10 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA —Peeved by the allegation of incitement from presidential spokesman, Dr. Rueben Abati, members of the Nigerian House of Representatives are vowing to make provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget for the President to implement.
Dr. Abati had been quoted as referring to last Sunday’s House resolution as an incitement against the executive arm of government.
As part of the plan by the House to reverse the increase in petrol price, the House of Representatives it was learnt is expected to input a provision for subsidy in the course of processing the 2012 budget presently before the House.
A senior House official disclosed that the House would utilise its powers of appropriation in making provision for subsidy after establishing through its ad-hoc committee constituted to investigate the issue if there was really any subsidy in the present price regime.
Representative Opeyemi Bamidele, ACN, Ekiti on his part while describing Dr. Abati’s statement as contemptuous, however, refused to go that far asserting that the House would in the course of processing the 2012 budget align with the best interest of the people.
The House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “If you see our draft resolution we contemplated that the House shall invoke its lawmaking and appropriation powers to serve the best interest of Nigerians in the 2012 budget.”
Representaive Toby Ikechukwu, PDP, Enugu on his part was unwavering in his pledge that the House would use the 2012 budget to push its resolution.
He said: “Our position is purely advisory it is left for the Federal Government to take it or leave it.
“We stated our stand in the House resolution and we know what to do at the appropriate time. The House will speak very soon through the Appropriation Act by doing what the people of Nigeria sent us to do.”
But while drawing away from echoing the same words, Opeyemi disclosed, Monday that the House would in the course of the budgeting process look into all avenues to ensure that government’s duty of promoting the interest of all Nigerians was sustained.
He said: “The executive through Mr. President has laid before the National Assembly the 2012 budget proposals. We will do everything that will ensure the delicate balancing that the nation needs.”
He said that in the process, the House would look at all financing items and make adequate provisions for government to pursue its commitment to Nigerians.
In expressing concern at the allegation of incitement, Opeyemi said that the House took effort to play a mediatory role in the face off between the administration and labour affirming that the call on the administration to reverse the price increase was balanced with the call on labour to give room for further negotiation.
Defending the resolution, Opeyemi said the House members with their strategic linkages with the populace were in good position to appreciate their concern on the increase in the price of petrol which he said has further pressed the middle class and worsened the case of civil servants many of whom were yet to benefit from the new national minimum wage.
“Are we not among the people? We are. So, we are not going to shy away from our responsibility of promoting and defending the interest of the common man,” he said Monday.