Obasanjo is the grandfather of corruption, plotting Buhari’s fall – Reps

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The House of Repre­sentatives has taken up former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his allegation on Wednes­day that the National As­sembly remains a haven of corruption.
Obasanjo had, at a book presentation in Lagos on Wednesday, faulted Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the economy and accused the National Assembly of defrauding Ni­gerians through its mem­bers’ constituency projects.
He said that the lawmak­ers were criminals, whose major business is budget-padding.
In a swift reaction to Obasanjo’s scathing remarks, the Lower House described Obasanjo as the “grandfather of corruption” in the coun­try and said he was plotting to bring down President Buhari’s administration.
The House said that Obasanjo was the coun­try’s first President to in­troduce corruption into the National Assembly during his tenure from the incep­tion of his administration.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ab­durazak Namdas, said that Obasanjo was “acting as life­time opposition leader”.
He said: “Obasanjo intro­duced corruption to the Na­tional Assembly on the first day in 1999.”
The lawmaker frowned at Obasanjo’s accusation that the House indulged in criminal activities, lampooned constit­uency projects which he ap­proved as President and also ventured to discuss the budg­et of the National Assembly which is highly underfunded.
Namdas said: “The House of Representatives would ordi­narily not join issues with the former President as he has held an office that deserves re­spect and reverence. Howev­er, because of the material mis­statement of facts, outright lies and falsehoods, and mischie­vous innuendo introduced in his statement, we are left with no option but to correct him.
“We have repeatedly main­tained that there was no pad­ding of the 2016 Appropria­tion Act, which is a legitimate document, passed by the Na­tional Assembly, authenticat­ed by the Clerk to the Nation­al Assembly as provided in the Authentication Act and as­sented to by Mr. President. It is most unfortunate that a for­mer President of Chief Oba­sanjo’s stature would allow himself to be hoodwinked and procured by a renegade member of the House, who embarked on massive propa­ganda and lies just because he was removed from office.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no crime that was committed by the Nation­al Assembly by exercising its constitutional function of ap­propriation. If Chief Obasanjo has an issue with the execution of the 2016 budget or indeed other Appropriation Acts, he should direct his anger else­where.
“He claimed that the Na­tional Assembly budget is very high, when by all stand­ards, the National Assembly is grossly underfunded and is hampered from effectively and legitimately carrying out its Constitutionally assigned functions”.
According to him, “No member of the House of Rep­resentatives receives N10 mil­lion monthly”, adding that the salaries and allowances of members are as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation, Al­location and Fiscal Commis­sion (RMAFC).
He explained that the budget of many agencies in the executive branch are high­er than the current budget of the National Assembly that is an arm of government, espe­cially the Central Bank of Ni­geria (CBN), Nigeria Nation­al Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and others.
Namdas said that Oba­sanjo is understandably angry with the National Assembly as an institution, having foiled his third-term ambition in office, even after trying to corrupt the members with a bribe of at least N50 million each.
“Lest we forget, the per­son who introduced corrup­tion to the National Assembly is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He birthed the 4th Republic National Assembly with cor­rupt practices from day one; indeed, on the first day of the Republic,” he said.
The House accused Oba­sanjo of returning to his usual method of bringing down gov­ernments.
According to Namdas, Obasanjo brought down Al­haji Shehu Shagari through his criticisms, adding that “he did it to Gen. Muhammadu Buha­ri; he did same to Gen. Ibra­him Babangida, and attempt­ed to bring down the late Gen. Sani Abacha before Abacha imprisoned him for treason; he made frantic efforts to de­rail the government of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua when he couldn’t use him.
“He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he (Jonathan) refused to take dictation, he turned against him. He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having econom­ic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his gov­ernment.”
“The way Chief Obasan­jo talks gives the impression that he is a lifetime opposition leader who has never held any office. What did he do about the issues he raised in his eight years as President?” Namdas asked.
– Authority
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