8 February 2013

Nigeria: You Can't Override Jonathan On 2013 Budget, PDP Tells Opposition Lawmakers

PDP dismisses opposition lawmakers' threat to override the president assent Nigeria's budget for 2013

Nigeria's ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Friday dismissed as "empty boasts", alleged threats by some opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives that they would override President Goodluck Jonathan's assent of the 2013 Appropriation Bill.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the lawmakers are merely playing to the gallery, as they do not have the muscle to set an agenda for the PDP-controlled National Assembly.

Some of the 160 opposition members in the House of Representatives rose from a closed door meeting last Thursday with a threat to override the President over the budget. The House has 360 members while the Senate has 109. The PDP has a majority in both chambers.

The PDP, however, waved off the threat, saying that President Jonathan is taking his time to carefully study the budget to ensure that the provisions are in the best interest of all Nigerians.

"Our attention has been drawn to reports in the media that a handful of opposition members from the House of Representatives had threatened to override the President on the budget. That is an empty boast. The PDP has the majority in the two chambers of the National Assembly. So, it is clear that the opposition members cannot set the agenda for the National Assembly. They are merely playing to the gallery instead of addressing issues", Mr. Metuh said.

The party said it is clear that the president, in his usual meticulousness, and based on the powers conferred on him, is studying the budget to ensure that its provisions were in line with his commitment to meet the welfare of all Nigerians.

Mr. Metuh said that the National Assembly is on the same page with the President. He also said that it is unpatriotic for the opposition lawmakers to seek to overheat the polity and stampede everybody in the system.

The National Assembly, Mr. Metuh said, is made up of very brilliant and patriotic Nigerians who would put the interest of the nation in the budget passage process.

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