Member representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/ Iwajowa Federal Constituency, Honourable Abiodun Olasupo has said that members of the National Assembly were compelled to “pad” because the budget did not reflect federal character.
Speaking in the wake of the budget padding controversy, Olasupo said members of the National Assembly were constitutionally empowered to insert items into the budget, so as to be seen as responsible to the constituency they represent.
Describing “padding” as changing, subtracting or inserting, he said the lawmakers only exercised their constitutional powers to appropriate, and would be termed a failure, if such appropriation did not favour their respective constituencies.
“If you look at the constitution, what Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin referred to as padding is tantamount to what the constitution defines as the function of the member of the National Assembly. The three major functions of the member of the National Assembly are to make law, to appropriate and oversight. And in appropriation, it is either for us to add, subtract or change. And if what Honourable Abdulmuminin Jibrin has being trying to define as padding is that we are changing, subtracting, inserting, then probably that is what the constitution expects the member of the National Assembly to do, by extension the House of Representatives.”
“I was involved in the budgeting and appropriation system of about six ministries. The entire budgeting system makes it such that, if you are elected as member of the National Assembly and you are not ready to do what Abdulmuminin described as padding, then, you are a failure.”
“Basically, the budget that is brought to the National Assembly does not reflect the principle of federal character, as guaranteed by the constitution which stipulates that all projects and development, even employment, should be such that it reflects all part of the country.”
“But in the budget, you see a disproportionate distribution of projects. It tilts towards the location of a certain minister and the budget is sent from the executive.
So, when the executive sends the budget to the National Assembly, it might not consider my constituency. They bring something to me for approval and it doesn’t have my constituency. And I put what my constituency wants into the budget and that is what Jibrin calls padding,” Olasupo said.