Buhari Lawmakers promise to boo president, here's why

Angry lawmakers have promised to boo and heckle President Buhari during 2018 budget presentation at NASS.

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President Muhammadu Buhari play President Muhammadu Buhari (Pulse)
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As President Muhammadu Buhari stands before lawmakers to reel out figures of the 2018 appropriation bill today, November 7, 2018, he’ll be met with a very hostile reception, a few legislators have told Pulse.

Unless of course there’s a last minute change of plan from the very angry lawmakers or unless the principal officers of both chambers of parliament are able to pacify their colleagues, expect a rowdy session at the national assembly this afternoon.

Why are the lawmakers angry with Buhari? It has to do with something called constituency projects.

You see, your senators and House of Rep members haven’t been given the N100B allocated for their constituency projects in the 2017 budget.

Shugaba Buhari ya iso London cikin lamin lafiya play Buhari at UNGA (Presidency)

 

And they are wary of confronting you at constituencies at year's end, with nothing to show.

Constituency projects

Constituency projects are social intervention projects which lawmakers promise to undertake during electioneering campaigns.

“Why should we clap and welcome Buhari as he reels out details of 2018 budget when he hasn’t implemented even 40 percent of the 2017 budget? Don’t you know that it is this constituency projects that will guarantee if we get re-elected into the national assembly? Buhari is frustrating our political future and he should get no mercy from us today”, one lawmaker said.

The 2017 constituency projects were captured under the year’s N2.6 trillion capital spending appropriation.

The 2017 budget amounted to some N7 trillion in total.

President Muhammadu Buhari presents 2017 budget to National Assembly on December 14, 2016 play Buhari exchange pleasantries with presiding members of parliament (Twitter)

 

According to ThisDay newspaper, the executive arm of government has so far released N436B for what it calls ‘priority capital projects’.

Since the 2017 budget was passed five months ago, lawmakers have received nothing for the execution of constituency projects, Pulse was told.

One unnamed senator told ThisDay that: “Forget what Udo Udoma (Minister of Budget and National Planning) and Kemi Adeosun (Minister of Finance) said during the hearing on the implementation of the 2017 budget; they said 40 percent would be implemented with 60 percent rolled over into the 2018 budget.

2017 budget paddling has been considered one bad experience too many. play Buhari looks at last year's budget with his team (REUTERS/Stringer )

 

“But the way we are going with the push to restore the budget calendar to January-December, only 25 percent of the 2017 budget would be implemented.

“Effectively, this cuts off the zonal intervention funds appropriated for constituency projects. The 2017 budget is the budget before the campaign year, which is 2018. Many of us have nothing on the ground in our constituencies to warrant re-election.”

Booing a president

Another lawmaker was quoted as saying: "After I had told my people that certain projects were coming and they have clapped for me, do I go back and say the funds were not released? Buhari has been unfair to us, honestly and this is our chance to get back at him.

“Presidents are booed all over the world, so let that be our way of showing that we are displeased”.

Buhari presents N6.08trillion budget for 2016 at the National Assembly play Buhari with the 2016 budget (PremiumTimes)

 

Pulse has been told that to keep the hecklers at bay, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House Yakubu Dogara, have been holding meetings with aggrieved caucuses in a bid to placate them not to boo the nation’s president.

New Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, was also deployed to the national assembly on Monday to plead with lawmakers not to heckle the president when he reels out 2018 budget estimates.

Poor implementation

Aside allocations for constituency projects, lawmakers are also angry over the poor implementation of the 2017 budget overall, by the executive.

Buhari addressing a joint session of the national assembly play Buhari at the green chamber for budget presentation (Sahara Reporters)

 

A few lawmakers told Pulse that since 2015 when Buhari assumed the reins of the nation’s leadership, no annual budget has recorded 50 percent implementation rate.

ALSO READ: Buhari ‘shuts down’ National Assembly

The Guardian quotes an anonymous lawmaker as saying; “remember that the 2018 budget is the last one to be executed fully by this administration. What will the president count as his legacy in terms of budget implementation? Also, take note that all these budget failures have very damning effects on members of the national assembly who are the real representatives of the people.

“What do they expect us to tell our constituents? It is really a sad moment for us”.

Wednesday’s budget presentation by the president to a joint session of the national assembly will commence at 2pm.

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