Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has said with all boldness that Nigerian legislators are rogues and armed robbers. He made this statement over the lingering budget padding accusations in the legislature.
In the month of March it will be recalled that President Buhari demoted over 184 officials for the crime of budget padding. The president expressed his absolute confusion over the use of the term “padding”.
Well it seems that Obasanjo is still spotting executive thieves in the government. Thus warns Mr president over the dubious caliber of people parading themselves as lawmakers in his administration.
There is an ongoing rift between Yakubu Dogara, and former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin over budget padding.
“They are thieves. I have always held the view that they are thieves, can you all see it now?”– Obasanjo
Confident of his view of the lawmakers, Obasanjo implies that the only way to truly sanitize the system is to make people of integrity the nation’s legislators.
“Integrity is necessary for all systems and institutions to be strong. Today, rogues, armed robbers are in the state houses of assembly and the national assembly. What sort of laws will they make?”
The Nigerian lawmakers who feel slighted by the words of the former president have lashed back at him accusing him of promoting that same corruption.
They dismissed his claims saying he was getting back at them for not complying with his agenda to prolong his tenure during his time as the President of the federation. Olusegun Obasanjo was Nigeria’s president from 1999 – 2007.
Without fretting or apologies, Obasanjo maintains his stance. He dared the lawmakers to reveal to Nigerians what they earn on monthly bases.
Earlier in the year, he had challenged Bukola Saraki (Senate President) and Yakubu Dogara (House of Representatives Speaker) to make their financial records open for public scrutiny.
Still on the budget padding saga, Obasanjo has sternly warned Buhari not to release funds meant for constituency projects to federal lawmakers.
In his interview with Premium Times, the former president had this to say:
“They (lawmakers) are the contractors, the jury, the judge and prosecutors. They put the projects in the budgets and they do the projects by themselves or through contractors they nominate. Where is integrity? Where is honesty?”
“Who supervises the job? Who ascertains that the job has been done? It is not in their place to execute projects. It is illegal.”
“I explained to them that it was the job of the executive to execute projects to develop the country, while that of lawmakers was to approve the budget.”
“The question to ask is: assuming they execute the contracts, although we know they don’t, they usually pocket the monies. But assuming they execute the contracts, what becomes of the projects in future when they cease to be in the National Assembly? Who maintains them? When a project is not built by states, local governments or federal governments, they do not have a future.”