The Budget Padding, Un-padding, and Musings From The National Assembly

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A lot has been written and said about the so called “Buhari’s Budget of Change”. The 2016 Budget known as the Budget of Change has been surrounded with persistent rumors, myth and mystery. If it was not that it disappeared because the presidency stole it, it would be that it was replaced by the president’s national assembly aide. If not that it was doctored by the bureaucrats in the Budget and Planning unit, it would be that the presidency/executive added things that were not there in the first place (recall the Calabar to Lagos rail project) or that they could not defend their budget. Finally, if the national assembly members did not pad, they inserted or shuffled the budget.

The brouhaha that followed the budget padding from the part of the executive arm has come and gone with the reported punitive measures the presidency claimed it meted out on offenders. However, we now have the national assembly in uproar with different interpretations. These so called honorable men and women are not denying that something happened to the budget. The contention really is the different interpretation and the counter claims on amount padded, inserted, added or moved. This fight has the former chairman appropriation committee alone on one side while the entire leadership of the house led by the speaker are on the other.

There has been suggestions that this fight is another proxy APC war aimed at changing the house leadership, while another school of thought has linked it to Atiku versus Tinubu fight for control of the soul of the national assembly. As some have noted, the House majority leader and APC member from Lagos has been cleverly left out. One may ask, did the majority leader not negotiate for Billion Naira constituency projects for Lagos? The war against corruption by the APC government needs to have the APC give itself an internal feedback that nepotism is corruption, padding is corruption and so is having the presidency and national assembly turn a blind eye while the herdsmen continue to slaughter. Surely these arms of government should be able to multitask and not allow padding to consume them or suck up the whole air.

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