ABUJA – The Presidency has indicted the leadership of the seventh National Assembly over alleged failure to conduct effective oversight on Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
In a chat with journalists, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, asserted that the seventh National Assembly had failed to carry out proper oversight on MDAs hence, the massive corruption and stealing of public funds that characterised former President Goodluck Jonathan regime.
Sen. David Mark and Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, current governor of Sokoto State were President of the 7th Senate and Speaker of the 7th House of Representatives respectively in the 7th National Assembly
The SSA explained that that the failure of the lawmakers to properly oversee was responsible for the alleged syphoning of the security votes in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and other agencies of government under President Jonathan.
He further noted that the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, allegedly ran the petroleum sector single-handedly because the National Assembly did not do its oversight functions.
“If the committees in the 7th National Assembly were doing their work, by checking what was happening in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Petroleum Ministry, we will not have had Diezanigate and all the other gates.
“We will not have had all the probes and investigation. The legislature concentrated less that is why we are having the spill that the 8th Assembly is having. I feel guilty and I want to apologise. If the legislature did its duty like it is doing now, I think we will not have this situation.
“This year you will have are going to have a robust executive, legislature relationship, you will not have uncommon compromises. You will have an engaging relationship.
“The Senate has in two years doubled what the 7th Senate passed. The President has said that he will do his work as the president, the legislature will do its work and the judiciary will do its work. There will be no interference.
“What is prevailing is the best executive, legislature relationship in the last 18 years”, Enang who was also a member of the 7th Senate and chairman of Rules and Business committee continued.
On alleged budget padding, Enany dismissed it insisting that it does not exist.
He explained that the National Assembly has the right to add or remove anything in the budget during budget consideration just like the executive can make amends before the budget is passed.
Enang said: “In all my legislative years, padding is a new word in the legislative lexicon. So we have to define it as a new matter. In my opinion, padding is an illegal or unlawful insertion by a person who is not expected to do it in a legal, legislative document.
“Therefore, unless a bill has been passed and forwarded to Mr President for assent, there can be no padding. If the bill had been forwarded to the president and something is inserted into that before it is assented to by any person and something is added different from what is in the votes and proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives, that is what constitutes padding.”
Enang also dismissed the insinuation that the 2017 budget was poorly implemented.
For him, the level of implementation of the 2017 budget is “very high”, especially when about N1.3 trillion has been released in two quarters.