Even as President Muhammadu Buhari conveyed his intention to present the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the joint session of the National Assembly, next week Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, Members of the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, have threatened to boycott the presentation.
Buhari made known his intention through a letter dated 12th December, 2018, addressed to the Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The Speaker read the content of the letter received today, on the floor of the Green Chamber.
However, the House is yet to make a commitment on receiving the President, following a purported statement attributed to the Minister of Budget and National Planing, Udo Udoma, that the budget has not been presented, because the Executive was waiting for the Legislature to give it a date for such.
Adamu Chika, in a point of order, said that the Minister lied on national television against the Parliament, and demanded an apology over the statement.
Mark Gbillah in his contribution, backed his colleague’s assertion that: “It is a statement he (Udoma) made categorically.
“He lied against this Honourable House on national television. I want to join my colleagues to request a formal apology on TV, else we will refuse to attend that budget session with Mr. President”, he added.
On his part, Mike Adeniyi (Ogun State) said: “The Executive arm has always portrayed the Parliament in bad light. The Minister must come
and apologise. If not, the President will come to meet an empty House.”
To counter his colleagues, the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, pointed out that the Minister appeared to have been found guilty by his colleagues, even before being given a fair hearing.
He said: “The Minister called me this morning; he was alarmed and upset and shocked.
“He said that he was just reading something in the papers ascribed to him, and that he never said such a thing, and he is writing a rejoinder as we speak.”
“So, I think we should tarry a while, because you are accusing someone of lying. Let us not turn this House into a partisan House.”
Muhammad Soba would have none of that excuse, accusing Gbajabiamila of sycophancy, saying: “We have seen how sycophancy has been taken to the next level. That is the APC government for you.”
In his ruling, the Speaker pleaded that the Minister be given some time, and a benefit of the doubt of the story would be denied by the Minister.
“But if we do not see the rejoinder, then we have an issue, because we will not allow this Institution to be blackmailed. If nothing is done, we will take a concrete action on it”, he said.