The Senate today (Saturday) responded to the statement by the former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande in which he described the claim that the 2016 budget was missing from the upper legislative chamber as an indication of the indiscipline that produced its leadership.
The Senate said it was regrettable that a man of Akande's status would be responding to mere speculation without cross-checking his facts or worse still eager to latch on to any opportunity to bring to disrepute the leadership of the Senate because he failed to get his choice candidates elected.
In a statement by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate urged Akande to check his records properly so that he could see that "at no time did the Senate say the 2016 budget was missing".
Rather, Abdullahi noted that the legislative house had insisted in several official statements and press interviews by its principal officers that the budget was not missing but that two different versions are now available.
"We have said it several times that the budget was not missing. That two versions of the details of the budget exist and this is no longer in doubt as the Presidency has equally admitted this.
"We expect a man of Akande's calibre to cross-check his facts and take us up on our words. That he decided to ignore the facts and make comments on speculations is regrettable. He is a man who had served in government. He is a leader of the party with the majority in the Senate and he has several channels of cross-checking facts as against speculations.", Abdullahi stated.
The spokesperson said contrary to the description of what happened as indiscipline on the part of the leadership, the position of the present Senate leadership is a demonstration of the regime of openness, transparency and accountability that now reigns in the upper legislative chamber. In the past, he said, such a development would have been swept under the carpet.
He noted that the statements by Akande was another expression of the frustration that the former Governor of Osun State suffers for not being able to impose his lackeys on the Senate as leaders.
"Chief Akande is still sulking after his group's failed attempt to impose certain individuals as the leaders of the Senate last year. So, he was in a hurry to condemn the leadership. We want him to know that the leadership of the Senate can only emerge through the provisions of the constitution and the standing rules of the institution. As a democrat, Akande should know that once the majority has elected the leadership, all parties to the contest ought to accept the decision.
"To continue belly-aching and working to undermine the institution because of the failure to get one's choice candidates elected cast doubts on his democratic credentials. It appears he is only a democrat when he has his way. We advise him to move on and let us help the legislative institution to focus on its agenda to serve the people in line with the much needed change that President Muhammadu Buhari promised the nation..", Abdullahi stated.
Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs