“They are thieves. I have always held the view that they are thieves, can you all see it now?”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja, noted that the current crisis in the National Assembly (House of Representatives) has vindicated him.
Obasanjo had earlier stated that there were thieves in the National Assembly. He urged Buhari to ensure that money meant for constituency projects should not be released to federal lawmakers.
This issue apparently came because of the problem between Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Abdulmumin Jibrin, the former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation. Jibrin had earlier accused Dogara and the leaders of the House of padding the 2016 budget.
Obasanjo who spoke to Premium Times yesterday on telephone at his home in Abeokuta after he left Abuja encouraged Nigerians to protest any move by lawmakers to enrich themselves with funds meant for constituency projects.
“That is criminal and they should be held accountable for it,” He said.
“There should be a showdown between what is right and what is wrong. After such a showdown, what is right will definitely prevail and the criminals will be put to shame.” He added
“They are the contractors, the jury, the judge and prosecutors.”
“They put the projects in the budgets and they do the projects by themselves or through contractors they nominate. Where is integrity? Where is honesty?” He asked.
He (Obasanjo) noted that the lawmakers, instead of concentrating on their work, they are particularly trying to jobs that are meant for the Executive Arm of government.
“Who supervises the job? Who ascertains that the job has been done? It is not in their place to execute projects. It is illegal,” he said.
“They are thieves. I have always held the view that they are thieves, can you all see it now?” He insists
Ex-President Obasanjo who was Nigeria’s president between 1999 – 2007, noted that he never gave out any funds in the name of constituency projects to lawmakers. Their job is to approve the budget, he said. The executive arm is to execute projects for the development of the country.
“I explained to them that it was the job of the executive to execute projects to develop the country, while that of lawmakers was to approve the budget.”
“They should be lawmakers, not law breakers.”
“The question to ask is: assuming they execute the contracts, although we know they don’t, they usually pocket the monies. But assuming they execute the contracts, what becomes of the projects in future when they cease to be in the National Assembly? Who maintains them? When a project is not built by states, local governments or federal governments, they do not have a future,” he said.