Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Resign if the work is overwhelming - Senate tells Fashola

The Senate on Wednesday asked Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to resign his appointment if he was overwhelmed by the volume of work at his ministry.

The upper chamber accused Fashola of misleading the public over projects it added to the budget.

At the plenary, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje said, “Initially, I wanted to come under a motion but, yesterday, the House of Representatives took up the matter. Since we are on the same page with the House, I feel I should not come under a motion. But I will like to seize this opportunity to advise the minister that he should remember that he is now a minister and should behave like a minister.

“He is not a governor (anymore) and this National Assembly is not Lagos State House of Assembly. This is an Assembly composed of very patriotic Nigerians, very experienced Nigerians; many had done his job; many were governors before him.”

Goje continued, “Fashola should know that he is dealing with the National Assembly of Nigeria, not of Lagos. If the job is too much for him – the ministry is too big; it comprises three ministries, which are works, housing and power; if he cannot adjust, then, he should do the honourable thing. He should do the needful.

“No amount of blackmail by him; no amount of propaganda by him or his surrogates will stop this National Assembly from discharging its duties in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. We have sworn to uphold and protect this Constitution, and this we will do to the end of this Assembly.

“For now, I will cease fire and watch to see how the House will handle him. If he is well handled there, we will leave him with them. But if we are not satisfied and they pass him to us, then, we will take him over.”

Saraki, in his remarks, said the Senate would wait for actions taken by the House of Representatives.

“I am happy that the House of Representatives are also taking up this issue. It is a matter that we must be responsible, especially those at the (executive) cabinet to look at issues from a national point of view in the interest of all Nigerians.

“We will definitely wait for the outcome of his appearance before the House of Representatives before further contributions. But we have take your comment, Chairman of Appropriations,” he said.

The House of Representatives on had Tuesday summoned Fashola over his comments on the ministry’s 2017 budget.

The lawmakers made the call following a point of order by Hon. Sadiq. Sadiq prayed the House to summon the minister to appear before an ad-hoc committee to answer “for breach of privilege and incitement” of Nigerians against their representatives.

Speaking on the matter, Honourable Alhassan Ado Doguwa said Fashola breached the privilege of legislators as individuals and/of the parliament as an institution. He added that the budget is a law and the minister’s comments may undermine it.

Fashola has had a running battle with lawmakers over the budget. He accused them of inputting unnecessary projects into the budget.

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