Alleged Budget Padding: This Is a Government of Renewed Forlorn Hope- Adebayo, SAN

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A former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, Mutalubi Adebayo-Ojo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, has said the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a “government of renewed forlorn hope”. Adebayo-Ojo who was reacting to the debate on the alleged budget padding told NigerianEcho that Tuesday’s session at the Senate has clearly shown that the greatest impediment to the growth and development of this country are our National Assembly members.

Adebayo-Ojo said, “What is the justification of the National Assembly for the N1. 2 trillion jerking of the budget? The “topped up” sum has been clandestinely brought up under the various constituency projects for the lawmakers. Truth be told constituency projects are the euphemism for the ways and manners the parliamentarians got their own “fair share” or loot of our national patrimony. Several frivolous projects like solar street lights, erection of boreholes, district roads construction, building of skill acquisition centres etc , all which will work or function for barely brief periods would be executed under those heads. Some of them will even do some caricature empowerment programmes that will entail spending a very insignificant ratio of the humongous sum they actually collected for the projects. In all, the people and the country are the losers.

“Instead of the parliamentarians to appropriate funds for monumental developmental and impactful projects that would be of tremendous and lasting legacies to the people and the country, they preferred to shortchange and cheat the people and the country through those installmental fleecing of our Commonwealth vide stealing by tricks called constituency project.

“If not, how reasonable is it that while a great institution like TETFUND got N800 billion in the budget, a whooping sum of N1. 2trillion are shared and distributed among the law makers for the provision of sundry items like provision of street lights, bore holes etc. that would even be poorly executed and of which the large chunk of funds earmarked would end up in private pockets.

“The wastefulness , irresponsibility and insensitivity of that appropriation may not be fully understood and felt unless you situate it in the context that great institutions like TETFUND which services some critical developmental and research projects of all the nation’s federal and states tertiary institutions got N800 billion whereas the sum of N1. 2 trillion was shared as bazzars by the lawmakers among themselves and inserted in the budget by themselves and for themselves.

“My take however is that the National Assembly are not to be blamed wholly, but the present executive arm of government and especially the President which appended his signature to such an anti-people budget. That act alone has convinced me that the present government has nothing good or tangible to offer our people and and the country, in terms of development and real growth or perhaps that it is a government of “anything go” or a government of business as usual and it is very sad. To me, this is a government of renewed forlorn hope , if we won’t deceive ourselves”, Adebayo-Ojo concluded.

Senator Abdul Ningi who represents Bauchi Central had accused the Senate of padding the 2024 budget. Ningi who was until yesterday the Chairman of the Northern Senate Forum was queried by his colleagues at the floor of the Senate on Tuesday March 12, 2024 and has been suspended for three months.

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