By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan/
The Member House of Representative representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency in Oyo State, and Chairman House of Representative Committee on Legislative Compliance, Honourable Abiodun Olasupo has declared that ‘budget padding’ is not a crime but a constitutional responsibility of the legislative arm of government”,
Honourable Olasupo said this during his inspection tour of some zonal intervention projects and federal government projects in his constituency in Oke-Ogun.
He declared that the House of Representatives did not err in the current ‘budget padding’ controversy considering the fact that sections 80 and 81 of the constitution guarantees the lawmakers the powers to alter the budget proposals.
”If you look at the Nigerian Constitution, what Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin referred to as padding is tantamount to what the constitution defines as the function of a member of House of Representatives, because the constitution guarantees the three major function of making law, appropriation, and over sight”, he said.
Emphasizing that budgets presented by the executive arm of government do not often reflect true federal character hence the need for ‘padding’, Honourable Olasupo maintained that “in appropriation, it is either for us to add, subtract or change and what Hon Jibrin has been trying to say is that we are changing, inserting and adding, so if that is what he calls padding, then, that is what the constitution expects the House of Representatives to do”.
Honourable Olasupo stated that as an active member during the budget defence, he was involved in the budgeting system of up to six ministries and agencies including FERMA, Navy, health institutions and many others and that the entire budgeting system makes it possible that if one is elected as a member of the National Assembly and not ready to do what Jibrin called padding, then such a person is a failure.
“Basically the budget that is been brought to the National Assembly does not reflect the principle of federal character as guaranteed by the constitution. All projects and employments from the executive should be done in a way that it reflects all parts of Nigeria. But what do we get in the budget, you will see a disapprotionate distribution of projects and basically if you look at it, it reflects mostly on where the Minister is coming from since it is the executive that brings in the budget. When the executives are bringing the budget they are not considering my constituency, so they will bring a budget to me and I am expected to approve it, and if it doesn’t have the interest of my constituency, you want me to keep quiet? No I won’t.
“What I will also do is to insert what will favour the people of my constituency which is what Jibrin called padding”.
He stressed “I am not saying somebody is wrong or right but I do not see what is bad in attracting projects to my constituency. For the first time in the history of this country a budget presented by the executive was reduced. It means that we are shifting away from impunity, and corruption that has characterised the government of the past.”
Speaking further, Hon Olasupo while disclosing that the legislature has only had an unhindered experience of 16 years when compared with the executive, urged Nigerians to be patient with the National Assembly to get right all their lapses in no time.
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan/