- The battle between the Senate and Babatunde Fashola may not end soon as the minister fires back at the upper legislative bodyv
- Fashola also told Senator Danjuma Goje to go learn how to behave following the lawmaker's comment against the minister
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Nigeria’s minister for works, power and housing has again come hard on the Senate accusing the upper legislative chamber of attempting to trivialise the issues he raised recently.
Fashola, in a statement made available to NAIJ.com on Thursday, July 7, said it was regrettable that the Senate committee chairman on appropriation, Danjuma Goje, could trivialise what he said about slashing the budgetary allocation to key national infrastructure by the National Assembly.
The statement personally signed by Fashola said the senator’s reference to the patriotism of legislators should not be spoken but demonstrated as regards his calls for a more developmental budgeting approach.
Fashola, who is in Zimbabwe for the 35th Annual General Meeting of the Shelter Afrique, said his response was to redirect the thinking of some people to the issues between him and the senators.
“In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the second Niger Bridge that connects the East and West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together.
“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies,” he said in the statement.
Fashola said he was not blackmailing the Senate because he has respect for the parliament as a place where very vigorous debates about development should take place.
He however advised Senator Goje to acquire the temperament for such debate and disagreement.
“Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement,” he said.
He described as unparliamentary Goje’s admonition that he (Fashola) should learn how to ‘behave’ like a ‘minister’ and the reference to the Senate awaiting how he would be ‘handled’ by the House of Representatives.
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“I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply,” he said noting that Goje’s faux pas gave a clearer insight into how the senator and those who may be minded like him may be thinking having transited from the executive arm to the legislative.
“It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function.
“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out,” he said.
NAIJ.com had earlier reported that the Nigerian Senate asked the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), to resign his appointment if he was burdened by the volume of work at his ministry.
The chairman Senate committee on appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, made the call on Wednesday, July 5, in reaction to statement credited to Fashola where he faulted the lawmakers for unilaterally altering allocations of the ministry of works in the 2017 budget.
Watch this video as Nigerians react to whether the Senate should be scrapped: