16th January, 2016
The Nigerian Senate late Saturday slammed Chief Bisi Akande, a former acting national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for declaring that the alleged missing 2016 budget from the upper legislative chamber smacked on serious indiscipline on the part of the leadership of the Senate.
The controversy that followed the alleged missing document had put the Senate on the defensive throughout the last week with Senate President Bukola Saraki finally disclosing that two versions of the budget proposals were presented and that the Senate would only consider the one presented by President Muhammadu Buahri.
Akande, on Friday had said the missing budget is a reflection of the indiscipline that produced the leadership of the Senate.
“Nigeria’s budget is a huge document and one wonders how such document of that size could be missing in the senate.
“The development is fallout of indiscipline that brought the current leadership of the Senate into the position and as you know, that was not the choice of our party,” Akande had said.
In its response, the Senate, through Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, its Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, described Akande’s utterance as unfortunate.
The Senate said it was regrettable that a man of Akande’s status would be responding to mere speculation without cross-checking his facts or worse still eager to latch on to any opportunity to bring to disrepute the leadership of the Senate because he failed to get his choice candidates elected.
In the statement, the Senate urged Akande to check his records properly so that he could see that at no time did the Senate say the 2016 budget was missing.
Abdullahi noted that the legislative house had insisted in several official statements and press interviews by its principal officers that the budget was not missing but that two different versions are now available.
“We have said it several times that the budget was not missing. That two versions of the details of the budget exist and this is no longer in doubt as the Presidency has equally admitted this.
“We expect a man of Akande’s calibre to cross-check his facts and take us up on our words. That he decided to ignore the facts and make comments on speculations is regrettable.
“He is a man who had served in government. He is a leader of the party with the majority in the Senate and he has several channels of cross-checking facts as against speculations,” Abdullahi stated.
The Senate said contrary to the description of what happened as indiscipline on the part of the leadership, the position of the present Senate leadership is a demonstration of the regime of openness, transparency and accountability that now reigns in the upper legislative chamber.
The statement said in the past, such a development would have been swept under the carpet noting that the statements by Akande was another expression of the frustration that the former Governor of Osun State suffers for not being able to impose his lackeys on the Senate as leaders.
“Chief Akande is still sulking after his group’s failed attempt to impose certain individuals as the leaders of the Senate last year.
“So, he was in a hurry to condemn the leadership. We want him to know that the leadership of the Senate can only emerge through the provisions of the constitution and the standing rules of the institution.
“As a democrat, Akande should know that once the majority has elected the leadership, all parties to the contest ought to accept the decision.
“To continue belly-aching and working to undermine the institution because of the failure to get one’s choice candidates elected cast doubts on his democratic credentials.
“It appears he is only a democrat when he has his way. We advise him to move on and let us help the legislative institution to focus on its agenda to serve the people in line with the much needed change that President Muhammadu Buhari promised the nation,” the statement said.