Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The senator representing Ekiti Central senatorial district, Opeyemi Bamidele, has argued that the reason Nigerians are misunderstanding the 9th Assembly as rubber-stamp is because they are not grandstanding.
Speaking at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Abuja, Opeyemi, stoutly defended the decision of the upper chambers of the National Assembly to approve the loan requests from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Asked his take on the relationship between the executive and legislature, he said: “I want to assure that by the grace of God, the relationship between the executive and the legislators remain cordial. It is cordial to the extent that we all see beyond the fact that we all belong to the same party.”
“It all depends on who is making this analysis and from which perspective. We are not rubber stamp, what we are not doing is grandstanding because it does not help the growth of any democracy.
“It is not going to take us any inch forward. It is only going to be a highway to nowhere. We have been through this path before and I don’t think any body benefitted from it.
“People accused the parliament for approving loan requests of Mr President, the question again then is, what did we do that people didn’t do in the United States, in the United kingdom, all over Europe and other parts of Africa?
“The essence of the loan was because our income as a nation has fallen to almost its lowest ebb. When we planned the 2020 budget, it was predicated on the fact that crude oil will sell at 54 dollars per barrel and because of covid-19, this was not going to happen. It fell to as low as 24 dollars per barrel meaning that we were no longer in a place to fund our budget and the economy was also entering recession.
“Part of what economists will tell you is the need for us to spend our way out of recession and ensure that money continue to percolate, and for government to do that, definitely they have to borrow.
“Could we have said because we don’t want to be labelled a rubber stamp parliament, we would not approve of these loans? No, what is important to us is what are you going to do with these loans,” he said.