Saraki-BLAST-Obasanjo

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday reviewed the nation’s journey to its present economic and political quagmire and came up with the verdict that all past public office holders must share in the blame. According to him, they all contributed to the sorry state the country currently found itself.

In an apparent response to the letter by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the leadership of the National Assembly, wherein he accused the lawmakers of profligacy, Saraki said every Nigerian, who had held any public office in the past, without any exceptions, were involved in one way or the other in the mistakes that led the country to the present political and economic mess. The senate president, fielding questions from newsmen shortly after commissioning the refurbished Press Corp Center at the National Assembly, admonished that rather than trading blames on one another, what was needed now was for all Nigerians to close ranks and join hands together to address the woes afflicting the country.

He said: “We’ve all been here since 1999 up to the recent past when things were not done right; we are all part of it. I was there; you were there, every other political office holders in different capacities were there as well. “My own view from the 8th National Assembly is that the time for collective participation for the good of all Nigerians is here with us in line with the change mantra of the present administration. We are all on the same page for things to be done differently. “I think what we need now from all stakeholders, is more of cooperation, encouragement and participation as opposed to trying to hold one person responsible for the mistakes of the past that we are all part of. It is clearly not the right thing needed now.

“I appeal to you, I appeal to all Nigerians that we should work together just as I assure you all that we will do well here in the National Assembly to practically complement the change agenda.” Commenting on the 2016 Appropriation bill now before the National Assembly, Saraki assured that lawmakers would do everything within their powers to ensure that the budget is effectively implemented. One of the ways the National Assembly would support the effective implementation of the budget, according to him, is to come up with an amendment bill to the Procurement Act to ensure that all the capital spending are thoroughly scrutinised before funds are committed to projects.

Saraki explained that the Finance and Appropriation Committees, as well as other relevant committees of the senate had been directed to ensure that they painstakingly scrutinise the budget, especially on the revenue side. This was as he revealed that even the leadership of the Senate would engage the ministries, department and agencies of government to ensure that non oil revenue and independent revenue component of the budget were achieved. Saraki pledged that details of the N115 billion National Assembly appropriation for this year would be made public at the end of the budget defence exercise.

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