Budget Impasse, Minister of Works, Power and Housing vs National Assembly and Matters Arising

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Following the unfolding impasse between the minister of works, power and housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and the National Assembly over its unilateral insertions and deductions from the 2017 budget that was submitted and defended before the house committee on the budget by his ministry, one thinks its high time, the issues are placed in proper perspective.

  1. In a democracy, there is division of functions between the 3 arms of government, while the legislature makes the law, the executive implements and the judiciary interpretes.
    2. For the business of government to run smoothly and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, there must be harmonious relationship between the 3 arms of government in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.
    3. According to Nigeria's 1999 constitution as amended, the power to prepare the budget estimates rest solely with the executive arm of government.
    4. The power to review, alter and amend the budget is constitutionally entrusted in the legislature
    5. In a sane and proper democracy, the constitutional functions of any of the 3 arms of government must be exercised responsibly.
    6. If the executive has submitted a budget estimate to the  legislature and appeared before same legislative house committee public hearing to defend its proposal and at the end of the day, the budget proposals were mutually agreed to, signed, sealed and delivered at the hearing.
    7. Then it amounts to usurpation of executive functions when in passing the budget, the legisature on its own, insert items not submitted by the executive and also goes ahead to make deductions in the cost of projects submitted and defended by the executive before it, all by itself.
    8. If we subscribe to the thought that since the legislature have the power to review the budget, then if they have taken an action as espoused in No. 7, they are in order.
    9. Then it means we are justifying the usurpation of the functions of the executive by the legislature.
    10. Which then translates to the fact that we are as well calling for the scrapping of the executive to allow the legislature perform both executive and legislative functions, which is a usurpation of functions and a violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
    11. Which means that Nigeria is no longer practicing democracy but legistocracy.
    12. Nigerians, say No to illegality and violations of the constitution by any arm of governments in order to save our democracy now!

Nelson Ekujumi