APC gets early win in House of Reps, stalls 2014 budget debate

Inside the chambers of the House of Representatives

An APC lawmaker accused President Jonathan of breaching the law in the presentation of the budget

The All Progressive Congress, APC, secured an early lead Tuesday in its struggle against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, after its lawmakers instigated a reschedule of the 2014 budget debate at the House of Representatives, as directed by the APC’s leadership.

The House of Representatives said it would now commence debate on the budget- originally scheduled for Tuesday- only after reviewing a claim by an APC member that President Goodluck Jonathan failed to submit the budget estimates of 31 statutory government agencies, alongside the national budget.

A six-member select committee, headed by the chairman, House Committee on Business and Rules, Sam Tsokwa, will advise the house leadership within 24 hours on whether the process of submitting the budget by the president, breached the Fiscal Responsibility Act, as claimed by Emmanuel Jime, who represents Benue State.

Under the 2007 law, the 31 agencies, which include the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, are mandated to submit their budgets to the National Assembly through the Finance Ministry.

That stipulation has been violated for years, and the Senate and the House have struggled to compel the executive to comply. In 2013, as with 2012, the two chambers threatened to suspend consideration of the entire budget until the outstanding estimates were provided.

The threats were never implemented as the budgets were often passed on a compromise between the two arms of government.

At a tense session Tuesday, Mr. Jime, who defected to the APC last week, reintroduced that longstanding concern as a breach of the law, apparently in keeping with the House APC caucus’ vow to heed its party’s directive that its members frustrate all executive proposals.

The party has said it will only reverse its order after Mr. Jonathan restored normalcy in Rivers State, where a standoff between Governor Chibuike Amaechi and loyalists of Mr. Jonathan -the two backed by factions of the state assembly- has degenerated into repeated crises.

Mr. Amaechi recently defected from the PDP to the APC.

At a meeting on Monday, the APC national leadership urged its members in the House of Representatives to be firm and ensure its directive on executive proposals, is implemented.

With its considerable numerical advantage in the House as against the Senate, Tuesday’s sitting was seen as a test of the party’s lawmakers’ commitment to the mandate.

Arguing on a point of order as the budget was introduced for open debate, Mr. Jime outlined the requirement of the Fiscal Responsibility law and warned that the House would be complicit if it failed to compel the executive to compliance.

“We can never allow a breach of our law. This particular budget presentation has breached our laws,” he said.

Mr. Jime’s arguments were however addressed by John Enoh, a ranking PDP member, who chairs the House Appropriation Committee. Mr. Enoh spoke to an applause from PDP members, highlighting the partisan tinge of the debate.

He said the estimates of the 31 corporations had been submitted, but argued they are to be reviewed only by the committees responsible for each of the organization. “I disagree that the budget is presented in breach of any law whatsoever,” he argued.

The speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, however said Mr. Enoh’s response was “his opinion” while Mr. Jime’s concern was a “matter of law”.

He mandated a committee to advise the House on Wednesday.


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  • Peter Irene

    We want light. The country is in darkness. Please tell Jonathan.

  • Joe

    This is the beauty of a two party system. Now budgets will not be passed by compromise but with the interest of Nigerians as the overriding consideration. How come Rivers state budget is 74/26% infavour of capital allocation whereas GEJ estimates are weighted exactly thesame ratio in favour of recurrent expenditure when only 1% of Nigerians are workers? If answers to these anomalies can only be found by defections to APC, all Nigerians should say “Carry go APC”!!!!

  • Monday

    Enoh’s submission was his opinion while Jime’s was a matter of law. Tanbuwal an APC apologist is carrying out his benefactors order. A desperado trying to hang on to the seat even if it means selling his soul. Why cant Tanbuwal be true to himself be a man and declare for APC instead of pretending to be PDP while the opposite is obvious. Aminu Tanbuwal is a mole of APC in PDP. That is the fact.

    • emmy

      You are a moron. Go and ready your constitution before accusing the speaker.
      l am very u dont have any other job apart from politics

    • Angryman

      He has always been, even before he became the Speaker
      His speakership was part of the North’s agenda to frustrate GEJ government
      They planned it immediately after the 2011 elections
      It was all in Vanguard Newspapers

      • Kallamu magaji

        Where in vanguard?

        • Angryman

          Sorry , I didn’t keep a record of it
          It looked like a joke then
          But it has proved very accurate
          It was clearly stated how the North planned to sabotage Jonathan’s administration
          You can search the Newspapers between the elections and election of Tambuwal as Speaker
          Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do the search
          Also it might be difficult locating the story online since headlines change frequently
          However, I believe others must have read the story as well
          You can take my word for it

        • Angryman

          As I said earlier I didn’t keep a copy of the publication

          Searching Vanguard produced the excerpts below

          It is not actually the story I was talking about but at least you can see that I knew what I was talking about

          SPEAKER’S JOB: Northern leaders hijack campaign

          on June 05, 2011 / in News 12:20 am / Comments

          •Move against PDP’s zoning
          •Party settles for consensus candidate, to sanction errant Reps-elect

          By JIDE AJANI & HENRY UMORU

          Following its meeting of Friday, May 20, 2011, some northern political leaders are already demonstrating their desire to continue their opposition of the Jonathan presidency by carrying the battle to the floor of the House of Representatives, using the contest for the job of speaker as the platform, Sunday Vanguard can reveal.

          This is being done with the instrumentality of tacit mobilization for Hon. Aminu Tambuwal who is seeking to upturn the zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as well as confront President Goodluck Jonathan on the matter ——

          At their meeting, one of the leaders in attendance reminded participants of an earlier advice that “Mr. President should be put under check”, using all means possible

          The desire, at the end of the day, according to sources, “is to ensure that the House of Representatives is used as a bulwark of opposition to President Jonathan just as it was between 2000 and 2003 when the House demonstrated to then President Olusegun Obasanjo that he could be confronted”.

          The group of northern leaders, in addition, plans to frustrate Jonathan by insisting on rigourous oversight function under a Tambuwal speakership –
          Here you have it!