The budget war between the presidency and the legislative branches of the Federal Government may have panicked many political stakeholders; especially partisans of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The fact that the two branches of government are wholly controlled by the party would indicate a measure of laxity on the part of the party in its control of its members. That the National Assembly and the presidency would go into open warfare to project their claims of propriety on the budget would indicate a lack of consensus in the party hierarchy on its manifesto.
It is not as if budget fights are anything new. Since the advent of the Fourth Republic spats over the budget had become a recurring decimal in the relationships between the National Assembly and the presidency.
In fact, it was believed by some that after the pitched battles between the National Assembly and the Goodluck Jonathan administration that nothing worse could have come. But now, the APC has seemingly put a lie to that.
The fights of the Jonathan administration were, however, notably concealed by the tact and tenacity of the administration’s legislative liaison, Senator Joy Emodi. The House of Representatives in that period was especially trenchant, and there were times when the legislators were said to have gone on retreats in hotels in the quieter areas of Abuja, notably in the Maitama area to plot against the administration. In the midst of their plotting, the legislators were often amazed to find Mrs. Emodi strolling into their midst to disarm them.
It is a pity that the present administration has not constituted an adequate response team to navigate its ideas in the parliament. Even its leg man in the Senate, Senator Ita Enang, a former senator who ordinarily should be able to navigate all issues is, however, challenged by local politics. He is one of the leading critics of the former governor of the state who incidentally is the leader of the opposition in the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
That is, however, not to remove the insidious role of the Senate and House committees on appropriation. The devious roles of the committees in orchestrating the face-off between the legislature and the presidency is particularly regrettable. But as one former senator reminded this correspondent, it is nothing new.
STOPPING TRUANCY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
It was apt that a member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Asabe Villitas brought a motion last Thursday on the second anniversary of the bestial kidnap of more than 200 female students from a government school in Chibok, Borno State to the floor.
Reflective of the solemn anniversary, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some members donned red fez caps depicting the fate of the 219 missing girls. Provocative comments were also made by some members, most memorably, Nnena Ukeje, Onyemachi Mrakpor, Abdussamad Dasuki among others.
However, the sombreness of the occasion was seriously defiled by the general indifference by nearly everyone else that did not speak on that occasion. The chamber was not just less than a quarter of the members present.
As concerned members spoke on the issue some with passion, most of the other members could be seen chatting in groups, laughing and some walking about lackadaisically. As the debate on the motion progressed the whip repeatedly sought to quieted the noise that emanated from the indifferent legislators. It is a serious indictment of the chamber which at one time portrayed itself as the conscience of the people of Nigeria.
Given the seriousness with which some other legislative houses in the world including the United States Congress have taken the cause of the Chibok girls, it is rather lamentable that the majority of Nigerian legislators have yet to show passion and pain on the issue. But kudos to those legislators who identified with our missing girls on that day.
DALUNG’S DANGEROUS DIVE INTO FOOTBALL POLITICS
Almost every concerned stakeholder now has to question the propriety of the appointment of Mr. Solomon Dalung as the minister of sports given concerns that he may dip our football and other sports to the point of irrelevance. His actions in the House of Football have been particularly suspicious. When the minister called stakeholders to a “peace” meeting between Mr. Amaju Pinnick and Mr. Chris Giwa, many people smelt a rat given the fact that nearly everyone with the notable exceptions of Giwa and perhaps Dalung had put the schemes of the former administration to foist Giwa on the Football Federation behind. Pinnick, whether you like him or not, had been officially recognised as the president of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF.
The fact that Giwa is from Dalung’s Plateau State has not helped matters. Mr. Dalung should be seen to act above board in keeping the NFF united. (Culled from Vanguard).