Rift in Governance: Buhari, Saraki bicker over ‘hopeless’ 2019 budget
On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria presented a N8.83 trillion Appropriation Bill proposal to the National Assembly. But the Chairman of the National Assembly and President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki described the bill as ‘hopeless’.
Saraki said: “Yesterday (Wednesday), we all heard the 2019 budget. That is a budget that has no hope for anybody because if you look at the statistics and the figures there’s poverty, if you look at the figures based on revenues that are coming in, there is nothing left. So where’s the future?
“There must be an alternative and that is what we hope that by this evening speaking to our candidate and vice presidential candidate, not based on sentiments. We are not voting on sentiments, we are voting on what is the need for you. How is your life going to be better? Which party offers you a better future because we see you as those who are patriotic and committed. It’s not about what you’ll get today. It’s about the great country a lot of you expect to see,” Vanguard quoted Mr Saraki as saying
The federal government on Friday reacted to Saraki’s description of the 2019 budget as ‘hopeless’, saying the Executive will not exchange words with the legislature.
This position was stated by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while speaking with State House correspondents Friday afternoon.
He also said the executive has fulfilled its responsibility by submitting the budget.
The newspaper said Mr Saraki made the comment in his capacity as the director of Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation.
Saraki is the Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Campaign for 2019 election. Abubakar, the presidential candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a major challenger to Buhari’s re-election. Saraki recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress
In his Friday reaction, Mr Mohammed the budget was presented “given some circumstances”.
“It is not the practice of the executive to be exchanging words with the legislative arm of government, they are independent, we are independent,” he said. “To the best of our knowledge, we presented a budget given the circumstances of our resources this year, we feel that is the best we can. It is left for the National Assembly to consider it,” Mr Mohammed added.