown investors into total confusion.”

Credit: Leadership

Pres. Buhari Meets With Saraki At The State House

Amid reports that the hard and soft copy of the 2016 Budget has gone missing, President Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki met behind closed doors at the state house this afternoon. The meeting lasted for 30 minutes after which Saraki left the state house. Saraki refused to speak with state house correspondents after the meeting.

‘We Won’t Submit To Buhari’s Treasury Single Account’ – National Assembly

National Assembly yesterday said it would not be part of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) being implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce the level of corruption in governance.

President Buhari had during last Wednesday’s media chat, said he was having challenge with the National Assembly over the TSA.
“We are having problems with them (National Assembly) on TSA. We have to have a closed door session with them,” the president said during the media chat.

TSA was introduced by the federal government to reduce the level of corruption in governance.
Buhari shortly after assuming office directed all federal government agencies to key into the new system.

But both upper and lower chambers yesterday said they would not be part of the TSA, saying it amounted to, “surrendering of their autonomy to the executive.”
In an interview, the spokespersons of the senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said they were in total support of the TSA but that they would not be part of it.

“There is no any trouble on TSA, it is as an executive programme and we cannot surrender our autonomy to the executive. Submitting ourselves to the TSA, is surrendering our autonomy to the executive. We are on the first line charge as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Why should we give you our funds to put in the TSA and then we will be subjected to your own control, is that autonomy? That is just the issue; we’ve given our total support to the TSA programme. As far as we are concerned, we cannot subject ourselves to it because it amount to mortgaging our autonomy.

“Our autonomy is guaranteed by the constitution and how our money should be paid is also guaranteed by the constitution. Are we saying our autonomy should be jettisoned? Are we a revenue generating arm? Are we saying that the constitution should be jettisoned, because somebody wants to do TSA? Are we going to put the Constitution aside and follow somebody’s wish? What we are following is constitutional,” he said.
He said the senate would continue to follow due process in discharging their constitutional functions, saying “if you are following due process, you are promoting accountability and by so doing, you are promoting good governance.”

On the pledge by the Senate President Bukola Saraki to make the budget of the National Assembly public and transparent, he said, “when our budget is out, you will see the difference from previous ones.”
Also speaking, the spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas said TSA is an executive policy, and that National Assembly as an arm of government was yet to be part of it.

He said though TSA was a good way of ensuring transparency and accountability in handling public funds, they as an arm of government should be allowed to operate with some level of independence. He maintained that they were yet to decide whether to be part of TSA or not.
“You know every arm of government has its ways of operations. The issue of TSA is an executive matter, and in as much as we want to work together with the executive for good governance, we are not part of TSA for now,” he said.

Source: DailyTrust

Senators, Aides Shun Saraki’s Facebook Training

None of the 109 Senators attended an online  training organised on Monday by the office of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Punch is reporting.

The workshop was organised for the senators and their aides and it was aimed at strengthening their use of Facebook and Social media for effective communication on issues relating to Public Policy and Good Governance.

A Punch correspondent also observed that, less than 10 percent of the aides of the senators attended the event. Majority of those in attendance were from the senate president’s office.

Findings revealed that just 25 out of about 500 senators’ aides, actually turned up for the programme.

The Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Isa Galaudu, had in a statement issued on Thursday, said the training  was in line with the promise of the senate president to bring about,  a more representative legislature through the use of technology and e-parliamentary tools.

He had said that the training, would be conducted by the Head of Policy at Facebook Africa and members of her team. But alas, nobody attended.

No Amount Of Blackmail, Intimidation Will Stop TSA N25bn Probe – Saraki

Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, has said that no amount of intimidation will stop the assembly from investigating the alleged N25 billion Treasury Single Account (TSA) fraud.

Saraki was reacting to a motion moved by Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) on Tuesday over a newspaper article allegedly blackmailing the Senate for pointing out the alleged fraud.

He said the assembly would not relent in carrying out its constitutional duties, including pointing out any action that would be detrimental to Nigerians.

“No amount of either blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing the work we have to do.

“We have a responsibility here to ensure that there are no leakages in government funds and if there are, we will call the attention of the public and do whatever it takes to salvage the situation; it is our responsibility.

“The fact about the TSA will come out and everybody will have opportunity before the committee to state the fact, the facts will speak for themselves,” he said.

Saraki said the assembly would expedite action on the inauguration of Standing Committees to enable it to begin its oversight function fully.

Earlier, Melaye said his attention was drawn to the write-up accusing the Senate of working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to implement TSA.

He expressed concern that the writer could conceive such an idea in spite of the National Assembly’s resolve to work with Buhari in fighting corruption.

Melaye recalled that it was the assembly’s stand on the alleged TSA fraud that led SystemSpecs to refund the one per cent it collected from mopped up funds to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The writer said we are against the change agenda of Mr President because we raised the abnormality going on with the implementation of the TSA.

“We did not at any time in this Hallowed Chamber implicate President Muhammadu Buhari of being involved in TSA fraud.

“We will not stop carrying out our legislative duties for fear of being blackmailed.

“The motion moved last week had two prayers.

“The first thing we did was to thank Mr President and commend him for the implementation of the TSA and for anyone to say the Senate is fighting Mr President is myopic, parochial and unacceptable.

“I have a letter here that I am going to lay with this paper, written by the Director, Banking and Payment of CBN to the Managing Director of SystemSpecs.

“The CBN categorically stated that they should remit the one per cent that they collected.

“I also have a letter here by the managing director of that company to the Accountant General of the Federation and the Governor of CBN that have completely buttressed and elicited our decision last week.

“So for people to blackmail us as irresponsible, it is not acceptable to me and the Senate.

“Never would we allow blackmail and political and economic bigots to destroy the people. We are for the people and we will stand in defence of public interest,” he said.

The write-up and letters cited by Melaye were referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to be returned to Senate in one week.

The Senate had on November 11 raised alarm over alleged payment of N25 billion to one e-collection firm, REMITA, in one day as one per cent of monies transferred to TSA.

It also directed its Committee on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions and Public Accounts to carry out a holistic investigation into the matter and report back in two weeks.


Credit : PM News

NASS To Make Public 2016 Budget Breakdown

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Sunday said the National Assembly would make public the details of the 2016 budget breakdown.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the President of the Senate on Social Media, Mr Bamikole Omishore, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Saraki said that from 2016, Nigerians would not have to rely on the ‘’falsehood’’ they received from some online media.
He said that the development was in fulfilment of his inaugural promise and part of efforts to satisfy the curiosity of some Nigerians who had been clamouring that the budget should be made public.
“By the time we come into the 2016 budget, at the end of the year, it will be clearer because people just see one item line. But that is not going to happen now; you will see what goes to the Senate and what goes to the House of Representatives.

You are going to see what goes to the management, what goes to the Legislative Institute and we are going to make all these open and clear.

That is part of the openness we promised,’’ Saraki said in the statement.

He recalled that at his inauguration on June 9, he promised that there would be change from impunity and elite arrogance to a life of accountability and respect for every citizen.
He said that the National Assembly must, therefore, justify the privilege of representation conferred on it by the people.
“As the President of the 8th Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, I shall be guided by the enormity of the responsibilities that this moment imposes on all of us,’’ he said.
Saraki restated his commitment to being accessible to the citizens on the dealings of the senate, saying that he understood the expectations of Nigerians from him as president of the senate.



NASS Probes Uncover $15bn Oil Fraud

The National Assembly has conducted 18 legislative probes into sundry cases of crude theft, pipeline vandalisation, misappropriation, Joint Venture agreements, missing crude revenue in Nigeria’s corruption-tainted oil and gas sector from 1999-2014.

According to the outcomes of the selected major probes in the oil sector, about $15bn was lost to fraud while a whopping $6.8bn subsidy was unaccounted for. The period also witnessed the alleged missing N500bn SURE-P claims for oil subsidy for a period of time.

Also, about $16bn was unaccounted for in the power sector while about N2trillion was unremitted by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

This information is contained in a recently released study by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS). The study made public on October 20 contains a detailed report of 82 key probes and investigative public hearings undertaken by the National Assembly since inception.

Credit: Leadership

NLC Supports Buhari On Probe, Slams NASS On Jumbo Pay

The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said Mr. Buhari should note that he was elected based on his integrity and promise to clean the rot in the system, adding that he should not cave in to any pressure from anybody or group to stop the anti-corruption war.

“One person who will serve as good example for all Nigerians is the president and he must be ready to lay a good example.

“We are aware that some people are persuading him not to go ahead with the probe, but he should not allow any pressure from anybody. He should go ahead with it and even prosecute whoever is found guilty”, he said.

Wabba said organized labour was planning a rally in support of the probe.

“We are planning a rally and we will continue to support him if he continues to stand on the basis of the truth”, he said.

The NLC chief noted that June allocation was increased by about 13 per cent, pointing out that the increase would have ended in private pockets had President Buhari not taken some measures to block leakages in the system.

“This increase showed that there has been a leakage in the past. This 13 per cent would have ended in some individual pockets. This shows that President Buhari is ready to fight corruption and he if continues, it will help the economy”, Wabba said.

On the jumbo pay allocated to the National Assembly, Wabba expressed regrets that despite the promised by the lawmakers to reduced and re-address the allocation, they have rejected taking a pay cut.

He vowed that labour will engage the lawmakers over the issue just as he demanded explanation on how the National Assembly allegedly spent N600 billion in the last four years.

Read More: dailytimes

No Secrecy In NASS Budgets, Salaries – David Mark

Immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark, reiterated yesterday that the budgets and salaries of Senators and members of the House of Representatives were open, just as he stressed that there was no secrecy in the affairs of the National Assembly.

He said that the Senate was the first to cut its 2015 budget and asked Nigerians to appreciate what the lawmakers have been doing.

Former Senate President David Mark

He said: “I can put my hand on my chest without fear of contradiction to say we make a lot of sacrifices in our budgetary systems.”

According to Senator Mark, parliamentary practices and procedures dictate that all issues are carried out in the open, even as he described as sad and ridiculous, impression by people that the National Assembly budget had continued to increase annually, adding “this is not correct. It is unwarranted and needless accusation.”

Senator Mark boasted that in 2008, the National Assembly, under his leadership, returned N7 billion unspent funds to the national treasury during late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration, which would have been stolen by some.

Senator Mark maintained that such allegation was borne out of deliberate mischief, blackmail or outright ignorance.

According to him, “How can anyone claim that the National Assembly budget is secret. Or that our earnings are secret. The National Assembly’s budget is part and parcel of the Federal budget. It is not a separate document. If anybody is in doubt, he or she should get a copy of the National budget and clarify. It is a public document.

“Every time you hear people talk about National Assembly budget as if it is independent of the Federal budget. For heaven’s sake, the National Assembly budget is an open document. It is a public document. Unless you are saying you have never seen the National Budget.

“The National Assembly budget is in the open. Anybody can access it . We don’t fix our salaries. Appropriate federal government agency does. What we earn is open. I think we should put an end to this cheap blackmail.

“I make bold to say that the National Assembly under my leadership was bold, courageous, steadfast and truly patriotic. We stood on the side of the people, the truth, transparency and above all in the interest of the nation.

“We were the first to cut our budget in 2015. People should appreciate what we are doing. We tightened our belts more than any other ministry or parastatal today. I can put my hand on my chest without fear of contradiction to say we make a lot of sacrifices in our budgetary systems.

PDP Vows Not To Play Fair, If APC Holds Majority Leader Election

The fair thing would be for the Peoples Democratic Party to not interfere with the Majority Leader election of the All Progressives Congress.

That would be the fair thing, but politics is far from fair and it appears PDP is out to take more blood from a badly wounded APC.

The former ruling party’s caucus at the House of Representatives, has threatened to participate in the election of the Majority Leader of the House and other principal officers of the All Progressives Congress.

PDP insists that if APC fails to settle its crisis borne out of the sharing of principal offices in the House,- it would get involved.

The immediate past Deputy Majority Leader, Leo Ogor, is the bearer of this threat.

He revealed to Punch that all party caucuses would participate in the election, stressing that the leader had responsibilities beyond “just being a member of the majority party”.

Ogor said: “If they say they are going for election, all of us will participate. We are talking about the election of the House leader, not the election of the leader of a political party.

“Since the leader is not just for the APC but for the whole House, there is no way they can conduct the election on the floor of the House without our participation.”

Ogor also used the constitution of the House to defend his stance.

Rule 27(1) of the Standing Orders of the House says that the leader should be nominated from among the members of the majority party but all party caucuses would have to vote for such a leader to emerge in the case of an election, he argued.

Source –

Senate Minority Leader: I Have The Capacity To Lead PDP – Akpabio

Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said all senators in the National Assembly are equal.

He made the remark in response to speculations that he was interested in vying for the position of Minority Leader in the Senate.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had said certain criteria must be met in choosing principal officers elected on the party’s platform, who would lead its members in the Senate.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, who reeled out the criteria on behalf of members of the National Working Committee of the party, listed ranking, region and gender among such criteria.

Though the opposition party zoned the position of Senate Minority Leader to the South-South, where the former governor hails from, he is however, not qualified as the senate rules bar first timers from occupying leadership positions.

“We have directed them to note that in accordance with the practice and convention of our party. The nomination process should take into consideration ranking, gender and religious sensitivities”, Metuh had said,

Speaking after his meeting with members of the NWC in Abuja on Wednesday evening, Akpabio said it was not the question of whether he had interest in the Senate Minority Leadership position, but his capacity to do the job.

Akpabio said, “I came (to see the NWC members) in my usual consultation with the party on national issues.

“It is not a question of interest, it is a question of capacity. So if I have the capacity, my colleagues will decide.

“In the Senate, everybody is equal but some have been there for a long time like the ranking senators and all that. So, when you have the opportunity to be in the red chamber, you have equal rights to aspire to any position but you first have to be sure that your colleagues will be interested in you.

“If my name has been mentioned, probably by my colleagues, and I consult, and at the end of my consultations with stakeholders of our party across the nation, I will be able to make appropriate statement”.

On the lingering controversy over the election of a PDP Senator as Deputy Senate President in the All Progressives Congress-dominated Senate, Akpabio said Ike Ekweremadu was elected across party lines.

Senator Akpabio said: “I think it is very good for democracy because Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President was freely elected by senators.

“If you recall, he scored about 54 votes and the total number of PDP members in the Senate are about 49. Which means he was accepted across party lines. And it is also possible that some of the Senators of PDP did not vote for him and that we probably have more senators of the APC voting for him than the PDP.

“But the major thing is that he was voted for across party lines. That’s the way the senate wants it. They want an experienced person to work with the Senate President and they want a very stable Senate. They want a senate that will be productive, a Senate that will have serious continuity”.

Credit –

NASS: Tension In PDP Over Principal Officers

Indications emerged yesterday that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be heading for a deep crisis over the choice of its principal officers at the National Assembly.

The choice of who gets what in the Assembly among PDP lawmakers, it was gathered has pitched many party stalwarts against one another as they differ on who should get what in the National Assembly.

It was gathered that while former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, are in support of Senator George Sekibo who is from Rivers State for Minority Leadership position, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike were against that.

It was gathered that whereas both Ekweremadu and Wike are against the choice of Senator George Sekibo as Minority Leader as suggested by the former first family, the immediate-past governor of Akwa-Ibom State and now senator, Godswill Akpabio has indicated interest in the same position.

Read More: leadership

External Interferences Caused NASS Crisis – David Umaru

The Senator Representing Niger- East , David Umaru has said that the crisis rocking the National Assembly is due to undue external influence on the National Assembly.
The senator who spoke to Journalists in Minna yesterday, stated that the election of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and that of Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara is not negotiable at his party’s ( APC) National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for weekend.
Umaru stated that interference from outside the National Assembly has made it difficult for the legislature to freely elect leaders of their choice in conformity with laid down democratic principles.
“The existing laws are very clear; it is the senators or House of Representatives’ members that should elect who their leaders should be. There is a very good reason for this and that is because the lawmakers are the ones to work with their leaders. The issue of the election of Dr Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogora as Speaker is not negotiable” he posited.
He added that It cannot be negotiated outside the National Assembly, insisting that the election of principal officers of the National Assembly has come to stay and that it was not that of loyalty to the party.

It’s Too Late To Kick Saraki Out Of APC -Audu Ogbeh

Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who also played a key role in the merger of different opposition parties to form the All Progressives Congress has said he doesn’t have any regrets in regards to the current National Assembly crisis.

In a recent interview with Punch, Chief Ogbeh said,

“No, I have no regrets. It was a good thing to do. Without doing it, there was no way the opposition would make any impact on the political scene. In spite of the obvious embarrassment we are facing, it was a good thing to do. We will get over this.”

Asked should the APC hierarchy expel Senate President Bukola Saraki and co if they fail to toe party line, he said,

“It’s too late to do that. I think dialogue is the answer and I wish to God that that dialogue had taken place much earlier. Two, calling that meeting at 9:00am when voting (for leadership positions) was happening at 10:00am was a strategic error. I didn’t know who engineered it. It was a very tragic error. Three, I think a committee should have been set up long ago to get the process of reconciliation over with. The committee not involving the party leadership but elders from the party should meet both sides in the divide within the APC and sort the matter out because the longer it lasts, the more embarrassment we get, the more the public confidence in us shakes and the more difficulties we face in governance.”

Saraki Tells APC His Hands Were Tied Over Selection Of NASS Principal Officers

In a letter written to the All Progressives Congress, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said his hands were tied in regards to the selection of principal officers of the upper chamber.

In his letter dated June 25, he said…

“The said letter (Oyegun’s letter) was received after various APC zonal caucuses had taken their decisions to candidates as principal officers of the senate in line with parliamentary convention and the extant provisions of the senate standing orders 2015 as amended.”

“Furthermore, whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe party line and act in accordance with the suggested party position, regrettably clear provisions of our extant rules and standard parliamentary convention have not given me that leeway to act otherwise.

“Therefore, my hands are tied in the circumstances and I seek your understanding in this regard.”

However, he added that without equivocation he remained “loyal to our great party and its leadership and also fully committed to the change agenda of the Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It will be recalled that the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had on June 23, written to Saraki, stating the party’s choice of principal officers of the senate as the APC had nominated Ahmad Lawan as senate majority leader, George Akume as deputy majority leader, Olusola Adeyeye as chief whip, and Abu Ibrahim as deputy chief whip.

However, Saraki, on Thursday, announced Ali Ndume as majority leader, Bala Na’Allah as deputy majority leader and Francis Alimikhena as deputy chief whip after the various APC senate caucuses nominated them.

Meanwhile, the APC in Ondo State has said that the party is not to blame for the leadership crisis in the National Assembly. The party said Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, should be blamed for the division in the party.

“As principal officers representing APC in the National Assembly, they are expected to carry out the party’s directives in terms of who occupies the positions.

“Therefore, Nigerians should hold Saraki and Dogara responsible for the crisis rocking the National Assembly. They are working against the party that sponsored them by initiating an unholy alliance with the PDP to truncate the ‘change’ that the people expect,” it said in a statement.

Tweep Begs Nigerians To Stop Mentioning @NASS

Man with the twitter handle @Nass, has pleaded with  Nigerians to stop mentioning him through various reactions by Nigerians for an open National Assembly.

The trending @Nass is coincidentally the real twitter handle of one Nasser Al-Saadi, a Senior Executive at Al Jazeera Media Network. See tweets below:

This Is How Nigerians Can Fix Nigeria By Kofoworola Ayodeji

Na we dey do our sef! Could all of our problems simply go away if we decide to embrace love? Kofoworola Ayodeji goes to the past to find the map to the future.

About a year ago, I was talking with a few of my friends who, like me, were members of the Nigerian youth corps rounding off their one year service (NYSC). Our discussion centered exclusively on life after NYSC: labour market and the agony of unemployed youths; the ‘killing’ of potentials in young Nigerians as well as the total loss of National Pride among citizens. “My dad once told me that he enjoyed life to the fullest, with loads of scholarships, as an undergraduate and as a graduate. Getting a place to work was not an issue; the major concern was the best place to work because there were many employment opportunities at that time”, Danbaba, a plump dark-skinned Hausa man who sat across me, said. Because of his story, I decided to research what life might have been like for the Nigerian youth back in the 70s.
Here’s what I found: In the 1970s and early 80s, a student who scored excellent grades in examinations such as The West African Senior School Certificate Examination gained immediate admission into any of the best schools regardless of socioeconomic status; and students travelled overseas only for courses that were not readily available in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Educational institutions were ranked among the best in the world. During the same period, 0.6702 Nigerian Naira was equivalent to 1 US Dollar; the value of Nigeria’s currency was almost twice that of the United States. Nigeria was indeed the predominant African leader, the true Giant of Africa!
Today, things have gone terribly bad: Giving and taking of bribe, Examination malpractice, Corruption. Nigerians are no longer trusted overseas and little wonder we are made to undergo dehumanizing scrutiny before access to certain facilities/entry into many countries. An average Nigerian graduate is not deemed competent in many instances, both within and outside the country. As an advocate of change, I can only say so much about Nigeria’s failing systems but we must answer this: Between the years 1970 and 2000, what happened, what went wrong and how do we get back on track?
This is what I think went wrong. Our society deviated from LOVE allowing Selfishness and Indiscipline to take centre stage. In fact, any problem you see in Nigeria today is an offshoot of these two; Selfishness and Indiscipline. The “ME and MY FAMILY” Syndrome which affects every part of Nigeria today, developed because our parents and leaders were selfish; they had no plan for the future. Now we have a VALUE-less, VIRTUEless mainstream Society with the good people being minority.
The only way out is to reverse the status quo. How? We must replace all forms of Selfishness with Selflessness, Indiscipline with discipline and Hatred with Love and Passion. We must work to change Nigeria’s belief system, one person at a time, and one day at a time. According to the highly sought-after Nigerian Motivational Speaker,Fela Durotoye, “What you believe determines who you become and who you become determines how you behave”. Also,in the words of the legendary Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be thought to LOVE, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”
It’s our collective responsibility to rebuild Nigeria. You must first of all teach yourself how to love and how to be selfless, and then you teach your family and finally your community. Once this is done, we will begin to have leaders in every profession and sector. Then, we can elect Nigerians to various public offices based on good antecedents, competence and vision. Nothing moves until you move it so be the change you want to see in Nigeria!
In essence, all of our problems could simply go away if we decide to embrace love and take our destiny into our own hands. God bless our dear nation Nigeria!
Kofoworola Ayodeji is a Writer and Transformational Speaker who is passionately involved in nation building of the Nigerian state.

Get Enlightened and Inspired, visit everyday.
Follow me @Generalkopho

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

President Buhari And The Burden Of Expectations By Dahiru Mohammed Lawal

“Master the Art of Timing: Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.” The 48 Laws of Power, Law 35.
As far as the current Nigerian stay is concerned, President Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters and indeed his staunch opponents have an all time high expectations in this administration. While the former expects him to succeed in taking Nigerians out of the doldrums, the later expects him to fail woefully as they mark time, waiting to dance skelewu on a bottle of champagne over his failure. his ability to deliver dividends or otherwise is on the constant watch at every single tick of the clock.
Ironically, unlike former President Jonathan who was slaughtered by his opponents, it is already apparent that Buhari’s own supporters will be the ones to put him on a chopping board and chop him into devouring proportions should he succeed in living up to the opponents expectations. Armed with this fact, one cannot but ask, one week to a month into this administration, has Buhari begun work?
Seeing that the man is obviously hook line and sinker into first tackling security like he promised during the campaigns one might answer in the affirmative. However, the fact that there is not a single structure of government yet in place one is tempted to have a second think.
With Mr. Buhari’s promise to “hit the ground running” upon assumption of office, many Nigerians were looking to see Buhari tackle things east west north and south with a strong gravitational pull. In fact many thought Buhari will begin work right from eagle square. This expectations were spiced up by his order that the military relocates its command and control base to the epicenter of the Boko Haram scourge until the security situation is dealt with decisively. The cheers and applauds that followed to some extent wasn’t just about the pronouncement but about the fact that there is finally a commander in chief who would have a firm grip and control of burning national issues without shying away or wasting time over trivialities.
Three days into Buhari’s administration when passimists started bickering that he had twelve years to be able to know the people he wants to form the structures of his government, I thought what’s the hurry anyway, but three weeks into this administration, and no governing structure in place, no Secretary to the Government of the Federation yet, no Chief of Staff, no Advisers, no Ministers, I am beginning to partially align with the passimists apprehensions.
Even though I like to think the man is just applying the 35th of the 48 law of power, it is a reality that imposing structures are the ones that requires pillars the most to serve its usefulness. No matter how imposing Buhari’s ability to get things done well stands, he needs a pillar to keep it up. First things first, Buhari has had enough time to at least structure his government now. No time anymore. Unfortunately for Buhari, former President Jonathan did not only use up all of our treasury, he also used up all the spare time we have left. In fact I vividly recall a Nigerian saying that “We in fact voted Buhari because we no longer have time.”
Having come this far without governing structures yet in place, it is hard to tell if Buhari is just plainly confused or just mastering the art of timing.
Either way, it goes without a saying the President Buhari has left Nigerians second guessing his direction and pace. Tell you what, such is not good for democracy.
Somebody asked if President Buhari is rather waiting for a policy nod from rummaging first world countries? For what that question is worth, I must confess, it arose my curiosity. However, based on Buhari’s antecedents, one can easily dismiss that Buhari is a man that wouldn’t play ball, it is hard to dismiss Buhari’s open romance with these people before and after his inauguration as president as simply meetings without an underlying factor. Despite our appreciation of their offer for help, one can’t help but wonder what’s really in it for them, surely there’s no such thing as a free meal.
Permit me to buttress this point with a short story. Once there was a traveler who was hungry but had no money to eat, he came by a restaurant which indicates on it’s bill board, “free: come in and eat your grandfather has already paid for you.” He rushed in without a second think. After placing orders and eating to his satisfaction, he stood up to go but was approached by the waiter and asked to pay.”I thought meals were free and my grandfather has already paid for me.” The man argued and he was told, “yes meals are free and your grandfather has paid for you, but you in turn must pay for your grandchildren.”
Point is, I don’t know what Buhari’s is discussing with this “almighty” countries but there is most definitely a price.
Meanwhile Mr. President, I no you know we’ve got work to do so do well to stop bidding too much time, also do well to keep Nigerians up to speed every step of the way. While you have the goodwill of majority Nigerians, I will not expect this same Nigerians to underestimate the importance of firing up your butts, that will surely keep you on your toes.
Twitter @kaptinmdlawal

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

APC Forwards Names Of Candidates For Principal Positions In NASS To Senate President, House Speaker

Chairman of the APC Chief John Odigie-Oyegun yesterday forwarded names of the party’s chosen candidates to ocupy principal positions in the National Assembly to Saraki and Dogara. The names which was contained in a letter signed by Chief Odigie-Oyegun reads;

“Please find below for your necessary action names of principal officers approved by the party, after excessive consultations for the 8th Senate as follows: Senator Ahmed Lawan(Majority Leader)–North-East; Prof. Sola Adeyeye( Chief Whip)–South-West; Sen. George Akume (Deputy Majority Leader)—North-Central; and Sen. Abu Ibrahim(Deputy Chief Whip)—North-West.”

A similar letter written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives reads

“Please find below for your necessary action names of principal officers approved by the party after extensive consultations for the eighth House of Representatives as follows: Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (House Leader) South-West; Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa(Deputy House Leader)—North-West; Hon. M. T. Monguno(Chief Whip)—North-East; and Hon. Pally Iriase(Deputy Chief Whip)—South-South. This comes with the assurances of my highest regards.”

The party believes that aggrieved National Assembly members such as Senator Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila who were sidelined by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the June 9th National Assembly elections should be compensated with principal offices in the National Assembly.

Source: The Nation 

S/South Reps Caucus Rejects Gbajabiamila, Others As Principal Officers

The South-South caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday said it would resist an attempt to marginalise the region in the sharing of principal officers’ position, expected to be announced today.

The caucus, which is chaired by Hon. Pally Iriase (APC, Edo), therefore, urged the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to be fair and adhere to the principle of federal character in choosing principal officers to forestall any imposition.

Iriase had contested the position of the Speaker but later stepped down to support Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who has again being nominated by the APC to emerge as Majority Leader of the House.

In a statement on Tuesday, the caucus said: “We reject a proposal that purports to zone House leader to South West in addition to deputy speaker and chief whip to North East in addition to the position of the speaker already held”.

It further stated that a proposal purportedly emanating from the Loyalists Group (which campaigned for the party’s choice in the last election for Speaker) of the House of Representatives had been sent to the National Working Committee of the APC, wherein the South-South is said to be allotted the position of the Deputy Chief Whip.

“Our immediate reaction is to repudiate the fraudulent and insensitive proposal.

“We are members of the Loyalists Group, and to the best of our knowledge, no proposal for the zoning of principal officers was discussed and agreed to by any member of the South-South in the group.

“Unilateral and self-serving proposal by a few members cannot be said to have come from the group”, Iriase said in the statement.

Buhari, APC Governors Wade Into NASS Leadership Crisis

President Muhammadu Buhari and State governors under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have resolved to wade into the lingering leadership crisis rocking the National Assembly, particularly the Senate.

Accordingly, the APC governors at a meeting with the President in Aso Rock late Tuesday night agreed to call Senators to order and caution them to treating the decisions of the party with disdain.

At the meeting which started at about 11.00pm and ended in the early hours of Wednesday resolved that the federal lawmakers must be reoriented on the need to respect party supremacy on any matter.

Imo State Governor and chairman of the APC governors’ forum, Rochas Okorocha who spoke to journalists after the meeting noted that the governors raised concern about rancor in the National Assembly,me specially the red chamber.

Okorocha said their meeting with the President was more reassuring, as it became clear to them that there was light at the dark end of the tunnel.

He added that they commended the President on efforts he had taken so far in addressing the issue of the country’s economy which was already tottering towards an eclipse before Buhari hit the ground running.

The forum’s chairman said, “With all these achievements and progress we are making, we are worried by the pockets of disagreements going on at the National Assembly. We have resolved that we came from a party and our party’s views should be respected.

“So, we feel that there is the need for us to invite our senators and look more into the matter and see how we can all make peace. We believe that everyone should respect our party from which we all came from and for that reason, we have decided that we are going to invite our senators and rub minds with them.

“We are saying that there should not be a winner-takes-it-all; that we should carry everybody along and accommodate others as suggested by the party.”

Also shedding more light on the meeting, Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said the president and the governors specifically decided that all APC senators must as a matter of necessity learn to adopt the position of the party.

His words: “We were all elected on the platform of the party. We are not just a collection of individuals, we are a political party and when the party has spoken we must listen, otherwise if it was a game of individuals like golf then individuals can go their way.

“I think it is very clear at this point that the party has the responsibility to keep the system going, so we as progressive governors, we have listened to the President and we have discussed extensively and we are clear that the party’s position should be supported by the senators.

“This is the way it should be and we should start on a note of working closely. We as governors, we listen to the party, we expect our senators to also listen to the party. We are going to call them and tell them this is it and explain our reasons, it is about party supremacy.

16 APC governors attended the meeting.

Over 100 Unemployed Youths Show Up At The National Assembly In Search of Employment

People are fed up!

These are scenes from afternoon at the National Assembly hall complex, where people were waiting to lobby lawmakers for employment as aides, secretaries, assistants, or anything they can lay their hands on.

These people are obviously tired of the no work situation and trying to find work. Honestly hope, some good will come out of it.

APC In Fresh Crisis Over Election Of NASS Principal Officers

Fresh crisis is brewing within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party is now pitched against the leadership of the National Assembly(NASS) in its bid to impose principal officers on the latter. LEADERHIP yesterday reliably gathered that the party is on the path of imposing candidates on NASS for the remaining leadership positions in the two chambers, a move majority of APC lawmakers have vowed to resist.

It can be recalled that barely two weeks ago, some members of the party in the two chambers of the National Assembly defied the order of their party to vote for Senator Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the House of Representatives.

Read More: leadership

NASS Wardrobe Allowance Is 5m Not N8.64bn- RMAFC Boss

President of the Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki has cleared air on the N8.64billion bogus wardrobe allowance to lawmakers as reported in the media, saying the Commission is charged with fixing of remunerations to public office holders and advise the media to be more accurate in their reporting.

Senator Saraki said this when he received the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Engr. Elias Mbam and his team in Abuja that non compliance by agencies of government has brought major setback in the processes of governance.

Earlier, the RMAFC Boss, Mbam said the agency have always enjoyed cordial relationship with the National Assembly while calling for continued working partnership with the view to enhance their effectiveness.

Mbam condemned the recent media report that exaggerated the wardrobe allowances of Senators and members of the House of Representatives saying, that wardrobe allowance is 25 percent of the basic salary which when broken down amounts to N506, 600 per legislator, per annum.
He advised that the agency operates a functional website where information concerning the day-to-day activities of the agency is published.


Senator Dino Melaye Reacts To NASS Wardrobe Allowance

The Senator representing Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber, Dino Melaye, has said the N8.64 billion wardrobe allowance earmarked for legislators in the 8th assembly is not in tune with the current mood of the nation and should be reviewed or jettisoned.

State Governors have been unable to pay salaries and the Nigerian state screams austerity wherever you turn no thanks to a drop in the international price of oil–the country’s major revenue earner.

Melaye was speaking on an Africa Independent Television (AIT) program monitored in Lagos. He’s been anadvocate for a pay cut for lawmakers and reiterated that position on Tuesday.

“I stand solidly on what I earlier said about pay cut. There must be a pay cut to Senators and House of Representative members. You can’t be talking about change and this kind of money in this country now when people are hungry. We must be sacrificial. We must show Nigerians that we must sacrifice by allowing a pay cut.”


Senator Boroffice Denies NASS Members Will Be Receiving N8.64bn Wardrobe Allowance, Says It’s For Miscellaneous Expenses

A member of the National Assembly, Senator Ajayi Borrofice representing Ondo North has come out to deny reports that the National Assembly Members will be given N8.64bn as wardrobe allowance.

Speaking to ThisDay, Senator Borrofice said the controversial N8.64bn to be released to members of the National Assembly is for miscellaneous or regular expenses such as motor vehicle fueling and maintenance, wardrobe, domestic staff, personal assistant, constituency office, house maintenance, utilities and entertainment, among other perks, for the entire 469 lawmakers in the National Assembly.

Senator Borrifice said the miscellaneous allowance also includes cost of securing and equipping constituency offices in various local government areas which make up their constituencies and also includes monies to be used by lawmakers to organize town hall meetings in their various constituencies.

He said it was wrong for the public to believe they will be using N8.64 billion just for clothes.

According to him, the wardrobe allowance is the least significant to the assembly members. He stated that the miscellaneous allowance they will receive will be deducted in tranches from their salaries.

The report of the lawmakers collecting N8.64 billion as their wardrobe allowance surfaced yesterday June 16th with most Nigerians strongly condemning it.

How NASS Clerk, Saraki Snubbed Buhari – Presidency

Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Wednesday, disclosed that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa knew about the President’s meeting with All Progressives Congress lawmakers before the Senate was inaugurated.

Shehu during a programme on Channels Television said “President Buhari had planned to be there (at the meeting) to show support for the party but once the process had begun, the point had been lost. He said the reason the President did not honour the meeting with the lawmakers who were present at the International Conference Centre (ICC) as he requested was because the other lawmakers were already at the Senate chambers, conducting the election which made any pre-arranged meeting unnecessary.

“Senator Saraki directly or indirectly and the clerk of the National Assembly were reached directly or indirectly and they would have shown that respect to Mr. President, but the process went ahead. And that is it.

Acceptance Speech By RT. Hon Dogara Yakubu On Election As Speaker Of 8th National Assembly: We Shall Wage An Unrelenting Legislative War On Nigeria’s Problem

It is with a deep sense of honour, humility, and with gratitude to God that I take the chair as Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

2. I want to express my sincere appreciation to my colleagues, Honourable members of this House , for this confidence you have reposed in me and for this huge responsibility you have trust on me.

3. May I also express my thanks to our Party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, for providing us with the platform to come to the House. To my Constituents, the great people of Bogoro/ Dass/ Tafawa Balewa federal Constituency of Bauchi State, I thank you for sending me once again to the National Assembly. To our dear President, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, we say thank you for providing the leadership through which CHANGE came to Nigeria and for also providing the enabling environment that made this day possible. Of course, my wife and family have remained my greatest pillar of strength. To all our Campaign Staff and all those , too many to mention, who played a role one way or the other for this day to come, my sincere appreciation.

4. I must commend the transparent nature of this election as a tribute to the bureaucracy of the National Assembly led by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, and the Clerk House of Representatives , Alhaji M.A. SANI – OMOLORI and other National Assembly Officials and Staff. To all the past leaders of this legislative institution, we thank you for your continued support. To the media and all those who report or work in the National Assembly,we are most grateful for your support. This victory is for all Nigerians.

5.  I salute the doggedness and service of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who fought a good fight and who has served this House and the nation with distinction. Together we will heal the wounds and divisions of this contest. Together we shall work to deliver good legislation and good government to our people.

6. I wish to use this opportunity to formally welcome all of us both new and returning members to the 8th  National Assembly. Inauguration of the 8th House of Representatives should be a day of joy for members who toiled day and night and went through great difficulties to be elected. It is indeed a wonderful honour and privilege to be entrusted with so great a responsibility and opportunity by our constituents. You are one of the 360 Nigerians to be so honoured out of over 150 million people. To God be the glory.

7.  What has been demonstrated here today, is the resolve of Members of the House to assert the independence of the legislature as a co-equal arm of government. My dear colleagues, by electing me as Speaker you have demonstrated to the world that our legislature is living up to the dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers. You are leaving a legacy of an accountable, autonomous, focused, progressive and united House capable of playing its role as the stabilizing force in our polity. We have shown once again that this is a House of the Nigerian people.

8. After 16 years of unbroken experiment in Constitutional democracy, it is right to say that the Nigerian legislature has come of age. The House continues to remain the repository of the democratic hopes and ambitious of our people. This is a truly representative Chamber that can be relied upon to rise to the occasion when duty calls.

9.  It should be noted that we are heirs, to a long tradition of a House where debates are robustly undertaken, where radicalism flows as an institutional prerogative. We continue to be the bulwark for the defence of the rights and privileges of the “common man”. We shall continue to champion the rights of the weak and poor. We shall continue to be the anchor for the wellbeing of our people.

10. My Honourable Colleagues, after the euphoria of today comes the difficulties of tomorrow. We take office at a period in our history when the morale of our people are at its lowest ebb. We take office when our economy is in shambles, when the living conditions of Nigerians are in poor shape, when infrastructures are nonexistent or at best decayed. Our people are no longer safe in their homes .We face a debt crises once again. We are in a period of great social and political malaise. Provision of basic necessities of life for our people are becoming increasingly difficult. Long fuel lines, high cost of living, and epileptic electricity supply or in most instances complete darkness has become the order of the day. The Health needs of the majority of our people are not being met. Extreme poverty still envelopes a large percentage of our population. For too long, Nigerians have suffered degradation and neglect. The list is endless.

11. It will be unfair to say that efforts have not been made by our past leaders to solve all these problems. Quite to the contrary ,a lot of progress has been made in many fields. But it appears as if we have not done enough, as the  problems still remain.

12. We are poised to use our new office to wage a mortal combat with the cancer of corruption, incompetence, insecurity, bad governance and infrastructural decay. We shall wage an unrelenting legislative war on insecurity, unemployment, poverty, lack of power supply, educational inadequacies, health problems and social decay.

13. We have run out of excuses.

14. We may be accused of falling short at the end of the day, but we will not be accused of not doing our best to reposition this nation, Nigeria, as a beacon of hope for Africa. We hope that our best will be good enough.

15. I pledge to you my colleagues and Nigerians that we will play our part in this new opportunity offered us by Nigerians to recover our nation from the clutches of hunger, poverty, disease, social, economic, political and infrastructural quagmire.

16. It is now our responsibility to fashion out the legislative instruments that will lead to Nigeria’s renaissance. Let the word go forth from here that it shall not be legislative business as usual again in Nigeria.

17. We , as a parliament can only justify the confidence of our people by keeping faith with our duties of Law making, Representation and Oversight of the Executive arm of government. However, inspite of our responsibility for checking and balancing the Executive , good governance can only be effected when all arms of government are working in harmony and partnership to bring about the CHANGES voted for by Nigerians on March 28, 2015.

18. We shall cooperate and work harmoniously with the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deliver on the mandate given to us by Nigerians.

19. We have already outlined a legislative Programme of Action and a legislative compass to guide our actions in office in the document titled: My Legislative Agenda for the 8th House of Representatives” which was released recently.

20. Highlights of our Legislative proposals are:

v Enhancing the independence and autonomy of the House of Representatives while maintaining a robust and cooperative relationship with the Executive.

v Overhauling the Budgetary processes of the National Assembly

v Improved Oversight coordination and processes

v Strengthening the Committees of the House of Representatives

v Transparency and accountability on the issue of Salaries, Allowances and Running Cost of the Legislature:

v Improving communications with the General Public.

v Conducting a Legislative Needs Assessment.

v Review of the Standing Orders of the House

v Introducing a robust Code of Conduct for Members

v Strengthening the Committees of the House of Representatives

v Improving Physical Structures and  Equipment used in the House

v Priority Legislation, Other legislative measures  and Conclusion of Outstanding Bills from the 7th House of Representatives:

21. We further pledged that:

“The 8th House of Representatives will concentrate on legislation that will bring the changes required and voted for by Nigerians. Legislative measures that will tackle the issue of endemic unemployment crises; insecurity of lives and property; poverty alleviation; health and education; Endemic Corruption; electricity and Energy crises; General infrastructure decay etc. We shall work closely and speedily to pass legislation that will tackle these matters.”

We also propose to introduce the following:

“Sectoral Debates:

Sectoral debates on various aspects of the Nigerian economy are some of the legislative measures we would introduce … This proposal envisages that the House will designate specific legislative sitting days or weeks in its calendar specifically for discussion on various problems facing the nation. Such identified themes, sectors, areas or problems include  –  Unemployment, Health, Education and Social Services; Power/Energy Sector, Oil and Gas, Science and Technology; Commerce and Industry;  Transportation; Telecommunications; Agriculture; Mining; Manufacturing; Diversification of the Economy, Finance, Corruption, Security Matters, Infrastructure etc.

We expect that these debates will lead to crafting of new laws or amendment to existing ones or indeed make recommendations on how to better manage the economy.”

We shall fine-tune this document and present it to the entire House for debate , amendments and adoption as soon as we commence legislative duties.


Let me once again thank my colleagues for this honour and to all Nigerians for their interest and participation in this keenly contested race. Elections are over. The onerous task of governance begins. I plead with all the supporters of both camps in this election to quickly bury the hatchet and forge a united front to tackle the myriads of problems facing the nat

Jonathan To Sign Constitution Amendment, As NASS Removes Controversial Clauses

The National Assembly has agreed to remove the controversial clauses in the amendments to the constitution under the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015, which it passed this year.

President Goodluck Jonathan had withheld his assent to the amendments to the 1999 Constitution, and the Attorney General instituted a suit against the lawmakers to annul the amendments.

The lawmakers agreed to amend the Act in an out-of-court settlement between the executive and legislative arms of government in Abuja on May 26.

Parties agreed that the views of the president be considered and effected by deleting some alterations in the Alteration Act, 2015, for which the president had withheld his assent.

The six-point of settlement in the suit between the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Assembly, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.

According to the terms, NASS agreed to delete alterations made to Section 8 of the Principal Act on referendum in respect of state creation.

It also agreed to delete alterations made to Section 9 of the Principal Act dispensing with the assent of the president in the process of constitution amendment.

NASS also agreed to delete alterations made in Sections 45a-45b of the Act relating to Free Basic Education and Maternal Healthcare Services.

It also deleted alterations made to Sections 150, 174, 195 and 211 of the Principal Act relating to the separation of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. This also applies to State Attorney-General and Commissioner For Justice.

Accordingly, the suit of the Attorney-General in Suit No: SC/214/ 2015 before the Supreme Court was withdrawn following a motion for discontinuance. The court accordingly struck out the case. It was also agreed that the President Goodluck Jonathan shall assent to the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015.

Credit: NAN

Reshaping Nigeria Through The National Assembly By Ayorinsola Obisanya

Many believe that the executive arm of government should only be credited for the success or chastised for the failure of its administration. Hence, the legislative arm of government is stylishly left out of criticisms when jabs are thrown at the President for failing to perform. This attitude was palpable during the last general elections when some Nigerians still don’t see the reasons of electing a representative to the National Assembly. They are not bothered. All they want is a new president. One wonders if the new President they clamoured for can work alone without the existence of the lawmakers.

The National Assembly is Nigeria’s bicameral legislature and law-making body. It consists of 109 members of Senate and 360 of the House of Representatives. Totalling 469 lawmakers. This is large enough to make laws that would give the country a positive lift. Unless, they are like many others who mark attendance to avoid declaration of vacancy of seats.

Under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ‘the National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation..’ This expressly stipulates the priority of the National Assembly. In contrast to this constitutional provision, the executive arm which is chaired by the President and Governor of a state shall execute all laws made by the National Assembly. It is relevant to note here that the executive in no way can make statutory laws in governing a country. Without an iota of doubt, it is audible to the blind and visible to the deaf that Nigeria needs a total restructuring. And for the new government to perform above per, the executive arm is in no need of lawmakers who are onlookers and expectant of allowances. It is high time Nigerians felt the impact of lawmakers and not four years bench warmers dressed in starched ‘Babaringa’. The Eight National Assembly can achieve as much as possible if the occupants can do the needy.

The Seventh National Assembly was known for its list of numerous bills. Up till date, some of these bills are nothing closer to metamorphose into laws. It is disturbing that a bill in Nigeria might take four years to be deliberated upon before its passage. Yet, some won’t ever see the green light of passage into law. In a proper legislation setting, time shouldn’t be wasted on a particular bill, knowing fully well that there are others awaiting deliberation. A bill is either accepted or rejected. Yet, this is not implicitly or explicitly stating that the legislative process should be rushed. Else, the intent of the people will never be achieved.

With the #Change tide around, it is expected of the Eight Assembly not to elongate the process of bills passage. There is no gain in dragging the process of lawmaking. The nation is in dire need of new laws, amendment of some and excluding some repugnant ones. It will be a welcome development if some bills are passed within the first hundred days. Afterall, legislative work in Nigeria isn’t a part-time job.

One of the bills that should top the priority list of the National Assembly should be the Petroleum Industry Bill (PBI). Up till now, it is inexplicable while the Seventh National Assembly desired to be slow on this issue. Recently, there are signs that the bill may be rejected. For what reasons? ‘The bill seeks to make oil and gas operation more efficient, transparent and accountable to the Nigeria people. Also, to liberalise the management and control of the oil and gas sector and thereby bring in more investments, and improved fiscal regime and resources to the Federation Account for sharing by the three tiers of government.’ ‘Another bill is the Fly Nigeria Bill which will make it mandatory for public officers to use Nigerian airlines in trips funded by the treasury unless there is no Nigerian airline flying to the destination.’

If the President does not believe the bill is good for the country, leading to him not signing it, the National Assembly gets another chance. With enough votes, the legislative branch van override the executive branch’s veto, and the bill becomes a law. This should be done where it is apparent that the bill in question is of great importance to the positive growth of Nigeria.

The alteration of the 1999 Constitution is not debatable. Nigeria really needs a constitution is for ‘WE THE PEOPLE..’ Apart from the fact that the Seventh National Assembly tried in  concluding to separate the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, it also provided for the appointment of the Accountant-General of the Federation in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of the Federation Account. However, there is need to make the economic, social and cultural rights as provided in chapter two of the constitution more than a mere declaration. Especially, the right of a child to enjoy basic education and health services. According to the 11th EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/2014 Nigeria has the world’s largest number of 10.5 million children out of school and will likely be ‘off track by 2015.’ It’s non-justiciability gives the government the comfort of failure and go undisturbed. The primary purpose of governance and government is the security and welfare of the people.

Also, effective autonomy for local government for the development of the grassroot. This is long overdue. Many local governments in Nigeria are suffering in the hands of oppressive state governments. Although, the Seventh National Assembly granted full financial and administrative autonomy to the 774 local governments in Nigeria, the problem lies in making such grant effective. The Nigeria executive in some ways do the ‘I don hear you’ thing.

Since the Seventh National Assembly is known for its accustomed ‘take a bow’ routine of screening ministerial nominees, the Eight National Assembly need to stop this. It is evident that the routine cost the nation a lot by appointing scandalous and corrupt men who busied themselves on how to milk the nation’s account dry. Seriously, there should be more to the ‘take a bow’ exercise which normally, is a sign of respect. Ministerial nominees should be subjected to rigorous screening. Though, the major problem is the failure to separate party affairs from national assignments. The lawmakers of the eight National Assembly should visit the past of nominees, question the present and picture the future. Rejecting nominees is apt. Let the President know that the Constitution recognises separation of powers. Handle your house and let me handle mine. Yet, collaboration is imperative in the incoming administration considering the difficult position of Nigeria’s economy and financial status. This will also enable the arms of government to provide solution to national challenges. If there are competent hands as ministers, a lot of things would definitely be in order.

Be distinct by not saying ‘Aye’ every time since your party is at the helms of affairs and not ‘nay’ because you are so unlucky to be in the opposition. Hence, trying every possible means to make the government fruitless. Nigerians are fed up with lawmakers that only appear to mark attendance, sleep or make nonsensical display like the Sixth National Assembly. Lawmakers are not miscreants. People chose you because you are fit for the job.

The Eight National Assembly should be prepared to tackle corruption and work towards achieving a better economy.

And I hope we don’t have to witness another scaling of gates. House chaos that includes excessive beatings and the smuggling of the maze, making it to go into oblivion for the time being.

God bless Nigeria!

Ayorinsola Obisanya

Twitter @fabobisanya

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

Constitution Amendment: Supreme Court Can’t Stop NASS- Senate

Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Aba­ribe said at the weekend that the Supreme Court cannot stop the National Assembly from performing its legislative duties as far as the process of amending the 1999 Con­stitution is concerned.

Abaribe was reacting to an order of the apex court issued last week, which directed the National Assembly to maintain the status quo in its bid to amend the Constitution. The order followed a suit by the Federal Government. He said the lawmakers have a duty to perform under the Constitution.

The Federal Government dragged the National Assembly to the apex court following the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to veto the Fourth Alteration Bill to the 1999 Constitution, which was presented to him. The President raised a number of issues including the failure of the lawmakers to produce evidence that it secured the mandatory four-fifth majority in amending Section 9 of the Constitution.

But the lawmakers had planned to overturn the President’s veto after a review by the Constitution Amendment Committees of the two chambers.

Abaribe said yesterday that the Supreme Court was wrong to stop the lawmakers in the performance of their legislative duties.

“The Supreme Court is wrong. The law does not allow one arm of the government to stop another arm from performing its duties. The Supreme Court cannot stop us from legislating and if they say that the Supreme Court is stopping us from making laws, it is misleading and it amounts to misreading the powers of the Supreme Court,” Abaribe said.


Dino Melaye, Pledges To Lead Campaign For National Assembly Pay Cut

A Senator-elect from Kogi State, Dino Melaye, has vowed to champion a campaign for salary cut for federal lawmakers when the new National Assembly opens in June.

Mr. Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives, joined many Nigerians to demand a reduction in the salaries of Senator and members of the House of Representatives, saying he will personally champion the cause.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Melaye said lawmakers must sacrifice their comfort and allow a pay cut, to yield money that could be used for developmental projects and proper oversight role.

Mr. Melaye was reacting to the announcement by the Kogi State government this week, of a 40 per cent pay-cut in the salaries of public and civil servants in the state.

He blamed the Kogi State salary slash on bad governance.

Mr. Melaye said workers in Kogi for years received a percentage of their salaries, and said the incoming All Progressives Congress, APC, government will address such abuse.

“The APC has a guideline that controls every governor of every state and I can assure you that the issue of revenue generation will be taken care of by the party,” he said.

Hassan Omale, member-elect represent Ankpa, Omala, Olamaboro federal constituency in Kogi State, also said workers in the state had not been collecting complete salaries for a long time.

“In the Local governments, since the last three years they have not received their complete salaries, they have been suffering there,” he said.

Other Kogi lawmakers blamed the pay cut on reduction in monthly allocation to the state.

The governor, Idris Wada, had on Wednesday announced a 40 per cent pay-cut in the salaries of public and civil servants in the state as a result of dwindling revenue.

Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Jacob Edi, the governor said the state got N2.5 billion as allocation for April, while its monthly wage bill for the month was N3.2 billion.

Culled from Premium times