Thursday, January 28, 2016 8:05 pm
Senate President, Bukola Saraki has offered an interim response to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter, in which Obasanjo upbraided members of the National Assembly for reckless spending and opulent lifestyle.
Saraki in a response on behalf of Senators said the 8th Senate is committed to good governance, transparency and accountability and he promised
The letter sent by Obasanjo to the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara tried to persuade the duo to shed their plans to buy 469 cars at a time when the economy of Nigeria is nose-diving. It was dated 13 January.
Said Obasanjo in his appeal: “It must not be seen and said that those who, as leaders, call for sacrifice from the citizenry are living in obscene opulence. It will not only be insensitive but callously so. It would seem that it is becoming a culture that election into the legislative arm of government at the national level in particular is a licence for financial misconduct and that should not be. The National Assembly now has a unique opportunity of presenting a new image of itself. It will help to strengthen, deepen, widen and sustain our democracy.”
Obasanjo said since members of the National Assembly already have cars provisioned for them in their emoluments, it will be wrong and insensitive to waste resources, about N5billion, on buying so many cars, when a pool of few cars will do.
“Whatever name it is disguised as, it is unnecessary and insensitive. A pool of a few cars for each Chamber will suffice for any Committee Chairman or members for any specific duty. The waste that has gone into cars, furniture, housing renovation in the past was mind-boggling and these were veritable sources of waste and corruption. That was why they were abolished. Bringing them back is inimical to the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
But Saraki told Obasanjo in his response posted on his website that:
” I will want to assure President Obasanjo(former) that the leadership and membership of the 8th Senate are committed to good governance, transparency, accountability, due process and responsiveness to the economic reality of our nation. It is for this reason that the legislative chamber has introduced bold and progressive reforms in the management of the finances of the National Assembly.
” This is of even greater importance during a tough fiscal period for our country. Like i said during my closing address at the plenary after our debate on the 2016 Budget, the Senate must lead by example in terms of our own funding, budgets and accountability – showing, beyond doubt, value for money, “Saraki said in his Twitter account.
” I have canvassed that we must lay bare the budget of the Senate, nay the National Assembly and its affiliated institutions.I equally canvassed the need to strengthen the capacity of the legislative institution to carry our effective oversight of the executive arm so that we can ensure the budget leads to the realization of the policy objectives of the Buhari Administration.
” Again, let me reiterate my position in the speech I made this morning on the need for us to work towards blocking all areas of revenue leakages while also strengthening the anti-corruption agencies so that the little resources that are now available will serve the interest of the overwhelming majority.
“As a former President and a father of the nation that we all hold in high esteem, I intend to reply the letter and outline the actions the Senate is taking to address his concerns.
“In conclusion, I appreciate President Obasanjo for his consistent role in always reminding those of us in government about our responsibilities to the general public and offering timely advise where necessary,” he said.