Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again accused the National Assembly of corrupt practices saying the federal lawmakers have persistently giving themselves unlawful allowances through annual budgets shrouded in secrecy.
In a letter to both the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Obasanjo accused the National Assembly of being the cesspool of corruption in the country over the years.
The former president, in the letter dated January 13, 2016, and received at the senate registry on the 18th, he challenged the lawmakers to be transparent in their finances by publishing their recurrent expenditure and opening their books to an external auditor from 1999 till date.
Using the controversial car purchase project as example, Obasanjo said: “The recent issue of cars for legislators would fall into the same category. Whatever name it is disguised as, it is unnecessary and insensitive. A pool of a few cars for each Chamber will suffice for any Committee Chairman or members for any specific duty.
“The waste that has gone into cars, furniture, housing renovation in the past was mind-boggling and these were veritable sources of waste and corruption. That was why they were abolished. Bringing them back is inimical to the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians”.
The former president therefore challenged the lawmakers to be transparent in their finances by publishing their recurrent expenditure and opening their books to an external auditor from 1999 till date.
“The National Assembly should have the courage to publish its recurrent budgets for the years 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. That is what transparency demands. With the number of legislators not changing, comparison can be made. Comparisons in emoluments can also be made with countries like Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and even Malaysia and Indonesia who are richer and more developed than we are.
“The purpose of election into the Legislative Assembly particularly at the national level is to give service to the nation and not for the personal service and interest of members at the expense of the nation which seemed to have been the mentality, psychology, mindset and practice within the National Assembly since the beginning of this present democratic dispensation. Where is patriotism? Where is commitment? Where is service?
“The beginning of good governance which is the responsibility of all arms and all the tiers of government is openness and transparency. It does not matter what else we try to do, as long as one arm of government shrouds its financial administration and management in opaqueness and practices rife with corruption, only very little, if anything at all, can be achieved in putting Nigeria on the path of sustainable and enduring democratic system, development and progress. Governance without transparency will be a mockery of democracy.
“Let us be more direct and specific so that action can be taken where it is urgently necessary. A situation where our national budget was predicated on $38 per barrel of oil with estimated 2 million barrels per day and before the budget was presented, the price of oil had gone down to $34 per barrel and now hovering around $30 and we have no assurance of producing 2 million barrels and if we can, we have no assurance of finding market for it, definitely calls for caution. If production and price projected in the budget stand, we would have to borrow almost one third of the 6 trillion naira budget. Now beginning with the reality of the budget, there is need for sober reflection and sacrifice with innovation at the level of executive and legislative arms of government. The soberness, the sacrifice and seriousness must be patient and apparent,” Obasanjo said.

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