Ndume begs lawmakers over boycott threat

SENATOR Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, has pleaded with his colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives not to boycott the 2019 Budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Ndume told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday, in Abuja that if the comment credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udoma, on the budget was true, it was unnecessary.

Some members of the House had, on Thursday, threatened to boycott the budget presentation over reports that the minister blamed the National Assembly for delaying the process.

President Buhari had on December 6, in an executive communique, announced that he would present the 2019 Budget to the National Assembly on Dec. 12.

However, as of December 13, when the Senate adjourned plenary for the week, no letter to that effect was read at plenary, creating uncertainty around the presentation before the National Assembly adjourns for the year.

Ndume, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, urged his colleagues to reconsider their position in the interest of the nation.

“I understand the reactions of the honourable members is as a result of the unnecessary comment credited to the Minister of Budget as to who is responsible for the delay.

Two wrongs do not make a right. I appeal to my colleagues in the House of Representatives to have a rethink because the President is not responsible for what the minister was alleged to have said.

“I feel national interest should be placed above any individual or group interest.

“As for the Senate, the letter from Mr President as to when to present the budget has not been read,” he said.

The lawmaker pointed out that, to quicken passage, it was imperative for the budget to reach the parliament before the Christmas break.

He said: “I feel the best thing to do is for the president to present the budget, especially before we go on Christmas break, so that copies of the budget will be circulated to members to enable them start work on it.

“On resumption immediately after Christmas, we will start working on considering the budget for passage.

On alleged plans by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to create illegal polling units in Niger and Chad in favour of President MuhammaduBuhari, Ndume said the commission was being guided by law.

He expressed concern that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was crying wolf on the matter where there was none.

“I am aware of voting in various places, but I do not know if PDP wants to be INEC. The law is there and all actions of INEC will be guided by law.

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