‘’If
you say, it is what I have said before now, and that you said I’m re
affirming it,  then, I am confirming  it  to
you again, ’we need people of integrity in the National Assembly ,president
Buhari must be very careful’’ Olusegun Obasanjo. This is coming in the hills of
more controversies  that is coming out from national Assembly on budget padding and
justification of the action of the president for budget delay.

President
Olusegun Obasanjo said recent events in the National Assembly have confirmed
his earlier stance that the National Assembly is an assemblage of looters and
thieves.

He
was reacting to the current budget padding accusation and counter-accusation between
the leadership of the House of Representatives and sacked Chairman of the House
of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Jibrin
alleged that the padding of the 2016 budget by N40 billion was done at a secret
location with the backing of Yakubu Dogara and three principal officers
including Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and
Minority Leader Leo Ogor.

At
the Red Chamber, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy are facing
a two-count charge. They are accused of forging Senate Rules in 2015.

Obasanjo
who said he was in the Presidential Villa to deliver an important message from
Liberia, the Gambia and Seychelles Island when asked to comment on the recent
happenings in the National Assembly, which buttressed one of his statements in
the past that the National Assembly was a cesspool of corruption.

On
the call for investigation into the issue of padding of the budget, the former
president said: “It’s not a 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 in 2012 at the fourth annual conference of the Academy for
Entrepreneurial Studies, lashed out at the National Assembly and state Houses
of Assembly describing them as institutions filled with “rogues and armed
robbers.”

He
had described them as the leading institution amongst the nation’s most corrupt
and inefficient.

“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?” he had asked.

In
November 2014, Obasanjo, at the public presentation of the autobiography of
Justice Mustapha Akanbi, in Abuja, said apart from shrouding the remunerations
of the National Assembly in opaqueness and without transparency, the lawmakers
indulged in extorting money from departments, contractors and ministries in two
ways.

“They
do so during visits to their projects and programmes and in the process of
budget approval when they build up budgets for ministries and departments, who
agree to give it back to them in contracts that they do not execute. They do
similar things during their inquiries.”

Last
January, Obasanjo listed corruption  in
the National Assembly to include “what they call constituency projects which
they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with
little or no job done”.

The
former president insisted that over the years, the National Assembly never
singled out any corrupt lawmaker except where the executive led in the
indictment of a member

Meanwhile,
the senate has faulted Jibrin for going public with his allegations instead of
exploring the internal mechanism of the National Assembly.

Addressing
Senate correspondents yesterday in Abuja, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume wondered why
the sacked chairman did not explore other options rather than resort to the
media to blackmail the entire National Assembly.

“I
do not want to say that there was budget padding and I do not want to talk
about something I really do not know, but what is happening in the House of
Representatives is just very unfortunate because we have processes and
procedures of doing things in the National Assembly.

“If
somebody has an issue, he knows what to do. It is not supposed to be the press
that is supposed to be where somebody would carry his grievances, but I think
they are going to work on it.

“I
have been trying to reach out to both sides and we are working on that. There
is nothing like budget padding. If it is the National Assembly that works on
the budget, then you do not call it padding because padding is like illegality.

“There
may be certain abnormalities in the budget and what transpired in the budget
process which is now an Appropriation Act. I think they know the right thing.
We have a committee

However,
Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Media, Abdulrazak Namdas said
the House would be exonerated by the time it “fully exposes the real reasons”
Jibrin was removed as appropriation committee chairman.

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