House Of Reps’ Member Says Budget Padding Is Constitutional – A member of the House of Representatives has revealed that the budget padding in the House is not illegal.
It had been revealed by by the former House Appropriation Committee Chairman, Abdul-Mumin Jibrin, that Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers, padded the 2016 budget to N40 billion.
Abiodun Olasupo, who represents the Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/ Iwajowa federal constituency of Oyo State, said lawmakers were empowered by the constitution to alter budgets.
“If you look at the Nigeria Constitution, what Honourable Abdul-Muminin Jibrin refer to as padding is tantamount to what the constitution defines as the function of a member of House of Representative because the constitution guarantees the three major function of making law, appropriation, and over sight.
“In appropriation it is either for us to add, subtract or change and what Hon Jibrin has been trying to say is that we are changing, inserting and adding, so if that is what he calls padding then that is what the constitution expects the house of representative to do.
“In my own opinion been an active member during the budget defence, I was involved in the budgeting system of up to six ministries, I participated in FERMA, NAVY, health institutions, governmental agencies and a whole lot of them. The entire budgeting system make it possible that if you are elected as a member of national assembly and you are not ready to do what Muminin Jibrin calls padding, then you are a failure, because basically the budget that is been brought to the national assembly does not reflect the principle of federal character as guaranteed by the constitution”, he said.
“When the executive are bringing the budget they are not considering my constituency, so they will bring a budget to me and I am expected to approve it, and if it doesn’t have the interest of my constituency you want me to keep quiet? No I won’t. What I will also do is to insert what will favour the people of my constituency, which is what Jibrin calls ‘padding’.
“I am not saying somebody is wrong or right but I do not see what is bad in attracting projects to my constituency. For the first time in the history of this country a budget presented by the executive was reduced when a president personally presented the budget to the national assembly personally. It means that we are shifting away from impunity, and corruption that has characterised the government of the past”, he added.