Nigeria: Gbajabiamila Defends Budget of National Assembly

12 September 2021

- Varsity Don Recommends Antidotes to Rescue Nigeria

James Sowole in Akure

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday sharply disagreed with dissenting views that the budget of the National Assembly was too high.

Gbajabiamila explained that the budget was not for the lawmakers alone, but also for the entire staff members of the National Assembly Commission.

He made this clarification at the 10th annual symposium of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSS N), B-Zone in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital yesterday.

The Vice- Chancellor, Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Kwara State, Prof. Mahfouz Adedimeji delivered the lead paper at the symposium and recommended far-reaching antidotes on how to rescue Nigeria from the precipice.

At the symposium, the vice chancellor had delivered lecture with the theme "Saving a Nation on the Precipices: Between Re-federation and Secessionism."

Gbajabiamila, who was represented by a member of the House of Representatives from Ifo/Ewekoro constituency, Hon Ibrahim Isiaka, explained that legislature symbolised democracy anywhere in the world.

He, therefore, disagreed sharply with the dissenting views that expenses National Assembly in Nigeria was too high and that Nigeria ran the most expensive legislative arm in the world.

Gbajabiamila said the legislative arm of the government in Nigeria "gets only two per cent of the total budget of the federal government while nobody cares about what happens to the 98 per cent of the budget.

"You know we take responsibilities because in the constitution, the first thing is the legislation, the parliament. Even, if anybody wants to cause any trouble in this country, what you first say is suspend the constitution, suspend the parliament.

"But no one, till today, has actually sat down to go into research and define the meaning of legislators. When you say national assembly, you are not talking about legislators who are the lawmakers.

"You are talking about the National Assembly Commission. You are talking about everything. Everything together is less than two per cent of total budget of this country. But nobody had ever looked at what is happening to the 98 per cent," he explained.

Gbajabiamila, however, called for a total re-orientation of national core values, as a way to carve a new agenda for the country.

In his lecture, Adedimeji recommended a geographical government that would be headed by a premier in each geo-political zone to be elected by the governors of the states.

He, therefore, cautioned the agitator against calls for disintegration of the country, noting that he shared the informed view of former president Olusegun Obasanjo that it was idiotic to call for disintegration of Nigeria at the time the world is integrating .

Adedimeji explained that the current political structure "requires some restructuring. To save Nigeria from the brink of the precipice, we should all accept one Nigeria.

Adedimeji observed that Nigeria "runs the most expensive legislative arm of government in the world," a position which Gbajabiamila described as erroneous and unfounded.

He said: "With due respect to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Nigeria spends the highest amount of money on the legislators in the world and the national assembly consumes more money than any other parliament in the world.

"A unicameral legislature with two representatives from each state is sufficient. The national Assembly should have less than 100 members including Abuja," he suggested.

The don, equally, recommended a geographical government, which according to him, would be headed by a premier in each geo-political zone to be elected by the governors of the states.

The varsity don, therefore, pointed out the need to rejig the operation of legislature in the country, declaring that Nigerian parliament is the most expensive in the world.

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