President Muhammadu Buhari could not have submitted Budget for the 2019 elections earlier than he did, because of special circumstances surrounding the request.
Making this assertion in a statement, the Buhari Media Organization (BMO) said the President could not be expected to make provision for a 2019 Budget item in the 2018 Proposal which he actually submitted to the National Assembly in 2017.
BMO issued the statement while reacting, to Senate President Bukola Saraki’s claim that the Budget request for the 2019 elections was submitted to the National Assembly late. Speaking through his online media aide, Saraki had alleged that the Executive was tardy in the submission of the request and that the request should have been submitted along with the 2018 Appropriation Bill.
The group, in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, reminded Saraki that the Budget submitted in 2017 was for the 2018 fiscal year.
“Even that was not approved by the NASS until 6 months after. In any case, INEC would have needed time to prepare for its list of election expenses for 2019. Some key factors would need to be considered; such as the actual number of elections to be held in that year, the number of registered voters, the number of political parties to participate, and security assessments for the elections depending on how politicians have heated up the polity . All these information would be needed before INEC could prepare a budget of expenses for a 2019 elections and that certainly could not have accompanied the 2018 Budget proposal submitted in 2017”.
BMO says President Buhari does not believe in voodoo arrangements or magic and would always work with facts and verified figures. “Besides”, says the group, “it is standard practice globally for executive branch of government to submit for virement or supplementary budget where it finds that it has to spend money on items not captured in its current budget”.
In a mild reproach, the group asserted that “what we’re seeing is a parliament using its constitutional powers to politicize a very normal process of seeking approval by the executive, all in an attempt to misinform the public and whip up sympathy for its inability to work in the common interest of the people; all because of their own personal reasons and the fear of change of their own leadership”.