Budget presentation: Resign now, Akpabio tells Saraki, Dogara
The senator representing Akwa Ibom North West, Godswill Akpabio says the inability of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to deliver speech during President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation is a sign of weakness.
He asked them to resign their positions “peacefully.”
Mr Akpabio stated this on Wednesday in an interview with journalists shortly after Mr Buhari presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Messrs Saraki and Dogara were expected to make opening and closing remarks respectively before and after the presentation.
However, the rowdy session at the presentation made it impossible for the two presiding officers to deliver their speech.
Reacting to the development, Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, said Messrs Saraki and Dogara could not speak because they were no longer qualified to do so.
“They really couldn’t talk because they shouldn’t be sitting on those seats since they now belong to a minority party.
“When I was in the minority party, I was the minority leader; I wasn’t the Senate President.
“So I will expect that what has happened today should be a wakeup call on the Speaker and the Senate President to resign peacefully,” he said.
On the rowdy session, he said such action was a characteristic of a parliament all over the world.
“But you could also notice that the majority party, the APC, showed its strength. There was a lot of quietness; there was a lot of silence whenever the President was making key points.
“The rest were just normal nuances of politics,” he said.
The senator said the 2019 Budget would revive the decayed infrastructure in the country.
”The good thing about today’s Budget presentation is that there is hope that there is going to be what I will call a rejuvenation in terms of infrastructural decay in Nigeria.
”I believe Nigerians are very proud today that they have a government, they have a president who is very determined to change not just the mental psyche of the Nigerian child but to change the face of infrastructure in the country,” he said.
According to him, “You would have noticed something about President Buhari quite unlike what happened in the past when we used to have so much of recurrent expenses sometimes up to 70 or 78 per cent.
”There was never a time under the PDP administration that we have more than 23 per cent on capital expenses, but look at the number of capital projects he rolled out today.
”That never happened before and that was why almost all the infrastructure died and we did not even have money for maintenance of infrastructure,” he said.
The former governor, who described the presentation as a success, said all that Mr Buhari had for each region in the budget were amazing.
”It was a very good budget presentation. It captures all facets of our national life and expectations of many Nigerians,” he said.
Mr Buhari unveiled a federal budget proposal of N8.83 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year.
The 2019 total budget estimate is N300 billion lower than the N9.1 billion being implemented for the current fiscal year.
The sum of N4.04 trillion or 50.31 per cent is earmarked for Recurrent Expenditure and N2.03 trillion representing 22.98 per cent for capital projects.