Saraki replies Obasanjo, says Senate committed to transparency

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, Nigeria

The senate president, Bukola Saraki, has reacted to a letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to Mr. Saraki and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in which Mr. Obasanjo accused the National Assembly of corruption, greed, impunity and lawlessness.

Mr. Obasanjo’s letter, published exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, said most members of the 469-member National Assembly were receiving constituency allowances without maintaining constituency offices as the law requires of them.

The former leader said he was distressed by the massive corruption and lawlessness at the National Assembly and other arms and tiers of government.

In Mr. Saraki’s statement, obtained from his media office on Thursday, the senate president assured that the Senate under his leadership was committed to good governance, transparency, accountability, due process and responsiveness to the economic reality of our nation.

“It is for this reason that the legislative chamber has introduced bold and progressive reforms in the management of the finances of the National Assembly,” he said.

He also said he was canvassing making the National Assembly budget open to the public.

The full statement:

Yesterday, I acknowledged that I received a letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in which he called the attention of the National Assembly to some issues.

I will want to assure President Obasanjo that the leadership and membership of the 8th Senate are committed to good governance, transparency, accountability, due process and responsiveness to the economic reality of our nation. It is for this reason that the legislative chamber has introduced bold and progressive reforms in the management of the finances of the National Assembly.

This is of even greater importance during a tough fiscal period for our country. Like I said during my closing address at the plenary after our debate on the 2016 Budget, the Senate must lead by example in terms of our own funding, budgets and accountability – showing, beyond doubt, value for money. I have canvassed that we must lay bare the budget of the Senate, nay the National Assembly and its affiliated institutions.

I equally canvassed the need to strengthen the capacity of the legislative institution to carry our effective oversight of the executive arm so that we can ensure the budget leads to the realization of the policy objectives of the Buhari Administration. Again, let me reiterate my position in the speech I made this morning on the need for us to work towards blocking all areas of revenue leakages while also strengthening the anti-corruption agencies so that the little resources that are now available will serve the interest of the overwhelming majority.

As a former president and a father of the nation that we all hold in high esteem, I intend to reply the letter and outline the actions the Senate is taking to address his concerns.

In conclusion, I appreciate President Obasanjo for his consistent role in always reminding those of us in government about our responsibilities to the general public and offering timely advice where necessary.

Signed
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki


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