APC takes the knocks for undelivered budget


President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

CLO may head to court
As Nigerians groan over the consequences of the delayed passage of the 2016 budget and the strain of the controversies on the polity, keen observers worry that all is not well.

In particular, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Balarabe Musa, a university lecturer, Dr. Remi Aiyede, among others have noted that the development was indicative of the unpreparedness of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for governance.

Besides, they observed that the controversies were further polarizing the country and heating up the polity.

The CLO for instance expressed surprise that the APC was taken the issue lightly cautioning that if not addressed quickly the controversy would not only consume the party but innocent Nigerians.

The president of CLO, Mr. Igho Akeregha lamented in an interview with The Guardian that a situation where APC controlled the executive and legislative arms of government yet unable to manage their differences quietly was deplorable.

“As a foremost civil rights organisation, the CLO finds the endless squabble between the two critical arms of government unacceptable and a mark of utmost insensitivity to the Nigerian people who the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) owe a huge gratitude for investing it with political power at the detriment of a sitting party,” he stated.

The organization warned that it may head to court if the APC failed to rally it’s members to pass the budget into law by next week, insisting “the CLO will consider the inevitable option of approaching the courts to compel this docile government to pass the budget and to stick to their oath of office by delivering democracy dividends to the people.

“It is not too late for Mr. Buhari and his cabinet to sit at home and get the country back on track which it had derailed from since the advent of this administration. The time for the government to stay back and negotiate an amicable path with the National Assembly to pass the budget is now. A stitch in time saves nine.”

For Dr. Remi Aiyede, head of department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, with the legislative and the executive dominated by the APC members, it smacks of incompetence on the party’s leadership.

“It portrays the party as being unserious. The budget is supposed to be a very serious matter and it’s a budget of the government for the people of Nigeria and the party in government is the same both in the executive and legislature,” he told The Guardian.

“We have an APC dominated National Assembly, we have an APC executive, yet they can’t see eye to eye, they can’t put their acts together and they can’t work to deliver an effective and a timely budget, so it’s a slap on their capacity to run the government.”

He said it was high time they put their house and acts together so as not hold the country to ransom stressing: “You know we are already in a difficult situation economically, the price of oil in the international market has gone down drastically and the budget is so centered on it to resolving all of this issues. I think the parties involved should urgently come together taken into cognizance their promise to uplift the quality of life for Nigerians and try to see how to move on this process and complete it.

“They are not supposed to stop at making sure that the budget issues are resolved for this 2016 fiscally, they must also ensure that an effective process is put in place that will prevent going the way of this kind of controversies and with the executive ensuring it is prevented from happening again. We are supposed to learn from experience and it doesn’t seem we have learnt very quickly.”

He blamed the problem on the inefficiency of the party in coordinating the members properly and aligning the two arms of government to see that they were working for one party and one Nigeria.

“At the political party level, the executive of the party can call the leadership of both the National Assembly and the President together to let them know that this controversy over the budget is an embarrassment to the political party and that it shows the incapacity of the government of the party to run the government and they shouldn’t treat it with levity because of its great implications for the economy and Nigeria. And I think they can do that, it’s just that there are other issues which bothers on politics of leadership within the party that actually led to some of this issues. So they should resolve those issues and ensure that it doesn’t roll over into the day-to-day activities of the government.

“I hope that for the 2017 budget and with all the challenges and controversy we have seen, we have to rebuild and rework in such a way that both the executive and the legislature will have to ensure that a good budget is delivered in 2017 and to make sure it is delivered on time too,” he added.

Also expressing concern over the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget, former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa said it was worrisome that four months into the year, Nigeria is yet to get a budget to work with.

Although the former governor placed the bulk of the blame on the executive but charged the two arms of government to urgently settle their differences and pass the bill into law in the greater interest of Nigerians.

To him the issue as it was been presented before Nigerians by the media “is more serious and delicate from the look of things.”

According to him, “The controversies on the budget bothers on capability because I do not see much differences in what the Executive and the National Assembly are doing to achieve a goal in resolving their differences over the budget,” Musa however disagreed with the notion that the National Assembly attempted to rewrite the budget as the Executive tend to present the whole thing to Nigerians.

Musa insisted that both arms of the government should place the larger interest of Nigerians first.

The former Minority Leader in the Senate, Dr. Oloruninmbe Mamora on his part appealed to both arms of the government to resolve their differences over the budget as soon as possible.

According to him, “It is a pity we are witnessing such controversies over the budget in a National Assembly that is controlled by the ruling APC, where Mr. President, who has the entire country as his constituency, comes. There should be no room for rigidity on this matter otherwise it is the people that will suffer.”

Mamora also said the budget is the ‘property’ of the executive but the National Assembly, being the first hope of the common man, has the constitutional oversight function to look at it in the best interest of Nigerians, to ensure its in tandem with the campaign promises of the President.

The former minority leader of the senate said the president was in a better position to appreciate whether what was being sent to him for assent into law was implementable, if otherwise it would be out of reasoning to assent an appropriation into law that he vividly knows will not be implementable.

According to him, “As much as the legislators have the constitutional right to oversee the budget, they should also appreciate the fact that the Executive is the one going to implement the budget when it becomes law. It is therefore not advisable or reasonable for him (Mr. President) to assent to a bill he knows quiet right will not be implementable. This is where the two arms of government need to sit and harmonise.”

Also reacting on the issue, the National Chairman, African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralph Nwosu said the APC-led administration has been playing a dangerous politics with governance since it took over last year.

Apart from alleging that the government was playing politics with the budget, Nwosu lamented that the party was playing politics with everything “it appears that almost every aspects of governance is being politicised including the budget by the APC.”

He said it was right time the government of the day stopped treating governance in the country as North, South East, South-South and South West “governance is governance and it should not be handled as if it is north against south.

Nwosu also said the APC administration was trying to implement a type of structure that did not align with the structure in place “the party is trying a kind of structure that is dangerous and unhealthy for the Nigeria.”

He suggested that the best way to address the issue currently facing the budget and in future was to devolve power based on the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

According to him, “All that we are witnessing concerning the budget is simply an attempt by a particular region that wants to lord and dominate other regions in this country, which is not healthy for Nigeria. I see the current budget controversies far beyond the way many people are looking at it.”

He reiterated that the best option for the country to move forward was for the APC to begin a process of devolution of powers to the component units of the country.

Also expressing disappointment over the entire scenario, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said four months into the year our leaders doesn’t appreciate the fact they need to sign the budget in circumstances where there is no fuel, poor power supply and economic crisis “I doubt if the APC leadership understands the sufferings in the country.”

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