Senate will not relinquish power to Executive -Saraki

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Thursday vowed that the Senate will not for any reason concede its powers as enshrined in the constitution to the executive.

Saraki’s vow was necessitated by a Point-of-Order raised by the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sen. Bala Na’Allah at plenary.

Na ‘Allah citing Order 43 of Senate Standing Rule, quoted media reports attributed to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Acting President to the effect that the National Assembly was not empowered by the constitution alter the budget,

The lawmaker said, ”We have operated the Constitution from 1999 to date and I have had the privilege to work with the Acting President while I was practicing in Lagos as a lawyer.

”We did a lot of things together. So, he is somebody that I know so much.

“I will rather believe that what was alleged to have been said could not have been said by him and even if he spoke on the matter, he was misquoted.

”For the avoidance of doubt, this same Constitution we operated from 1999 to date has section 80, and the title of section 80 is `Power and Control over Public Funds.”

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Na’ Allah went on to read provisions of sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Constitution to support his argument, adding the Constitution recognised that Nigeria operated a federal structure.

 

He continued, ”This is what gave birth to a bi-cameral legislature – the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House provides representation based on population and land mass while the Senate is based on equality of states.

”So, I know that the Acting President who is a Professor of law is sufficiently trained in law to know that the National Assembly has powers to tinker with the budget.

”I am not making a case for him and I do not want to believe that he said what has been alleged that he said.

”I also want to assuage the fears of my colleagues that what was alleged to have been said does not represent the spirit of the framers of our Constitution,” Na’Allah concluded. Senate,

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in his response, said that there was no ambiguity in the Constitution on the responsibility of the National Assembly.

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Saraki said, “This matter has been cleared and settled by the Constitution. So, I don’t think there are any issues here that are vague.

”I will like to believe too that the Acting President must have been wrongly quoted.”

”I want to reassure our members on this because it is very important. Based on what we have heard, you may be concerned that one way or another, the leadership has given up some of these powers.

”That is not the case. I believe that as responsible statesmen, there are times we consult and do our best to work with the Executive and assist them.

”But, as we bend backwards, I don’t think that it should be misrepresented that powers given to us in the Constitution do not exist.

”That is not the case, and this Senate will continue to defend the Constitution and ensure that anything we do is in line with the laws of the land,” Saraki stated.