The House of Representatives was yesterday divided as mixed reactions followed President Buhari’s letter requesting to present the 2018 budget.
The President had written the National Assembly, requesting to present the estimates of the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki read the letter on the floor of the Senate while Speaker, Yakubu Dogara read the letter to members of the Houe of Representatives.
Buhari wrote, “Pursuant to Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, may I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 1400hrs (2pm) on Tuesday, 7th of November, 2017 to formally address a joint session and lay before the National Assembly the estimates of the 2018 budget proposal.”
Members of the house immediately reacted to the content of the letter before the Rt. Hon. Speaker could finish reading it with shouts of “no” “no”. Some said “what about the 2017 budget? Have they implemented the 2017 budget? No, take it (letter) back.”
Other members of the house said they would prefer to receive the President by 11am.
Responding to the protests by members, the Speaker of the house stated that although the Constitution f the Federal Republic gave the President the right to present the budget, it did not provide the house the luxury of denying the request from the President.
“Honourable colleagues, unfortunately, the constitution does not provide that we can refuse to receive the budget estimates,” Dogara said right before he admitted the letter.
By Joseph Odeh