Saraki/Dogara Fires Back At Obasanjo, Refutes Allegations
Lawmakers Say NASS Under Former President Was More Corrupt
Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara may replied former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to them in which he accused lawmakers as being corrupt and insensitive to the economic realities of the country, but tempers are flaring up over the matter as lawmakers feel the replies were too weak for the man who took them to the cleaners.
The former President in his characteristic way communicated to the leaders of the National Assembly via a letter dated 13th January, 2016, in which he alleged that, the lawmakers have been circumventing the laws on their remunerations by fixing for themselves outrageous entitlements that negate the recommendations of the revenue mobilization allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
Olusegun Obasanjo was quoted as saying he wrote to the leaders of the two chambers of the national Assembly in his capacity as a statesman, who will not shy away from pointing out faults, even if doing so may hurt some people, but the lawmakers feel that Obasanjo’s action was far from being statesmanlike.
Both Saraki and Dogara made very wide consultation on how best to respond to Obasanjo’s letter without stirring controversies, heating up the polity or showing disrespect to the former President, who they hold with reverence, but their replies still failed to impress their colleagues, who are now accusing the former president of misplaced anger over his botched third term bid.
Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi state seems to have summed up the feelings of the lawmakers when he lampooned Obasanjo of embarking on a wild vendetta mission against the national assembly for shooting down his third term kite during the sixth Assembly.
Our correspondent learnt that, as much as The duo of Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara were reluctant in joining issues with the former President, they have come under tremendous pressures from their colleagues; both senators and members of the House of Representatives, who are compelling them to respond to Obasanjo’s letter with the same venom that he accused the national Assembly members as being corrupt.
A Senator from the north west and another from the South /South who spoke on conditions of anonymity told our correspondent that former President Obasanjo seems to be taking privileges being accorded him as a leader rather too far, and there is the need to point out to him that he is not the saint he pretends to be.
According to them, the national Assembly under President Obasanjo was more corrupt, and earned twice what the present crop of lawmakers are taking home, making him the least morally qualified to accuse the senate or the house of representatives as being corrupt.
He said the lawmakers are prepared for the former President this time around, as he has been allowed to get away with similar such allegations in the past, saying if Saraki and Dogara are reluctant in confronting Obasanjo, members are prepared to vent their own venom in an uncomplimentary as the former president’s letter.
The lawmakers, our correspondent learnt were angry with the former President’s reported dismissal of their reactions, where he was quoted as saying that he did not write to the two leaders out of any mischief but rather from a patriotic and statesmanlike disposition, pointing out the rot under their collective watch and the need to make amends.
Sounding rather surprised that the contents of his letter had leaked to the press, the former President told our correspondent rather sarcastically that,” there was nothing secret about what I wrote, and I will not shirk my responsibilities as a statesman in saying my mind on the state of the nation”.
Both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives have sent their separate replies to Obasanjo, in which they absolved the legislature from any blames, even as they promised to make details of the National Assembly budget available for public scrutiny. There are indications however that when the National Assembly resumes plenary Obasanjo’s letter may be reopened for further comments from lawmakers