The face-off between the Presidency and House of Representatives gathered more storm yesterday as the House vowed not to withdraw its threat of sanctioning the President should he fail to improve on his performance on budget implementation by September.
It declared that none of its members would bow to any pressure to rescind its decision, adding that the only interest of the House was to ensure that life was made better for the ordinary Nigerian.
The House had last Thursday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to direct finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to release funds meant for the execution of capital projects.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed, stated that the House had become extremely disturbed about the trend of events regarding budget implementation.
“Whilst we are aware that all revenue generating agencies have surpassed their annual target by mid this year, the House is worried that this positive development did not reflect the implementation of the budget for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
“This trend if not arrested would worsen the already fragile state of the nation, hence the need for our quick intervention .We would continue to preserve our resolve as one indivisible country,” he said.
Also yesterday, Representative Chudi Uwazurike, (PDP, Imo State) declared that the pressure being mounted on lawmakers by their constituents had made the House to rise in unison against the failure to implement the budget.
“There is of course frustration over the major function of the parliament, which is budget. Remember that the whole point of democracy is to make life easier and more meaningful.
“There are urgent challenges in this country at the level of emergency. Those emergencies range from infrastructure to the failing schools, to our airports that are in a shambles, poor water supply to the basic necessities.
“And this particular budget was treated and passed in such a way that whatever the executive asked for, they really got. So there is no excuse whatsoever for failure; and we are thoroughly disappointed with Mr. President that up till now less than 30 per cent performance is recorded. And worse still, quite a lot of it has not been cash-backed yet…”
Uwazurike continued: “So we have a situation where a lot needs to be done. We talk with our constituents; the 469 members of the National Assembly are the direct representatives of the people. So we feel the pressure. We are the ones who get this budget passed and we get to our constituents on weekly basis. If only the executive branch can actually deem itself being in partnership with the parliament, the country will move forward faster.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Benue State chapter, Baba Agan, has described the impeachment move against President Goodluck Jonathan by the National Assembly as a mere tactic by members to get money from the president.
Again, who made his position public in an interview with journalists in Makurdi, maintained that the impeachment move would not be pursued, as it was not the first of its kind to have ended up as an empty threat for selfish ends.