The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has denied referring to former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he spoke with the Senate Press Corps on Tuesday. A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja on Wednesday described reports that Saraki referred to ex-president as “mere mischief and misrepresentation’’.
Olaniyonu said the Senate president would not use the media to respond to Obasanjo directly or indirectly but would only write officially to him as he had earlier said. He said Saraki only responded to two questions which bordered on the feasibility of the 2016 budget and whether the details of the National Assembly Budget would be made public. “The Senate president’s answer on the first question was that the success of the 2016 Budget will depend less on oil price but more on the non-oil and independent revenue.
“That is why the Senate will lay emphasis on the scrutiny of these areas as well as ensure that leakages are blocked so that the budget can be realised without any hitch. “On the second question, he reiterated his earlier position that the Senate budget will no longer be a one-line item. “He said details of the budget of the National Assembly will be provided for all to see what goes to what budget head.
“He urged all Nigerians to realise that mistakes have been made by all stakeholders in the past and that we should all move forward by ensuring those mistakes are not repeated. “In fact his position that mistakes have been made by all of us in the past was a reference to all stakeholders like political office holders, the media, civil society, professional and business groups, among others.” The statement said the president of the Senate had maintained that he would only write a formal letter to Obasanjo to explain efforts made on some of the issues raised by the former president.
It restated that Saraki would not use any public event or the media to give any direct or indirect response to the legitimate points raised by the elder statesman and father of the nation. “The president of the Senate further urged the media to refrain from sensationalism which leads to twisting and misrepresentation of the position of public officers. “The urge to sell newspapers should not override the need for ethical standard and accuracy in presentation of news to be maintained.
“The media should equally be sensitive to other people’s feelings,’’ the statement added. Saraki addressed newsmen on Tuesday when he opened the newly refurbished Press Centre for journalists covering the activities of the Senate.