The All Progressives Congress (APC) has officially reacted to the allegations and counter-allegations bordering on the padding of the 2016 Budget in the House of Representatives, telling the two feuding parties to make no further public comments on the matter.
The party also said it found it embarrassing to have to deal with another “new phenomenon” tagged ‘budget padding’ by the lawmakers.
According to correspondences emanating from the party’s national headquarters in Abuja yesterday which separately addressed the main actors at the centre of the budget crisis, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, the party also said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government and the ruling APC were saddened by the recent developments in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
LEADERSHIP Friday’s findings confirmed that both letters written by the APC deputy national chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, dated August 4, had been delivered to the duo of Dogara and Jibrin at the time of filing this report.
According to the letters which were sighted by our reporter, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party said that having held series of meetings with Dogara and Jibrin over the budget padding scandal, it had decided that both of them be requested to henceforth avoid issuing any public statements on the matter, through the social media or otherwise.
The party added that the decision became necessary as it is “now looking into it (the crisis) towards finding possible solution.”
APC however appreciated both lawmakers for their cooperation in honouring the party’s intervention and their readiness to afford it the chance to handle the budget padding crisis in the House.
The House of Representatives has been enmeshed in the budget padding scandal since Thursday, July 21, 2016 when Hon. Jibrin, the erstwhile chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, was relieved of his chairmanship position.
Later the same day, Jibrin accused Speaker Dogara, his deputy Hon. Yussuf Lasun and other principal officers of the House of taking undue advantage of their positions by making various “insertions” in the 2016 budget during its consideration process.
The House denied the allegations against the quartet of Dogara, Lasun, Chief Whip Hon. Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Hon. Leo Ogor and counter-accused Jibrin of padding the budget in favour of his Kiru/Bebeji constituency in Kano State.
Since then, it has been one allegation after the other between both camps.
Budget Padding Controversy Exposed Rot In Our Budgetary System – NLC
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the ongoing controversy over the padding of the 2016 budget is an incontrovertible evidence of the inherent weaknesses in the nation’s budgeting process and, accordingly, underscores the need for a thorough review.
The Congress, in a statement by its president, Ayuba Wabba, said the scandal also reveals the imperfections and the distrust in project identification/implementation system and consequent failure of the present model of capital budgeting without a development plan/ framework.
He, however, called for caution, because the way the issues in contention are resolved will shape the direction of the nation’s democracy, to either deepen or weaken it.
He said, “It shows that projects are not implemented according to needs-value or priority but who is behind which.
“In light of the foregoing, we wish to state that instead of going after individuals, government should do a soul-search as well as x-ray a budgeting system that fails to address the needs of the people.
“Equally important is the fact that it avails us an opportunity to revisit our budgetary system and the need for development planning.”