…Says legislators won’t be rubber stamp to Executive arm
BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has declared that the National Assembly has powers to introduce new projects, add, remove or reduce items in the Appropriations Bills.
This is as he vowed that the House, under his leadership, will not be a rubber stamp to the Executive, stressing that they will do everything to uphold and protect the independence of the legislature.
Speaking during a motion on matters of privilege moved by Hon Lawal Abubakar (APC, Adamawa), Dogara stressed that the framers of Nigeria’s Constitution vested the powers of law making in the legislature while execution or implementation is vested with the Executive just as judiciary interprets the law to ensure checks and balances.
He further said; “A declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, it is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive.
“The Appropriation Act is a law enacted by the parliament and that public officers from the President to his ministers have sworn to uphold the Constitution and the said refusal or failure to implement the budget is violation of the Constitution which has consequences.
“When it comes to the budget, the power of the purse in a presidential system of government rests in the parliament.”
Dogara said the Constitution designers made it that way because the executive is just one man, (the President), while every other person in the executive is acting on behalf of the President.
“So, the relationship between the President and every other person there, is that of servant and the master. It is only in the parliament where we have representatives of the people that there is equality and you can say your mind on any issue, you can bring matters of priority the way you like.
“The worst the Executive can do is to say they will not sign and after 30 days, if we can muster two-thirds, and it doesn’t have to be two-thirds of the entire membership, once the quorum is formed, two-third of the members sitting and voting, we can over-ride the veto of the President and pass it into law.”
“We are men of honour whether legislators or executive. We are bound by the oath of office to faithfully execute that law and in the case of the executive, if it is not done, all of us know the very consequences. I don’t want to call it by its name, we know the consequences”, he maintained.
Earlier, while moving the motion, Hon. Abubakar argued that his privilege as a member was breached by statements credited to Ag. President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was quoted to have said on two occasions that the National Assembly has no powers to introduce new projects to the budget before passing it.
Abubakar said in the United States of America where Nigeria copied its presidential system, any budget proposal sent to the Congress is presumed ‘dead on arrival’ and it only comes ‘alive’ when passed by the National Assembly because the legislature has the powers to tamper with the proposal.