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2016 Budget Not Padded -Deputy Speaker




The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Sulaimon ‘Lasun Yussuff, has clarified that  the lower chamber  of  the  national  assembly  only reworked the  2016 appropriation bill as against the  erroneous  believe that it was  padded.
He also  rose in stout defense of the  contentious constituency  projects of the lawmakers ,saying  that that real democracy  dividends  were derivable from the execution  of such projects  by the  lawmakers across the country.

He cited the example  of how he turned  around  the  infrastructure of three public schools in Pain state through  his constituency projects.
Lasuna regretted the ‘‘unwillingness on the parts of executives in some instances to take the legislature into confidence’’ as major challenge to democracy.

He also identified the rot in the third tier of government among the major obstacles to the growth of Nigeria’s nascent democracy, describing as it as ‘’a pain in the neck of Nigerians.’’

Yussuff bared his  mind while delivering a paper at the 17th edition of the media parliament of Kwara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) held in Ilorin, Kwara  state.

He spoke on”Challenges of Lawmaking and the Delivery of Dividends of Democracy in Nigeria”.

The deputy speaker said that it was the exclusive preserve of the legislative arm to rework annual fiscal document tabled before it by the executive organ, saying such document remains “an estimate and not real budget”

It would be recalled that the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, who blew the lid that some principal officers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly partook in the budget padding scam, was suspended from office.

Jibrin ‘s allegation ignited public oultrage against the National Assembly members while the House maintained that the budget was not padded as alleged.

But the deputy speaker told the gathering at the weekend that the allegation against the leadership of the house by the suspended Jubrin was of no effect and could not substantiated, adding that the house acted within its powers.

He said that the house was empowered to re-allocate and reconcile figures in the budget estimates that were believed not to be properly done.

Yusuff averred that many Nigerians were ignorant of the working of the legislative arm and fond of passing verdict without verifiable facts on some allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

He explained further that it was the primary responsibility of the lawmaking body to scrutinize budget estimates submitted by the executive arm, adding that members could use the avenue to address pressing needs of their people.

Yussuff said, “While the executive makes proposals on projects, programmes and expenditure for every year, the legislature finally approves figures that are spent. In the process, the legislature often interface with the executive to have certain projects and programmes form part of budget.

“This is necessary as I have said earlier because of the closeness of the legislator to the constituents expectedly must have emerged from that environment, it is critical that certain pressing areas requiring government attention are suggested and included in the estimates.

“Unfortunately, the poor understanding of the fine details of legislative practice anchored on the express provision of the constitution erroneously informed the so called “budget padding debacle” which was a distraction to the polity. For instance, the case of 50 year old Ojutu Bridge in my constituency that has great potentials in turning around the lives of my constituents”.

Also speaking, the chairman, Kwara State council of NUJ, Mallam Abiodun Abdulkareem, said the media has a crucial role to play in holding the legislature accountable to the people, pointing out that it remains the first of government.

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