Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday declared that former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his cohorts will fail again like they did in June, 2015 if they attempt to foist a leadership on the Ninth National Assembly due for inauguration in June.
Saraki, in a terse statement issued by his Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in reaction to Tinubu’s allegation on Sunday that the National Assembly leadership padded the budget in the last four years, also described the budget padding allegation as careless, irresponsible and callous.
The Senate President said the grand plan by Tinubu and his co-travellers not to allow the wishes of federal legislators-elect to prevail in the election of presiding officers of the Ninth National Assembly will fail as it was the case at the inauguration of the 8th Assembly on June 9, 2015.
According to him, “Tinubu should know that if there was any mistake made on June 9, 2015, it was the miscalculation by himself and his small cabal in the All Progressive Congress (APC) who felt they could decide for the Senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect. When they failed after their grand-standing that they could always got whatever they desired, they resorted to undermining the institution of the legislature and waging a campaign of calumny against the law making body.
“It is now clear that those who took Senators away from the chambers contrary to the directive contained in the proclamation signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 9, 2015 are ‘mistake personified’.
“It is obvious that if they repeat that arrogance during the inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly, they will fail again because Nigeria is greater than them. The institution of the legislature is bigger than the over-bloated egos of these power mongers and dirty schemers”.
Saraki further emphasised that “it is obvious Tinubu’s arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through.
“The frustration from this experience might have been responsible for this needless and baseless outbursts.”
He, however, advised Tinubu for the sake of the stability of the National Assembly to allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership.
“He should stop treating the legislators like hapless pupils receiving orders from a cane-wielding headmaster. A situation where he, Tinubu, is dictating to elected legislators and ordering them to either comply with his directives or get out of the party, will not augur well for the legislature in the next dispensation.
“History should have thought him that only a leadership that truly enjoys the support of members can help the President and his administration to achieve their objectives. It is a good development that the candidates for the various positions are already reaching out to their colleagues and forging alliances. We can see that after he realized that he has misfired, he is trying to retrace his step and in his usual devious manner, he is looking for scapegoats. We advise him to leave Saraki out of his manipulations and “jockeying and maneuvering for influence and power”, as he termed it.
On the allegation that national budgets were delayed, distorted, padded, new projects introduced, funds for projects reduced, “to halt progress of government”, the Senate President described as unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.
He stated that the passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate as most of the work is done by the various committees.
“These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties. It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed. To put the blame of budget delay on the Senate President or Speaker can only be mischief, or at best, playing to the gallery”.