A former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Ghali Naâ€™Abba yesterday took a swipe on the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo when he described the elder statesman as the most corrupt Nigerian.It would be recalled that only recently, former President Obasanjo was reported to have described members of the National Assembly (NASS) as corrupt people who lacks integrity.
But Honourable Ghali who wa speaker during former President Obasanjoâ€™s first tenure as President disclosed that â€Žthe former President who he described as having nothing before he became President engaged in questionable and undefendable expenditures while in office which he severally took him on as the then speaker.
The former speaker who stated this while fielding questions from Journalists, also bared his mind on the current padding saga at the NASS affirming that it is the constitutional responsibility of the NASS to look into the budget brought before her by the Executive and act upon it appropraitely.
â€ŽOn the corruption allegation against the NASS, he saidâ€Ž, â€œwell, I donâ€™t think there is anybody more corrupt in this country like the former President. I believe you are talking about the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
â€œAs the Speaker, I took Obasanjo on several issues of expenditure offences which he committed and could not show remorse. So, I donâ€™t think he has the integrity to call anybody in the NASS corrupt. This is the man who became President with nothing and today he is one of the richest Nigerians, let him explain to Nigerians how he acquired the money.
â€œOn his planned elongation, am aware that some â€Žmonies was given to the national assembly members both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It was alleged that the Senators got 50 million each while 40 million was given to the house of representative members, some collected and some did not collect. But am aware that money was distributed by Obasanjoâ€ he stated.
â€ŽOn the padding or no padding, he said, â€œI expect that for 16 years of return to democracy, Nigerians would have understood the responsibilities of the National Assembly.
â€œFor some weeks now, there has been controversy over what is called padding. As far as I am concerned, the National Assembly has the responsibility to pass the budget, approve it and allow the executive arm to execute it.
â€œAccording to my understanding, where the issue being referred to as padding comes into play is a situation where some members go behind and add items of expenditure to what has already been agreed upon, for either stealing the funds or doing whatever they feel like doing with it.
â€œBut, this stealing of fund cannot be possible without the active connivance with some members of the executive arm.
â€œSo far, accusations are being traded amongst members of the houses. No investigation has been conducted. On the call for the resignation of the Speaker, the question is, what has the Speaker done to warrant his resignation?â€Žâ€
When asked whether padding was an offence, he said, â€œIt all depends from what angle you look at it, I just told you that the responsibiâ€Žlity of appropriation belongs to the national assembly. If padding is seen as an offence, then it is when some members of the national assembly decide to add items of expenditure through the back door after the budget has been passed by both houses. It therefore behoves on Nigerians to decide who represent them in the national assemblyâ€ he stressed.
Culled from LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPER