NIGERIA: Jubrin, Dogara et al And Our Change

Peter Claver Oparah
By Peter Claver Oparah August 2, 2016 21:09

Related Coverage You May Like


Current Political Article Highlights


Let all the dirty details of the same shenanigans with which past governments and politicians have robbed the country continue to flip open for Nigerians to know where indeed the rain started beating them.

Continue below with the full current political topic.

NIGERIA: Jubrin, Dogara et al And Our Change

As the Speaker of the University of Lagos Students Union Government between 1993 and 1994, at a time student unionism had not been castrated and rendered an impotent buffoon it has become today, I know a bit of budget presentation and its ratification process by parliament and subsequent signing into law by the President. Yes, you might say student union politics is different from national politics and you might be right to the extent that student union politics, in its very best, as we had at that time, is far more refined and sophisticated than the rumble in the jungle we have in Nigeria as politics. In student union politics, as we had in ULSU in those days, you have members of parliament drawn from all departments and faculties, an admixture of the brightest and best drawn from various shades and races.

When the campaign for change was trending, there was a firm promise that the old sordid way must give place for Nigeria to recover its battered soul and move on in the comity of progressive nations. This was the central message of Change and the philosophical gird of the Muhammadu Buhari regime that berthed in May last year. Yes, things must change from the very insidious ways that have seen Nigeria almost crumbled to its knees in five decades of uncensored larceny. The old, stale order that has fired the shooting pins of unimaginable corruption, which has hobbled the prospects of an oil rich nation for decades must be overthrown for a newer and saner order that will lead Nigeria’s recovery and kick start its meaningful quest for greatness.

In the budget cycle, the executive proposes its yearly financial estimates and lays it before the parliament. The parliament on its part and in line with its constitutional duties, goes through the budget proposal, scrutinises the provisions, crosses the t’s and dots the i’s to ensure that the resources are rightly allocated to the budget heads without inflating allocations. In ULSU in those days, budget periods are the most active periods when parliamentarians, drawn from the various departments, faculties and interests, come to the parliament with their calculators and other mathematical gadgets to scrutinise the budget to ensure that cheeky members of the executive do not inject their own interests into the budget through inflating the costs of items in the budget heads for their own selfish benefits. As parliamentarians, it was not our duty to insert newer budget heads (or line items) to the proposal because it is not the duty of the parliament to propose projects but to scrutinise and ensure that funds were appropriately allocated.

It is not the duty of legislators to allocate funds. That is exclusively an executive function. It is not within the power of legislators to insert new projects into the budget. It is not the duty of legislators to assume the duty of executives but to checkmate their antics by ensuring that budgets are not inflated for selfish reasons or funds are realistically allocated. No law anywhere in the world, gives the legislature, invested with powers to scrutinise and approve, the added power to insert new budget heads or line items in a budget. It is absurd seeing legislators today shamelessly parroting the nonsense in the media that legislators have powers to include line items or budget heads in a budget. This is pure fallacy and no law in any part of the world grants legislators power to assume executive duties. Most importantly, it is the function of the parliament to monitor budget execution to ensure the executive does not deviate from rightly implementing what were approved in the budget.

For decades, the Nigerian legislature has brought to bear on the culture of budgets, a deep corruptive influence by taking over the duties of the executive by initiating fresh budget heads outside the proposals of the executive. It is not like a military take over but rather a rip off from the compromise it struck with equally dubious executives that had the single mindset of defrauding the masses and growing fat on the lifeblood of the Nigerian masses. At the end of each budget year, monies in the budget had been shared between the executive and the legislature while the masses hold on to empty shells of multi trillion Naira annual budgets that end up not holding even a flimsy candle for them. A culture of inserting personal projects into the budget in the guise of constituency projects has ensured that parliamentarians not only infringe the constitutional culture of budgets but corrupt it for their personal interest by initiating dubious, self serving interests and going further to directly and indirectly execute such projects and making most illicit capital of it. This is the anomaly of constituency projects that has endured for a very long time and had drained the country by appeasing the corrupt tendencies of legislators, now fondly called legislooters, in deference to their insatiable crave for illicit emoluments. This has ensured that Nigerian budgets, before the coming of Buhari, has largely been shared between corrupt and hawkish parliamentarians and an equally corrupt, acquiescing and wheeling-dealing executive. In the sequel, Nigerians, for whose interests budgets are supposedly made, had been left high and dry. This was one of the cultures the change agenda targets and which was why we saw the drama that attended this year’s budget as the old rugged culture clashed with the determination of the Buhari regime to change this culture for the betterment of the Nigerian masses.

In the present Abdulmuminu Jubrin versus Yakubu Dogara et al dirty slugfest over the padding of the 2016 budget, let us know that we are not dealing with a new culture but an old culture that has long endured but is being threatened by change. Poor Dogara, Jubrin and their fellow legislators, they read badly of the change for which Nigerians endured massive onslaughts to bring in last year. They are rugged students of the old order that came to a head on collision with President Buhari’s unsmiling commitment to cap the wellhead of corruption and free hitherto stolen funds to attend to the country’s many challenges. We are having the open sesame happening presently because we voted for change otherwise, the rotten order of the executive and the legislature colluding to share the yearly budgets would have passed quietly as it has been before Buhari came. So budget padding either by soiled civil servants planting and inflating budget heads for their selfish interests, corrupt ministers and politicians, appropriating all for their selfish benefits or by supercilious parliamentarians, inserting various dubious interests into the budget in the guise of constituency projects, is not new. In fact, it has been an old corrupt culture. What is new is that change is unravelling it and opening its behind for Nigerians to know why they have been so short changed.

In the present squabble, let us recall that the President presented his executive’s budget estimates to the legislature and let us recall that when the legislature returned the approved budget to the executive, the Buhari government refused to sign, raising serious charges that most of the proposals it sent to the legislature, were deleted and replaced with various doubtful insertions that never emanated from the executives as it should be. Let us recall that Dogara et al and Jubrin were in the same boat, frantically denying such charge and alleging the executives rather did not present the budget well and that they did a damn good job cleansing what Jubrin said was a badly presented budget. They were together in defending the legislature even when it was obvious that critical projects proposed by the executive, such as the Calabar-Lagos rail line were expunged from the budget and replaced with so-called constituency projects that were not proposed by the executive. It was based on such inconsistencies that the President refused to sign the budget and had to take it back to the parliament. Let us recall that Jubrin in particular was so vociferous defending the legislature and accusing the executive of multifarious offences and going further and threatening fire and brimstone should the President refuse to sign the budget.

So when did the cookie crumble in the relationship between Jubrin and Dogara and co such that they are washing very dirty and messy linens in the public? When did Jubrin now realise that Dogara inserted many projects in the budget to support an offence he had so frantically denied in the recent past? When did it occur to Dogara that Jubrin took over the budget process to steal in his fancy projects into the budget? When did it occur to both Jubrin and Dogara that indeed the House of Representatives mutilated the budget to the extent of inserting billions of Naira worth illegal projects in the budget? These are just a few critical questions that dog the present admission from the horses’ mouth that indeed the House of Representatives leadership altered the budget and some members inserted dubious items in the budget to defraud the country. We must thank God for this change when we review what is happening in the House of Representatives at moment. We must see reason to thank God that one of the old corrupt orders that have so robbed the country is on the verge of tumbling down today because the rays of change beamed on it and Nigerian officialdom will not be the same again.

So let Jubrin and Dogara et al fight on. Let all the dirty details of the same shenanigans with which past governments and politicians have robbed the country continue to flip open for Nigerians to know where indeed the rain started beating them. Let the fight get messier because this will reveal messier details of why we are where we are today and most especially ensure that we don’t continue threading the same paths that have so destroyed the country for the last five years.


Up Next on Politicoscope

Share this Article: "NIGERIA: Jubrin, Dogara et al And Our Change"

Peter Claver Oparah

The Profile:

Peter Claver Oparah at Ikeja, Lagos.

Contact Details:
Email: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

-----------------------
Copyright Policy:
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from Politicoscope or the author.

Note:
+ The views expressed in this article are the author's own and not Politicoscope.
+ Contact Politicoscope.com for all enquiries.
Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help
There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
Help keep Politicoscope alive and grow stronger for you.

Donate Online Today


Peter Claver Oparah
By Peter Claver Oparah August 2, 2016 21:09

You May Also Like


Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help

There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
Help keep Politicoscope alive and grow stronger for you.

What's on Your Mind?