The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has disagreed with the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that the National Assembly should not have altered the 2019 Budget in any way.
Dogara spoke against the backdrop of the criticism of the President during the Budget signing ceremony at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.
Buhari was later in an interview aired on the Nigerian Television Authority, same Monday, described Dogara and the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, as less than patriotic.
But Dogara, reacting, said the National Assembly will not be a rubber stamp of the Executive.
He said: “By the constitution and design, the Executive informs us what they intend to do and the representatives of the people in National Assembly decide what is priority, since they represent the people.”
“I have told you that the job of the National Assembly is not to agree with the executive.
“I don’t think any congress in the world does that.
“It is going to be a knotty area.
“But we will continue to define the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
“Whether it is Britain or United States, wherever it is, there is always a strain.
“This issue of budget, because it deals with high stakes distributional issues as to who gets what, which part of Nigeria gets this and that, it will continually be an issue.
“Those issues should not define us.
“Rather, we should define those issues by forming consensus.
“That is the part to progress and we will continue to do that.”
On the delay in the passage of the Budget for the cycle to return to January to December, Dogara urged the executive arm of government to always present the proposal early.
He said: “A situation where the budget is submitted in December, even if you shut down the entire National Assembly, we will not be able to achieve the January deadline.”