The House of Representatives on Thursday stated that a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is the grandfather of corruption in the country, accusing him of introducing corruption to the National Assembly on its first working day in 1999.
The former President had while delivering a lecture at the first
Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos on Wednesday had said the
“National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be
purged,” adding that the parliament operates a cabal “worse than any
cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system
at any time.”
But addressing journalists, the Chairman, House Committee on Media
& Publicity, Hon.
Abdulrazak Namdas maintained that Obasanjo has no
moral authority to discuss corruption, adding that he wants to bring
down Buhari’s government and that he is “acting as lifetime opposition
In the words of Namdas, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement
credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a lecture he delivered
recently, wherein, in his characteristic manner accused everybody but
himself of corruption.
“He ventured to accuse the National Assembly of Budget padding,
accused the House of criminal activities of threatening the life of a
“whistleblower”, lampooned constituency projects which he approved as
President, ventured to discuss the budget of National Assembly which is
INamdas said the House would ordinarily not join issues with the
former President as he has held an office that deserves respect and
“However, because of the material misstatement of facts, outright
lies and falsehoods, and mischievous innuendo introduced in his
statement, we are left with no option but to correct him.
“We have repeatedly maintained that there was no “padding” of the
2016 Appropriation Act, which is a legitimate document passed by the
National Assembly, authenticated by the Clerk to the National Assembly
as provided in the Acts Authentication Act and assented to by Mr.
President. It is most unfortunate that a former President of Chief
Obasanjo’s stature would allow himself to be hoodwinked and procured by a
renegade member of the House, who embarked on massive propaganda and
lies just because he was removed from office.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no crime that was committed by
the National Assembly by exercising its constitutional function of
appropriation. If Chief Obasanjo has an issue with the execution of the
2016 Budget or indeed other Appropriation Acts, he should direct his
“He claimed that the National Assembly Budget is very high, when by
all standards, the National Assembly is grossly underfunded and is
hampered from effectively and legitimately carrying out its
constitutionally assigned functions. The National Assembly Budget funds a
bureaucracy of about 5,000 civil servants. It has some other agencies
under its preview such as the National Assembly Service Commission with
its own staff of about 500; even the Public Complaints Commission is now
a parastatal of the National Assembly.
“National Assembly Budget also funds the National Institute for
Legislative Studies, which is a legislative think-tank and highly rated
academic institution that serves both National and State Houses of
Assembly and even international legislators. All these agencies also
have their capital budget including development of their headquarters,
procurement of office equipment, procurement of regular items for
running their offices; the National Assembly maintain legislative aides
of about 3,000 in number, that aid the work of the Assembly; it also
conducts regular public hearings involving the media and stakeholders
and oversight activities, involving huge sums of money.
“The cost implication of running the National Assembly is high
because of the nature of our Presidential democracy. Then of course,
there are 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives
that require proper equipment to function effectively. They require
adequate travel and transport support to carry out legislative
functions. The National Assembly also has buildings and offices to build
and maintain. National Assembly staff and members attend conferences,
trainings, seminars to keep abreast of legislative developments
worldwide. The activities are very encompassing and expensive.
“It is also unbecoming of a former President to quote figures of sums
of money that are factually incorrect. No member of the House of
Representatives receives N10m every month. The salaries and allowances
of members of the House are as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation
Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). Of course further sums of
money are spent as running costs, that is, the cost of running the
office of a member.
“If a Minister, Chief Executive or Director in a Ministry travels on
official duties, for instance, do you include the cost of his ticket and
accommodation as part of his salary or allowances? Does the cost of
stationeries and maintenance of equipment like computers used in their
offices, form part of their salaries and allowances?
“These are some of the costs that must be taken care of by the
National Assembly and the media calls these costs “jumbo pay”. For
goodness sake, the National Assembly is an arm of government, not just
an ordinary agency of government.”
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