Senators Are Spoiling For War With President Muhammadu Buhari Over Constitutionality Of Release Of Money Shared To States As Bailout
The National Assembly may be spoiling for a constitutional war with President Muhammadu Buhari as the opposition lawmakers vowed to tackle the Presidency over the reported N713 billion bailout given to some troubled states.
The lawmakers also argued that it would be an impeachable offence for the president to cut down his cabinet , insisting that the president by the provision of the 1999 constitution was required to appoint a minister from each of the 36 states of the federation. Already some PDP senators are working on a motion of urgent public importance to specifically draw the attention of the senate to the alleged breach of the constitution by the president. This may top the agenda when the senate resumes session next week,
The president was reported to have cut down the number of his yet to be named ministers to about 19. A second time PDP senator told The UNION at the weekend that the same constitution which empowers the president to appoint a maximum of 15 Special Advisers also requires him to appoint one minister from each of the 36 states of the Federation. According to him, the paid bailout was a breach of section 164 (1) of the 1999 constitution for the president to have paid out such money from the consolidated revenue of the federation without recourse to the National Assembly.
Section 164 (1) reads “The Federation may make grants to a State to supplement the revenue of that State in such sum and subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the National Assembly. He said that the president may have earned himself his first impeachable offence, if indeed he had released such money without the approval of the lawmakers. Though he said it might be too early in the life of the administration for the lawmakers to engage the president in a constitutional issue, he insisted that the senate would be failing in its responsibilities if it refused to point out the breach now.
Some PDP senators, a source alleged, might have also planned to raise the said constitutional breach on the floor of the Senate when the lawmakers resume session next week. The source however alleged that the PDP senators might be alone in the fight as the APC Senators are alleged to be more busier in their plot to unseat the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
The APC senators are not happy with the deputy senate president over his alleged remarks on the return of insurgency in the land. The APC Senators who may have shifted their anger on the Deputy Senate President insisted at the weekend that it was in bad faith for him to have said that insurgency was high under President Buhari than it was under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
– Emeka Ekpunobi, Abuja