OBJ's letter to NASS: I'm yet to give formal response to Obasanjo, says Saraki

By The Citizen
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The Media Office of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has described a report in which he was said to have replied former President Olusegun Obasanjo while speaking to journalists after the presentation of the newly remodeled and refurbished Senate Press Centre as mere mischief, misrepresentation and undue sensationalism.

Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that during the presentation of the press centre, he was asked only two questions, both of which centered on the 2016 budget. One was on how realistic the budget proposal under consideration is, in view of dwindling oil price, and the other was on whether the details of the Senate Budget will be made open, particularly in view of the letter by Obasanjo.

The statement reads: 'The Senate President's answer on the first question was that the success of the 2016 will depend less on oil price but more on the non-oil and independent revenue, and that that is why the Senate will lay emphasis on the scrutiny of these areas as well as ensure that leakages are blocked so that the budget can be realized without any hitch.

'On the second question, he reiterated his earlier position that the Senate budget will no longer be a one-line item. He said details of the budget of the National Assembly will be provided for all to see what goes to what budget head. He urged all Nigerians to realize that mistakes have been made by all stakeholders in the past and that we should all move forward by ensuring those mistakes are not repeated.

'In fact, his position that mistakes have been made by all of us in the past was a reference to all stakeholders like political office holders, the media, civil society, professional and business groups, among others.

'Dr. Saraki will like to maintain his earlier position that he will only write a formal letter to President Obasanjo to explain all the efforts the 8th Senate is making to address some of the issues the former President raised in his letter to him. 'The Senate President will not use any public event or the media to give any direct or indirect response to the legitimate points raised by the elder statesman and father of the nation.

'The Senate President further urged the media to refrain from sensationalism which leads to twisting and misrepresentation of the position of public officers and therefore further create unnecessary tension in the polity. The urge to sell newspapers should not override the need for ethical standard and accuracy in presentation of news to be maintained. The media should equally be sensitive to other people's feelings.'

It should be recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, last week, wrote the National Assembly accusing the lawmakers of corruption, impunity, greed and of repeatedly breaking the nation's laws.

In a letter dated January 13 and addressed to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the former president specifically accused the lawmakers of fixing and earning salaries and allowances far above what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission approved for them.

He also alleged that most of the 109 senators and 369 members of the House of Representatives were receiving constituency allowances without maintaining constituency offices as the laws required of them.