Obasanjo visits Buhari, denies ever signing budgets without details

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By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his office at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari and his guest met behind closed doors for over an hour.

Obasanjo’s meeting with Buhari took place moments after the details of the 2016 budget was submitted to the President by his National Assembly Liaison Officers, Senator Ita Enang and Hon. Sumaila Kawu.

Fielding questions from State House Correspondents, the former President said he was at the seat of power to brief Buhari on his visits to Maiduguri and other troubled spots in the country.

He, however, declined to disclose the experiences he sahred with President Buhari.

Obasanjo who was President between 1999 and 2007 also denied ever signing any appropriation bills without the details attached by the National Assembly.

His words: “Eehe? I signed budget without details? Anybody who told you that, go and ask him again.”
Obasanjo’s denial of assenting to the budget without seeing the details came against the background of claims by the National Assembly that it had been the tradition for the legislature to send highlights of the budget to te President for assent without the details since the return of democracy to the country in 1999.

Specifically, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jubril, had said last week that both Obasanjo and late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had signed budgets without demanding for the details.

Jubril was reacting to the refusal by President Buhari to sign the highlights of the 2016 appropriation bill without seeing the details.

Before he jetted out to Washington DC in the United States last week to attend the nuclear energy summit, Buhari had declared that he would not append his signature to the 2016 budget except the details were made available to him by the federal legislature.

Asked for his comments on the budget generally, Obasanjo said he was yet to read the details to know what it contained.

On the likely delay in signing the budget, the former President said there was no qualms, noting that the constitution had provisions that would take care of that.

“The constitution allows you to continue with the budget provided you did not go beyond the previous year. That can be done up to the middle of the year,” he noted.

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