From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described as fictional reports that President Muhammadu Buhari is angry with members of the National Assembly over budget padding by over N700 billion in the 2022 budget, including insertions of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency said while it is true that Buhari expressed disagreement with the padding and many other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects”, innumerable lies are being spread about the president being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This is farther from the truth.
The statement read in part: As the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget-signing ceremony, disagreements as the ones listed by the President are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationship because, as he explained, “executive and legislative judgements don’t always have to be the same.”
“While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed. The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions. We doubt if there is a patriotic citizen who wants to see the return of the operating environment engendered by the 8th Senate when an elected government was held in chains, held hostage to the desperate political ambitions of a clique, and the public denied needed services including that which impinged on national security. Happily, the 9th National Assembly is more about policy than politics.
“Under the constitution, both arms of government are coequal and at the same time, independent and interdependent. The rule of the game is cooperation and the president, as a democrat fully accepts this.”