Where is our 2016 Budget?
It’s 7.49am today, the 4th of January, 2016, and I woke up from sleep with the buzzing sound of my phone. I was still half asleep when I reluctantly picked the call with a weak “hello”. The caller on the other end shouted, “Deji, you are still sleeping? Nigeria is going down and you are sleeping. Are you aware that Buhari withdrew the budget he presented to National Assembly from Saraki, and Saraki gave it to him out of fear? Deji, as I speak to you, the National Assembly does not have the budget any more. Saraki and Dogara are confused. They could not stand up for our democracy. They have failed our nation. Deji, you people need to speak up before this man destroys our nation”.
How can a President present a country’s budget and take it back? I remember when a dear sister was so happy and optimistic that the 2016 budget was already out before the year started and said “even with ‘world class economist’ the budget usually come long after the year had started”.
Why is the Senate President mute?
You will recall that Nigerians started an online campaign tagged #BudgetOfYams immediately the breakdown of the 2016 budget appeared on the internet which was posted by an online organization @BudgItNg and further confirmed by the Budget Office of the Federal Government.
Suddenly, it appears they have sneaked the budget back to the villa for ‘cleansing’ and corrections after public outcry by Nigerians in what they termed a budget of waste and recklessness. A budget the PDP has termed a fraud that requires a daily borrowing of N5billion Naira to fund for the next one year.
When the budget was analyzed and criticized for not being a reflection of the present economic realities, worshippers of president Buhari resorted to name calling and hurling of insults in the cyberspace. They said their god can never do any wrong, that he can never make a mistake and knew every content of the budget even when the president through his media chat had hinted he has no full idea about the contents of the 2016 budget.
The question here is, who wrote that budget for president Buhari and convinced him to go and read it before the National Assembly and the whole world? Can we say president Buhari is truly in-charge of this nation if indeed the 2016 budget was written without his consent and input and given to him to just go and read? What is happening to our nation? Every foreign investor, business owner, stakeholders have the right to be afraid as things stand. Will it be right now to call our genuine concerns on the issue of budget as “wailing”? Now that the truth is out suggesting president Buhari withdrew the budget back because he could not believe some of the contents he was told were in it at the Media Chat, are we still “Wailing Wailers”?
In a country where even Banks are now struggling to stay afloat, business owners are being forced to close shop, foreign investors are leaving the country, and our economy almost sliding into recession, we need a president who knows the issues and not a president who does not even know the contents of the budget he read before the whole world.
Where are the human rights activists in Nigeria? Where are all our learned men and women who spoke “big grammar” of “Change” during the elections and challenged every actions and inactions of former president Goodluck Jonathan? How can the president of a democratic nation withdraw a budget he read before all Nigerians at the hallowed chambers of our National Assembly in broad-day light but withdrew same in the middle of the night through the back door? Where is the truth president Buhari claimed to have during the elections? Where is the conscience of our Senate President, Bukola Saraki?
Dear Bukola Saraki and Dogara, where is our budget? Where are those who boasted during Goodluck Jonathan term as president that they were the best lawyers in Nigeria? Where are all the patriots who spoke up for “Change”? Where are those very loud and vocal Nigerians in the international community? Where are those who usually scream impunity during the tenure of Goodluck Jonathan? Here is impunity, tyranny and fiscal irresponsibility all walking on four legs right before all of us, and these arm-chair critics have suddenly disappeared? Where are those people who usually quote the laws and all the sections of constitutions to justify their partisanship on matters of national interest? Who will liberate Nigerians from this tyranny? Have you all gone deaf and dumb that you can no more speak truth to power?
President Buhari is betraying the oath of office he took in a very painful manner. Worst still is the inability of the leadership of our legislature to stand and protect our democracy. These are sad times for democracy in our nation.
Adeyanju, is the Director, New Media of the PDP.