President Buhari was not embarrassed at the National Assembly today. He owes Saraki and Dogara many thanks.
The N8.6 trillion proposed represents a 15 percent increase in the 2017 budget.
The event was without hitches thanks to the efforts of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
President Buhari’s letters to the Senate and House were greeted with mixed reactions.
Lawmakers, especially in the House of Representatives had protested Buhari’s letter given the ‘slow’ implementation of the 2017 budget.
Prior to the 2018 budget presentation, both Saraki and Dogara held meetings with lawmakers to prevent any tension that may arise.
A source told Punch that some members of the House of Representatives specifically had made moves to prevent Buhari from laying the budget proposal today, while calling for postponement of the presentation.
The source said: “The President will present the budget on Tuesday (today) but there is an issue. Some members of the National Assembly, particularly in the House of Representatives, are against the presentation of a new budget proposal when the current one has not been implemented considerably.
“If you recall, there were protests in the House of Representatives when the President’s letter was read last week. The issue now is how to contain the aggrieved lawmakers so that they will not raise their grievances as Buhari presents the budget. Their grouse may be legitimate but we don’t want a situation where the session will record unpalatable drama or become rowdy.
“This is the reason why there have been series of meetings with caucuses in the chambers, including the one by the leaders, which will hold tonight (Monday),” the source added.
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The Secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha had visited Saraki and Dogara on Monday, November 6, 2017, to plead their support for the Presidency ahead of Buhari’s visit to the National Assembly.
His words: “I am here today to extend hand of friendship and to solicit for the cooperation of the National Assembly because our constitution is very explicit when it comes to the principle of Separation of Powers.
“I will say this and I will say it quite frankly; we are not in competition with National Assembly; we are not rivals with the National Assembly; we are partners in this enterprise.
“If the National Assembly does not cooperate with Presidency, I am not very sure we will be able to achieve the desired result that we want to see, given the mandate that we have freely received from the people of Nigeria.
“So, this is basically to come and assure you that in every area that you are soliciting for cooperation of the Presidency, being the SGF, I will ensure that the National Assembly receives that cooperation.
“Whatever was lost in the past, we could quickly redeem and recover and make progress,” he added.
Many journalists, legislative aides were denied access into the National Assembly complex ahead of the President's arrival.
Business activities in and around the complex were also grounded.