The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reacted to Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s description of the 2019 budget as ‘hopeless’, saying that the Executive will not exchange words with the Legislature; while the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, has lambasted the Senate President, for daring to rubbish the President.
Lai Mohammed stated this while speaking with State House Correspondents, on Friday, at the Presidential Villa.
He also maintained that the Executive has fulfilled its responsibility by submitting the budget.
Lai Mohammed was reacting to a comment by Saraki, who recently described the budget proposal as ‘hopeless’.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we all heard the 2019 budget. That is a budget that has no hope for anybody, because if you look at the statistics and the figures there is poverty, if you look at the figures based on revenues that are coming in, there is nothing left. So where is the future?
“There must be an alternative, and that is what we hope that by this evening speaking to our Candidate and Vice Presidential Candidate, not based on sentiments. We are not voting on sentiments, we are voting on what is the need for you. How is your life going to be better? Which party offers you a better future, because we see you as those who are patriotic and committed. It is not about what you will get today. It is about the great country a lot of you expect to see”, Saraki had said.
Reacting, Lai Mohammed disclosed that the budget was presented “given some circumstances”.
“It is not the practice of the Executive to be exchanging words with the Legislative arm of government, they are independent, we are independent”, he said.
“To the best of our knowledge, we presented a budget given the circumstances of our resources this year, we feel that is the best we can. It is left for the National Assembly to consider it”, Lai Mohammed added.
The Minister said that the Buhari government “has met all promises and obligations to Nigerians”.
“I wish everybody Merry Christmas., and as a government, we are happy that we have been able to meet all our promises, all our obligations to Nigerians”, he said.
“And as the year rolls out, we are more determined to even deliver more to Nigerians.”
Elsewhere, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, described Saraki’s 2019 budget comments immature and reckless; adding that, the Senate President himself, is immature and irresponsible, for the position he is occupying in the National Assembly.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, which was made available to Post-Nigeria, the BMO said that it was the height of irresponsibility and recklessness for Saraki to glibly dismiss the 2019 Budget proposal as “hopeless”, noting that Saraki’s comments at a meeting with supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were a continuation of the conduct of the opposition members of the National Assembly, at the budget presentation.
“It is barely two days after President Muhammadu Buhari tabled the budget estimates, in spite of the worst efforts of a minority group to disrupt the session, and here we have the supposed number three citizen brushing aside a document he could not have thoroughly scrutinised in hours.
“This is the same individual that did not make the traditional opening remark, because he was too cowardly to look the President in the eyes and present a speech that was laced with lies and half truths, that were later posted on his Facebook page
“There have been several Senate Presidents, since 1999, but none of them has been as immature and egoistical as Saraki, who finds it hard to separate selfish interest from national interest.”
The group added that what Saraki did at the PDP gathering, was to serve notice to Nigerians that the 2019 budget would be stalled, with no hope that it would even be deliberated upon as soon as possible.
“If it was a matter before the courts, Saraki’s irresponsible comments would have been considered subjudice. And that is exactly the situation we have on our hands now. He has played his hands early, and there is nothing the Executive would do during budget defense sessions, that would be satisfactory to this usurper
“So, Nigerians now have the benefit of an advance warning of the Senate President’s intention to make life difficult for all in the name of politics, by his outright dismissal of a document that was painstakingly put together by a team of Experts, led by the Director-General of the Budget Office Ben Akabueze.”
The BMO also urged more responsible members of the two Legislative Chambers, to treat his comment as an abuse of their privilege.
“This is because, as Chairman of the National Assembly, he is seen as the Chief Spokesman of the Legislature, and what he says in and out of the Legislative complex, could easily be viewed as the opinion of all members.
“So, it may be a good idea for more responsible Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to dissociate themselves from the anti-people comment of the Senate President
“They should not allow him to continue to desecrate the Hallowed Chamber with his reckless comments, which boil down to the bitterness he once expressed during an earlier political meeting in Ilorin, where he accused President Buhari of not literally throwing open the nation’s coffers for those who spent personal funds to campaign for him in 2015
“It is against this backdtrop that we reaffirm our earlier position, that Saraki is not fit to occupy the position of Senate President”, the BMO said