The National Assembly has threatened to override the President Muhamadu Buhari at the end of 30 days if he fails to accent to the 2016 Appropriation bill which was passed by the legislature.
The member representing Afikpo North/South constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Idu Igariwey stated this yesterday.
The Lawmaker who chided those blaming the National Assembly for making changes to the bill said the lawmakers should not be crucified for doing there constitutional duties.
He said, “Truth of the matter is that the budget came with a lot of difficulties. The budget came almost like a stillborn baby and so it needed the legislators to put life to it. Either because it came in a hurry, was hurriedly conceived and poorly digested before it came to us. Maybe those were the reasons. But at the end of the day, the NASS had to do due diligence to the budget by looking at the various figures and the various areas of allocation of resources”.
“For instance, let us look at the budget for the Works Ministry. If you saw the analysis that was made, you will discover that most parts of the budget were supposed to go to one part of the country. A state like Ebonyi had nothing to do with that budget as it concerns federal roads! And this is a budget that ran into over # 300 billion, I think the only thing that came to Ebonyi state was only # 28 million out of that whooping amount which was maybe to provide shoulder for the Abakaliki-Enugu Road already being completed”.
“And we are only talking about 36 states in this country and so how can you assign #28million out of #300 billion to Ebonyi? And this also happened in other states of the south East. And we as legislators from the East you don’t expect us not to kick against such unequal distribution of our common wealth. So, it was now our duty to ensure that this budget did not go back the way it was conceived by the Minister for Works. We now made sure that some of the items also went to the South East by way of roads”.
“And that is what the constitution empowers us to do. That is why the constitution gave us the power of appropriation and that is why the document comes to us. There is no legislature in this world where the budget proposal goes to the legislatives and it goes back the same”.
“Then why did you even bring it to the legislature? If there is no need for us to make inputs into it, then the constitution should have conceived a system where the executive will formulate, appropriate, implement and maybe also oversight”.
The lawmaker while recognizing the right of the President to withhold accent noted that the National Assembly also has the right to override him and pass the budget into law”.
“The constitution clearly has made previsions for Mr. President to withdraw his assent as regards any bill, not just the money bill, but the same constitution has given us power within 30 days to override him”.
“These things were all contemplated by the constitution. So, if Mr. President is withholding his assent, then it is still within his constitutional powers. But he should also expect us as expected by the constitution to also exercise our rights as also provided for by the constitution which is to override his withholding of his assent and when we do, that budget which is the money bill will become law. It’s as simple as he withholds his assent, then we override him”.