By Luka Binniyat &Inalegwu Shaibu
Elder statesman and former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nation, Alhaji Maitama Sule, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, have described the over N127 billion allocated to National Assembly in the 2010 budgetÂ as â€œwastefulâ€ and â€œunacceptable.â€
The duo, however prayed for the fast and full recovery of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua.
Alhaji Sule and Chief Ikimi, who both spoke yesterday at the launching of the book,Then Spoke the Thunder, by Peter Enahoro, in Abuja, condemned this yearâ€™s National Assembly budget allocation, saying it represented over twenty percent of the nationâ€™s total budget in the face of the economic hardship facing the country.
Alhaji Sule blamed the legislature for lack of prudence and also the executive for over indulging the legislature in the face of national hardship.
On his part, Chief Ikimi said lack of frugality on the part of the legislature will jeopardise governmentâ€™s efforts to provide essential social amenities in the country.
Chief Ikimi said such massive expenditure was one of the factors responsible for the collapse of the second republic under former President Shehu Shagari.
Ikimi said: â€œThe Shagari Second Republic virtually collapsed beneath the weight of the then massive expenditure that was needed to sustain the excesses of the legislature. What was considered as being too expensive at the time would be a mere pittance when compared with the colossal sum being guzzled by the present National Assembly.
â€œWe are told that up to 20 percent of the Federal Government budget is deployed to service the National Assembly today. If that is true, it is certainly unacceptable. We know that more than 75 percent of the members of the National Assembly never won elections, to take them there and that is why many commentators have probably rightly described the National Assembly as mostly a collection of fortune hunters.”
Speaking on the need for Federal Government to exercise prudence in the allocation of resources, Ikimi said; â€œif national revenues become so mishandled, I cannot see what revenue would be available to be deployed to provide electricity, healthcare, roads, etc.”