Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
A chieftain of Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Sen. Femi Okurounmu, has lambasted the National Assembly over the allegation of budget padding level by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okuroumu, who described the act as “fraudulent”, added that NASS members introduced a lot of extra legal amounts just to meet up with illegal allowances the members get.
While observing that the president lacks the courage to deal with the excesses of the National Assembly, the Afenifere chieftain, described the incessant face-off between the presidency and NASS as a “game of mutual blackmail”.
Okurounmu spoke on Thursday at the sidelines of a symposium entitled “Omoluabi Principles: A call to return”, organised by a socio-cultural group, Omoluabi, held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
The event was attended by Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, other Afenifere chieftains such as Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Deji Osibogun, among others.
According to Okurounmu, NASS will continue to pad and inflate the budget in order to accommodate their own demands and needs, hence the incessant stalemate between NASS and the presidency.
“They (NASS) are fraudulent; not only do they do a lot of budget padding, they introduce a lot of extra-legal amount just to meet all those illegal allowances that they are getting. To now accommodate their own demands, they inflate the budget. The president doesn’t know how to deal with the National Assembly; so there is always a stalemate between the National Assembly and the Presidency and the president is always going along with them because every budget the National Assembly inflates must accommodate their own demands or needs. And these are the things that people cry about; about the horrible, extraneous allowances of legislators – Senators and House of Reps. This is where it comes from”. He stated.
Okurounmu, however, tasked the president on the need to focus his fight against corruption at the National Assembly, arguing “it is immoral for those who are corrupt to be making laws for the nation. They are among the most corrupt people in Nigeria”.
He added that though, the president raised the alarm over the anomalies in the budge, he had no choice because there was a stalemate.
“He (President) has no choice because as I’ve said, there’s a stalemate. The National Assembly blackmailed him; he cannot dismiss all of them and he doesn’t have the courage to fight them. If he has the courage to fight them he can fight them but he doesn’t have the courage because he’s surrounded by corrupt people himself. So, just as the National Assembly can blackmail him, he too can blackmail the National Assembly. So, it’s a game of mutual blackmail. They are two sets of robbers, the National Assembly and the Presidency”, Okurounmu submitted.