No men of integrity in N/Assembly – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the National Assembly is composed of legislators who lack integrity, suggesting that the situation is beyond redemption.
Obasanjo was reacting to allegations and counterallegations currently trailing the padding of the 2016 budget in the House of Representatives.
He said instead of bothering about investigating the allegations, Nigerians should “get men and women of integrity in the place.”
He told State House reporters in Abuja yesterday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari that:
“It is not question of investigation, we should get men and women of integrity
in the place and the president should be very vigilant. Whatever should not pass, should not pass.”
The former President had made similar criticism in the past and now he asked if the allegations of budget padding were not a confirmation of his previous views that the federal legislature was corrupt.
“Well, if you said that I have said it in the past and if there are people who didn’t believe what I said in the past, then you now say that what has come out confirms what I said in the past, then, I can say what I said in the past is what I will say now,” he said.
During the fourth annual conference of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies held in Lagos in 2012, the former President said the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly were filled with “rogues and armed robbers.”
Obasanjo, at the event said: “Integrity is necessary for all systems and institutions to be strong.
“Today, rogues, armed robbers are in the state houses of assembly and the national assembly. What sort of laws will they make?”
Only last week, the former chairman of the House of Reps committee on appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Yussuf Suleimon Lasun, chief whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and minority leader, Leo Ogor, of trying to force him to insert projects worth about N40 billion to for them in the budget.
Jibrin, who was removed on Wednesday following months of protests by his colleagues over his role in the controversy that trailed the budget, called for the resignation of the quartet over the matter.
“These members of the body of principal officers were not comfortable with my independent disposition and my refusal to cover up their unilateral decision to allocate to themselves 40 billion naira out of the 100 billion allocated to the entire National Assembly.
“The four of them met and took that decision. In addition to billions of wasteful projects running over 20 billion they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean. My inability to admit into the budget almost 30 billion personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the 3 other principal officers also became an issue,” Jibrin said.
Speaking with reporters the former leader explained that he visited President Buhari because he (Obasanjo) had some messages for him.
He said: “Not too long ago, I was in Liberia and Gambia, and I have messages these two countries will want me to deliver to the president. Also, only yesterday (Sunday), I came back from Seychelles Island where I attended this year’s Annual General meeting of Africa Export Development Bank. And there are aspects of the proceedings that I think I should update the president.”
Asked if he enjoyed travelling to all those countries, he said: “Travelling is a good education. What you will learn about a country by visiting that country for two or three days, you won’t learn by reading through books.
On whether he intended to “slow down”, Obasanjo responded: “May God not allow you to slow now.” N/Assembly reacts When contacted, the spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, declined comment, saying “As you know the Senate is on recess and I’m just hearing the former president’s statement from you”.
Reacting, the spokesperson of House, Abdurazak Namdas said former president Obasanjo succeeded during his tenure because of the support he got from the legislature.
“We don’t want to join issues with the elder statesman. He ruled this country with the support of National Assembly. If he succeeded, that is because the National Assembly supported him well, and if truly he succeeded, that members of the National Assembly are not what he said they are. But we’ll leave it to Nigerians to judge, “he said.
From left: Chairman, Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick; FIFA President Mr. Glanni Infantino; President Muhammadu Buhari; Secretary General, FIFA, Ms. Fatima Samoura and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung during the FIFA president’s visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo being led to the office of President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the Presidential Villa Abuja yesterday.