Presidency: President Ready to Present 2018 Budget Next Week


By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The Presidency said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari was fully ready to present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, adding that he was only waiting for the legislative arm of government to give him a date for the presentation.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President (National Assembly Matters), Ita Enang, told THISDAY that the process for the presentation of the budget by the president had started, adding that before that is done, the President would have to send a communication to the legislators and have a dinner or breakfast with the leadership of the National Assembly.

Enang said that President Buhari might likely present the budget next week after consultations with the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

However, one of the principal officials of the National Assembly told THISDAY that although the Federal Executive Council had approved the 2018 Budget proposal submitted by the Budget and National Planning Ministry on Thursday, the proposal might not be submitted to the National Assembly until next week owing to the minor face-off between security agencies at the State House and principal officers of the National Assembly on Thursday night.

The officers were at the State House on a dinner invitation by the President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the submission of the budget, which was initially slated for Tuesday October 31, but security details at the State House security gate insisted that they must be screened; but the legislators protested against being subjected to the security screening and were turned back.

Presidency officials, who regretted the incident, said it was due to a breakdown in communication, which was purely avoidable. When word got to President Buhari on the incident, he immediately reached across to both the Senate President and House Speaker and apologised to them, requesting that they should come back to the villa.

“By this time, only the Senate President and the House Speaker were available as other legislators had dispersed. The two subsequently joined the President at a private dinner, while the main dinner was rescheduled for next Tuesday night,’’ said the source.

He said that when the idea of the President presenting the budget proposals to the National Assembly next week was mooted at the private dinner, the Presidency was advised to do that after the engagement with principal officers, “otherwise, the proposal might get a hostile reception by members following the incident.” 


Our Vision Then Was to Install a Government That’ll Bring About Change

I am overwhelmed by the attendance at this event this morning which to me is a testimony that BSO is still alive and kicking. We are indeed grateful to all of you for finding time to be here. This is a gathering to rekindle what we started in 2015 and what we used as a vehicle to fight in the trenches, out of the torches, along the routes and in so many difficult terrains to see to the success of our vision and mission. Our vision then was to install a government that will bring about change in this country. Our motto and expression then was that we want change. I want to commend Nigerians for sharing that same vision with us. They decided to vote the government out and voted us in because of that vision of change.

We are riding on that mantle of change today. It is good to take us back on memory lane. Some of us started this journey in 2011. There are those who started as far back as 2003 and are still in the trenches. I am sure that the 2007 veterans are still here, while some of us joined the train in 2011, while many others joined in 2015.

Why did we then sacrifice everything that we need and want? A lot of us have lost their jobs, others have lost their businesses. A lot of us sitting here today have nothing to do because they committed their time and resourceS working for the success of a change for a better Nigeria.

We did this not because of ourselves or any individual but because of our love for this great nation. Many of you can remember that we went through this because we are committed to a course and that whatever we eventually installed would be something that we are committed to.

But let me say here without fear of being contradicted, that I think half way through the journey, we are losing our core values. We are losing our vision and mission and I think that the idea of our being here today is to look critically at what we need to do to get back on track. There is no doubt that we have derailed because we are not doing what we say we want to do.

Why is it so? We need to find an answer to that. If we do find an answer, then what should we do to get us all back on track? We owe this great nation and the 180 million Nigerians the duty to give good governance. Good governance is what they voted for and good governance is what they expect to get and they deserve that. We therefore, as BSO, have a great task ahead of us. My dear comrades, the battle and the job start now. We have won one battle by taking over power. But what we make of this power is very essential to us and to humanity. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to tell my colleagues here that we have to change the narratives. When we were out there working and jumping on the streets and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria. Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians. We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come. We have no problem with our President because he is on course.

But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today. That is why we are derailing. If we had the right people who had the vision and have been there in and out, I believe that we will not be going the way we are going today.

It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache every day, especially in the recent past. Every day, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver. We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to bring in this government, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening. At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us because we were the ones who went to people and spoke to them to give us their votes. These people that are calling the shots today were not there and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system.

We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened. Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.

I will therefore ask my colleagues of the BSO to go back to the study room. This is a commission, but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance. We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line. I enjoined you that the same commitment we had in 2015, I employ you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria. We will be calling on you from now on and we will be working day and night. We must do so because we want to save our name at the end of the day and the name of the President for what he is doing. Our President is on course and all we need is to ensure that we support him. What do we do? For those of us who believe in God, we must know that God is the first point of call. We believe that if you want to change the system, it will happen. Let me say that in the course of the jihad of the Prophet Mohammad, anytime they go out for a battle, they come back with loot, but these loots, as far as my own research told me, are not distributed to everybody, but to those who took the sword and faced the enemies.

Today, with all sense of responsibility, I want to say that we have 50 per cent of PDP in our government. How can we move forward with this load? How can we achieve our target with this load? It is a spoilt system and so, when you come in, you shake off everybody and bring in your own. That is what democracy is all about. Today, we have members of PDP calling the shots. That is what we will begin to fight for; we will fight for our right position, our vision and our mission for this government. I am sorry to deviate into politics, but it is very essential because we are a political organisation. It is time for us to wake up from slumber and chart a course for this great nation and I believe that we can do it. May God help you and see us through.