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2010 budget: Presentation no guarantee for early passage

By Emeka Mamah

KADUNA — The successful  presentation of this year’s budget to the two chambers of the National Assembly today will not guarantee it’s early passage, sources have told Vanguard.

It was learnt that the Senate is not comfortable with what it described as “undue radicalism” on the part of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, whom most of the senators believe is being nudged by some officials of the Presidency to engage them in a fight over supremacy and have vowed to take their pound of flesh on  President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, by delaying the passage of the budget.

According to reports, following failed moves to convince the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly to hold a joint session to allow Yar’Adua present the 2010 budget last night, the President resolved to present the Appropriation Bill separately.

The two chambers will, however, meet to harmonise their separate versions of the budget passed in their respective hallowed chambers for it to be signed into law by the President.

This is the first time in the history of democracy in the country when the President will be presenting such Bills separately in the two chambers.

However, it was learnt that some Senators are miffed over effrontery of Speaker Dimeji Bankole in allowing the crises over superiority to rage for a long time and therefore resolved to ensure that the budget is delayed until the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency find amicable solution to the issue.

The relationship between the Senate and the House of Representatives turned sour in January this year when members of the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution refused to participate in a retreat in Minna, capital of Niger State, because of their opposition to the headship of the committee by a Senator.

Some Senators who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity expressed the belief that some Presidency officials who did not want the review of the constitution, especially the aspects relating to electoral matters, were behind the problems.

It was reliably learnt that the said officials had wanted the status quo ante to be maintained in the 2011 elections until it became clear to them that Nigerians are overwhelmingly in support of Justice Mohammed Uwais report on the matter.

Another issue which will delay the budget in the Senate is the absence of Senator Iyiola Omisore, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation.

Omisore’s election was voided by the Appeal Court and the re-run election is yet to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


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