Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has met with the APC leader in the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sanator Ita Enang behind Closed door at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was to prevail on the National Assembly to reconvene in order for the Supplementary budget to be passed.
Lawan and Enang made this revelation while briefing newsmen about the outcome of the meeting.
They stated that if the National Assembly did not convene as soon as possible, the 2019 elections may be hampered.
“I have come to visit the acting President to brief him on the situation in the Senate and the discussion also considered the need for the National Assembly to convene immediately for us to pass the virement on the supplementary budget sent by Mr. President.
“You know that the budget for 2018, the capital aspect, will be largely funded by foreign facilities, loans. Now we need to approve that. We also need to approve other important and essential requests, especially that of INEC and other security agencies for our security to be improved.
“It is therefore very essential that we reconvene immediately to look into those issues because our government is almost stalled and I believe that if we are able to pass the supplementary budget and virement request from Mr. President, this will enable our administration to provide the various infrastructure that we have planned to provide for Nigerians and also all the other aspects of national development.
“To do otherwise will lead to sabotage of this administration, will lead to sabotage of democracy itself because if we cannot provide the essentials for Nigerians, if we cannot provide funds for INEC to plan for the 2019 elections, what do we call ourselves?
“Certainly, in the case of INEC, for example, INEC could pick some items on the shelves but there are so many important and essential items that INEC will have to place order that could take about two to three months,” Lawan said.
Asked what the response of the Acting President was, Lawan said: “Well, I briefed the Acting President on the situation in the Senate; there is conflicting information coming out from the Senate caucuses. We said we are the majority, the APC caucus, that remains so because we remain 53 senators in the APC caucus and we have given the media the list of everyone. I read it about a week ago, every senator’s name was there and his state or her state and the PDP caucus will tell you they are in the majority. I will take this opportunity for the third time to challenge the PDP caucus to publish the names of the PDP caucus members.
“They have never done that, they will only tell you that they are 55, they are 60, they are 65. Publish the names let Nigerians see where their senators are.
“We have done our own and it is also important that whatever crisis we have in the Senate and indeed in the National Assembly that Nigerians don’t suffer. We as politicians can do anything; it is a parliamentary practice.
“In fact, in Parliament, worse things could happen but parliaments that are responsible and responsive will always take into account the national interest, work assiduously to ensure that the country does not suffer.
“Here, in our case we have our budget suffering; we are not able to implement anything today because we are not able as a legislature, the National Assembly, to pass the request of Mr. President. So I believe that we should be on the same page with Nigerians, we are not aliens; we are representing Nigerians.
“Therefore what Nigerians want today is for this administration to provide those essentials that it has promised and it has started providing. That we should plan properly for free, fair and transparent elections in 2019.”
The Senate leader who denied the claim by PDP caucus of the house that some APC lawmakers wanted to force their way into the chambers to plot the impeachment of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he was hearing about the allegation for the first time.
Enang said: “Just in line with what the Senate Leader had said, we are still appealing to the National Assembly to reconvene. You remember that we passed the budget with understanding that the greater amount of it would be gotten by foreign loans.”
Enang also announced that the head of the PDP in the Senate is formally joining the APC family in a big ceremony on Wednesday the 8th if August in Akwa Ibom State.
“So, the head of the PDP who olds all the documents of the PDP, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio (CON), is coming over with a great team and other minorities will join the APC family and we are good and strong,” Enang added
“Although this was approved, that there would be loans, amount to be gotten was not approved. The Fiscal Responsibility Act requires that the President should specifically state the amount the government wants to get from foreign loans and present it before the National Assembly.
“That letter has been presented to the National Assembly and the National Assembly has to pass that amount before the money could be obtained from foreign financing institutions.
“This is what we are asking and if it didn’t happen in the next few months, we may have a complete government shutdown. What we are receiving from the federation accounts as the Federal Government’s share of the capital component is not enough to sustain even the 15 or 20 percent of the budget.
“So there may be a complete government shutdown and I know that Nigerians are not going to like it. That is why we are still appealing.”
Enang spoke on division in the Senate. He said:“Now the leader of the Senate has said that they are 53, but I want to assure him that the APC has harvested more people from the PDP and other political parties.”