On the 22nd of December, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to the national assembly and many excited Nigerians and like the good citizens we all are, it was assumed the budget which was filled with positive agendas to to help resuscitate our dying economy.
However, no one could have predicted the train of controversy that followed the budget presentation. It can be recalled that on two different occasions, the presidency rejected (returned) the budget to the National Assembly to correct all omissions.
Today, We outline five things to focus and meditate about as the alleged suspects continue to point fingers.
Dogara is a scape goat
House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara is the known culprit for padding the 2016 budget. Dogara, who on several occasions said “padding is not an offense under the law” will most likely face persecution by the NASS( National Assembly). Former chairman of the Appropriation Committee Abdulmimin Jibrin who is leading the crusade to fight the budget corruption, said besides constituency projects, chairmen of 10 committees “padded” over N284 billion through 2000 projects, into the budget. One thing to note here is that Dogara was not acting alone, He might be the scape goat but surely he did not commit the offense alone.
JIbrin’s anti-corruption crusade may be personal
Abdulmimin Jibrin has submitted petitions against Dogara to several agencies including Independent Corrupt Practices (ICP), EFCC, and House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. While it might be difficult for EFCC to investigate the matter (because anything done at plenary or premises of the House cannot be investigated by external bodies), we need to question if Jibrin is actually fighting in the interest of the nation or is it just a personal vendetta against Dogara.
Presidency Has Been Mute About The issue
Despite the delay and stress caused by the budget controversy, it is shocking to see the presidency and the executive council quiet about the alleged padding. For a budget that was not signed until the second quarter of the year, we expect the same anti- corruption enthusiasm showed at the beginning of this administration to help prosecute those responsible for the budget errors. The silence on the path of presidency about this matter should be questioned.
Budget Padding Is just one of the many atrocities committed by the NASS
The National Assembly has been crippled on by discrepancies of the legislator, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, his Deputy Ike and others are accused of forgery of the Standing Rule of the Senate 2015. Saraki is also being arraigned by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). He is currently facing a 16-count charge of false assets declaration while he was the Governor of Kwara State. Indeed the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Budget Padding Crusade Will most likely Die down
Just like so many other corruption cases in Nigeria, the budget padding controversy will die down eventually. The government is good at distracting its citizens. Recall that few months into his administration, Buhari launched the anti-corruption campaign, we all praised him but the economy is still yet to come alive( even after we recovered loots from the Abacha administration).